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Animation Process

We all love those animated movies whether it is short films by Pixar or those Hollywood blockbusters. They look very smooth while watching and at times very real. It needs a lot of effort to create such movies from the scratch. Anyone who is fond of animated movies can be curious to know how it is done. So, if you are one of them then this article can be of great help.

Firstly, any animated movie can be divided into three phases:


Pre-production is the first most important process which comprises of deciding the concept on which the movie will be based and then it is turned into a complete story, rest of the things follow. Pre-production has majorly four components.

Storyboard is an essential stage which is helpful in finalizing the development of the storyline. This stage comprises of drawings of comic strip which can be of great help in communicating ideas and visualizing the animation. Lots of details are added to each scene and for any change that needs to be done in the animation. Small texts are added to describe the things that should occur in the scene.

After the approval of the storyboards, the director works with the layout team for designing the costumes and locations. Once it is done, they start to stage the scenes. For showing all the possible expressions and various poses that can be made by a character, model sheet are used which are basically group of pictures drawn. Such sheets can maintain details of the character accurately and the designs of the characters are kept uniformly while other animators work on these characters in different shots.

Animatics are created for proper timing and motion of sequences of complex animation and VFX scenes. With the help of animatics, director plans regarding staging the animated sequences. In this stage, finalizing the character designs are done so that once the production gets started their blueprints can be shared with the modeling department who creates the final models of the characters.


Production is the stage where the major work is done as per the guidelines provided during the time of pre-production. This stage comprises of:

Layout artist helps to compose a shot and as a guideline to the animators, he delivers a rough animation. A 3D version is produced of the same thing that was earlier drawn by the storyboard artists. Modelers have two departments. Organic modelers specializes in character building and have a sculpture background whereas hard surface modelers work on the models such as weapons, vehicles and they have an architectural background.

After the approval of the model, it will be available to the texture paint and rigging departments who are responsible for completing the final stages to prepare the model for rendering and animation. Texturing artists take care of painting textures according to the needs of a scene. Lighting artist looks after the lighting of each scene and also they take care of bringing all the elements together which the other departments have created. Rigging adds definition to the motion of the mechanical object.


Post-production is the final stage that looks after the completion or execution of the tasks once shooting or filming is done. In this phase, raw footages are edited, transitional effects are inserted and dubbing is done. Mainly there are three phases:

The compositing department assembles the 3D elements which were produced by other sections, for creating the final image which can be used in the film. Compositing department renders the various passes which the lighting department delivers. Sound editing team selects and assembles the sound recordings for preparing the final sound mix. They ensure that there is lip sync and also they add the required sound effects for the film. Video editing is the technique through which the various shots are manipulated and rearranged for creating a final product which is seamless. All the unwanted scenes and footages are removed at this stage. One of the most important steps is editing which ensures that the video has a smooth flow. Video editing also involves adding and tilting of any effects to the final text or video.