When it comes to animation videos for corporations, we’ve experienced the need for high-quality content but we don’t have enough people with animation expertise or the right skill sets to meet the timeline demand and control the quality of final videos. As a result, we resort to outsourcing all this animation work. But things won’t stop there, we have a new challenge: animated video production management.
However, outsourcing work has some significant challenges and risks: slower turnaround time directly affects the client’s business goal, and outsourced companies lack client business knowledge, and business management. And finally, the client lacks expert knowledge, so they are unsure if the animation style and concept was chosen are suitable for their company.
This blog will look at how our F. Learning team successfully manages the animation series in the Exp Design project.
Exp Design – who are they?
This is a creative learning agency established in 2020 with a team of talented designers and developers. They combine the science of learning with user experience, design, and technology which assist learning initiatives from customer education to product adoption.
Antoinette (the founder of Exp Design) has consulted for top companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, ResMed, and ConocoPhillips in various departments such as Diversity and Inclusion, Business Education, Customer/ Partner Support, and Global Learning. Her goal is to help people think differently about learning and embrace something new.
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How does F.Learning Studio help Exp Design?
With enriched experience in animated video production, our F.Learning team helps to produce animation for any niche, especially for training and medical purposes.
Our expertise helps Exp Design work with their customers in many cases. We eagerly advise Exp Design to find solutions for quality improvement and cost optimization during the production process. Therefore, Exp Design relies on us for anything related to animation, from production to consultation.
“Our most memorable collaboration project was when Exp Design worked with a customer who had no experience with animation. Many problems happened: the script provided couldn’t be animated; the feedback time was lengthened; the customer couldn’t imagine what their course would look like after animating, etc. Under these circumstances, F.Learning provided Exp Design with the animation guideline to advise their customer. We even made a sample video helping customers of Exp Design to understand animation better. All to one aim is to convince the customer to choose Exp Design.”
– Vicky Truong – F.Learning’s account manager.
Before diving in, here are some tips to manage big-scoped animation projects that are worth learning:
How does F.Learning manage big-scoped projects?
Big-scoped projects always include multiple tasks to do. This means we will need a dedicated team to join the project with an effective management method. The secret to how F.Learning manages big-scoped projects efficiently includes 3 main points as below.
#1 Clear information about time, quality, and budget control
Time management and process control
All projects— especially complex projects—need clear priorities. Our F.Learning team prioritizes tasks by identifying the core problems and allocates time for them first. At the end of the day, no serious adverse consequences will happen like missed release deadlines, missed client deadlines, etc.
Based on the scripts of Exp Design, we estimate animated video duration and a general timeline. Often, each project includes multiple animated videos, so we plan to detail each one of them (illustration day, feedback day, animation day, etc.).
Besides, communication by daily email keeps all the participants on the same page. Project management tools like Trello and Click Up enable Exp Design to monitor the production process deadline. If an unexpected change affects the timeline, we will set up a called meeting within fifteen minutes to discuss it. The new timeline will be adjusted after both companies have agreed on the most favorable time for both sides.
“F.Learning studio noticed that animation for Exp Design doesn’t require stunning visuals much, but it demands focusing on a high level of storytelling and explanation. After a few projects work together, to save time and cost for the project, we have generated a guideline with 3 concepts for 3 different requirement levels. These concepts are created by evaluating many concepts Exp Design has picked in the previous project. Therefore, Exp Design can pick 1 of 3 concepts for any new project and save a week of working.”
Anne Nguyen – F.Learning studio’s project manager
Smooth F.Learning service experience from end-to-end
Depending on the animation style & concept (background, characters, etc.), it can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. However, our F. Learning Studio still completes the process more quickly than other studios. The reason is simple.
The first is clear communication. Before starting the draft, our account executives will ask clients deep questions about the project: their audience, budget, quantity level, and timeline. This information helps us advise the client on the suitable animation option and ensures both sides stay on the same page. As a result, most of F. Learning projects: clients approve of the style on the 1st review round of the draft.
Besides, we also provide a fully functional team dedicated to each video of the Exp Design project to produce unique animation for Exp Design. From the concept, the style guidelines, to the tone of the animated video, everything is custom-made to fit Exp Design branding. This helps strengthen Exp Design’s brand name and position on the market.
Provide a “value for money” offer
Delivering value for money has become a critical capability that F.Learning possesses to stay on top of the 2D Animation market. The simple principle applied to all of our work is to make the best use of all resources available. In this way, we achieve the desired output and even optimize the operation cost to get that output.
We offered Exp Design a reasonable cost for production while still meeting up with tight deadlines. As our team is based in Vietnam – the low-spending region of the world, our price is often lower by 30% than in other regions. This helps with maximizing Exp Design’s profits from its products.
This is a huge plus for corporations looking to get serious about seizing the opportunity to implement cost optimization, reducing time and management costs while still meeting all quality requirements. This also helps with the general animated video production roadmap and revenue optimization in the long run.
For a better understanding of animation costs, please see this article:
#2 Project management tools set up
Benefits of Using Management Tools, especially in big-scoped projects
Management tools help to optimize communication time as they provide online working features for meetings, feedback, etc. Consequently, both sides receive and handle requirements from each other quickly.
Communication time optimization leads to animation-making process minimization. The tools help agencies keep track of the production as they easily see the project’s status and make decisions quickly.
Furthermore, these tools save valuable time that would have otherwise been wasted on tracking and searching data since they organize logical data. So, you don’t have to waste time finding relevant input or output when necessary.
ClickUp Management Tools
This is a productivity platform used by Airbnb, Nike, and Uber, and it’s perfect for managing animation projects. Our F.Learning team also uses ClickUp for project management.
ClickUp offers tools for project description (input, output, guide), assignee, to-do lists, and deadline settings. In the to-do list, each task can be divided into smaller ones with smaller goals. It also allows the sharing of tasks between F.Learning’s team members and Exp Design.
One notable feature of ClickUp is automatic reminder emails of every activity to the people involved so you don’t have to send emails manually.
Here is the list of best tools for animation project management:
#3 Control feedback & review process
It’s a fact that clients will have a lot of feedback back & forth during the review process if the production team doesn’t gather enough customer insights from the start.
From our very first projects, both sides tried to understand each other’s working styles and the project’s common points, and this prevents too much feedback later. Before the draft process, our account executives prepare a complete detailed questionnaire to collect enough information about the client.
At F.Learning, the general review process will look like this. Within each step, F. Learning points out what will be completed and which aspect the clients will need to review after that stage. There are also review tools used to assist this process better.
Frame.io is a tool for reviewing videos used by the F.Learning team during the animated video production process.
This tool allows F.Learning and Exp Design to draw or comment directly on the video frame. The comment is noted with timestamps and listed on the right side of the video. This helps save time for both sides as clients don’t need to create a review report, and F. Learning teams can easily track feedback as well as fix them right away.
Frame.io also integrates with Adobe Premiere and Adobe Effect, offering more access to timecode, checklist features, comments, and collaborative work through the program. If desired, Frame.io stores all material in cloud storage, making it easy for other collaborators on F.Learning Premiere or After Effects projects to work on the same project with you while using the same source materials.
While each company may follow a different project management strategy, the success of the Exp Design project depends heavily on how well F.Learning Studio implements the strategy in its animated video production process.