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We were recently asked by the Calderdale Council to create a short animation about the council’s upcoming budget cuts. Here at Rogue Robot we are very keen on not only showcasing our animations but also explaining the whole process behind working for such an important client. So, here’s how we managed to pull it off:

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Script & storyboard

In many cases we will help a client get their script together, but Calderdale Council already had a document about the budget cuts so we could use this as the basis for a script.

The next step was to create some rough sketches to serve as an initial storyboard for the animation. The sketches were fairly basic, but they gave us a good idea on how the final animation will look.

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We were provided with a series of graphics and a style by the Council, but also needed to create many more elements in-house (e.g. Halifax Piece Hall, Dean Clough Mill).

Designing the graphics in Illustrator was a long process as we didn’t only have to design them to look nice, but we also had to arrange all the elements in a correct stacking order to help us animate them in After Effects.

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Once we had the graphics prepared we commenced with the animation process, which is always the most fun part of the whole process. We started with small elements such as houses, trees and people which, when combined, formed complex scenes.

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As you can see in the image above, each individual object was animated separately and then added to a single composition. This was then added to the main composition that contained all the scenes in order, timed to the voice over.

For the animation process we used an intelligent system of keyframes as well as ‘Mister Horse Animation Composer‘ which helped us to do simple tasks such as scaling, bouncing, fading and rotating animations. This clever piece of software saved us time on repetitive tasks, which we used to focus on little details such as people blinking, swings swinging, and camera movements.

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The Calderdale Council Animation consisted of 20 individual scenes which were carefully ‘stitched’ together by using transitions. This enabled us to have a continuous animation with a constant background. The resulting render was added in Adobe Premiere where we added music, subtitles and the voiceover.

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Project delivery

The project was delivered in two weeks from start to finish, with the final film going live on the Council website the following day.

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