Has this pandemic handed your business a giant, caterpillar-infested lemon? Tell me if you relate:
- Jobs have been on the decline since the pandemic and while things are finally picking up, you’re nowhere near your previous workload. ✅
- You provided a creative solution for your client(s) when the pandemic forced you to cancel a project midstream. ✅
- You stress ate your quarantine rations week two and all you have left is a can of beets and a Domino’s gift card with $4.67 on it. ✅
Okay. Us, too. So now what? If you’ve recommended some creative ways to repurpose existing footage, you’re in good company. This Nike spot uses archival footage, voiceover, and top-notch copy to tell the story. Are you ready to go a little further? Time to flex your creative muscles with some animation skills, Creatives!
This one skill you can add to your profile during this slow time and you’ll never want for work. And it’s easier to get started than you think. Quite likely harder to become an expert than you think, too. 🤷🏻♀️ I talked to Shawna Schultz of Mass FX Media–the motion design and animation lab based in Denver–about how production houses can help clients meet their goals in light of the COVID-19 limitations.
Adjusting to new realities with current clients
Schultz has had plenty of clients approach her production house with their COVID-19 challenges. Many had live-action concepts they simply won’t be able to accomplish under current conditions. Specializing in animation has made the pivot much easier to stomach and Schultz has been able to offer solutions that don’t require an indefinite delay.
For example, Schultz and the team created a graphics package for The Unreasonable Impact COVID-19 Response Global Summit created with Barclays. The event would’ve been live without COVID, but the graphics package upped the production value of the virtual summit by allowing a polished opening, transitions between speakers, and even a fallback to cut to in case of technical glitches.
Entry-level animation skills to get you rolling
Motion capture and creating new characters may be the glamorous side of animation, but simple is good, too. Iconography, typography, and adding motion to stills are entry-level ways to bring words and images to life. I never would’ve thought seeing a Conan O’Brien monologue with typography animation alone would be more engaging than watching the man himself.
Schultz said getting comfortable with your pen tool and clone tool in Photoshop can help you create the parallax effect in your editing software–another way to add visual interest to photos.
You can likely get started with the software you already have. Adobe Premiere, After Effects and Animate, have helped drop the barriers to entry so you can delve into the basics without an overly burdensome learning curve.
Tools and training for when you’re ready to add a whole new piece to your business pie
Schultz and the team have put together this comprehensive list of resources to get you started with minimal investment. Many are free!
You can become proficient enough to add new depth to your projects or, if you like it enough, you can keep learning and become an expert.
There’s plenty to explore before getting into motion capture and creating complete characters. No matter how far you take it, you will find uses for everything you learn.
Sometimes when you’re boxed into a corner, your pivot causes you to create something even better than you thought possible. When life hands you lemons, animate them.
Crew Connection helps video professionals connect with clients. Put all your skills to use with us by applying to be listed on our online database of highly-vetted crews.
Shawna Schultz is president and executive producer of Mass FX Media, a motion design lab serving brands and documentary filmmakers animation and visual effects to enhance their stories.