SmartCuts – Animation Showreel
Watch our animation showreel. This shows samples of our work and provides a sense of how important and impactful a good animated video can be when used as a creative communication tool.
You’ll find plenty of samples of our work in animation production on this webpage, but should you be looking to see something specific you can’t find, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We have lots to show that we haven’t put up here.
SmartCuts produces UEFA’s main corporate video each year for the federation’s annual committee’s congress. The concept comprises video footage of each committee’s achievements as well as animated transitions to present the chairs and each committee’s goals for the upcoming year. We also usually include an animated introduction and outro to create a more compelling piece. The animation is high-end 3D. The mandate involves demanding project management and extensive coordination with the UEFA task force.
The World Health Organization often comes to SmartCuts for animation. We have helped WHO most specifically with creative communication in its ongoing campaign against Tuberculosis. This is the first of a series of animated videos we have produced for the UN agency on TB. The job most often involves not just animation, but conception, script-writing for solid storytelling, as well as creating a social media version of the animations.
This animated explainer was mandated by the Swiss biotech firm Syndermix to promote treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis. This animation is in motion graphics with a stylized look and feel to stand out from the usual explainer animations done in this style. You’ll also notice that we took the show, rather than tell, approach to deliver the message. It’s well-known that viewers react best to emotions and what they can relate to, rather than facts and figures. So for this animation we created a character through which to exemplify the problem and solution.
Animation video gallery
Animation case study
Every year, UEFA holds a corporate congress at which its multiple committees across Europe gather to present their Every year, UEFA holds a corporate congress at which its multiple committees across Europe gather to present their accomplishments, challenges and goals. Trouble is, doing so, in person, on stage took time, too much time. When a task force from UEFA’s communications department called us in to discuss the problem, they told us that many were leaving the room when the chairmen took the stand. The mission was to come up with a solution.
After analyzing the situation, we proposed to use a combination of corporate video and animation to deliver the committee’s key messages in a much more succinct and dynamic way. The footage would come from UEFA’s archives and we would handle the animated elements. This was corporate video of a different ilk than we were used to producing, but the challenge was stimulating, and our creative team was up to it.
Given the stakes, the quality of the production had to be top-of-the-line, so 3D animation was a no-brainer. Together, we decided to create an introduction with children getting together on a football field. There, they pull out a magazine, which we did up in a panini sticker book style. This became the pretext to introduce each committee chairman, as if they were players.
We then animated in text to deliver certain key points, and then segued to video footage that illustrated the achievements being enumerated by the voice over. To keep things fresh and varied, we opted to toggle between a man and a woman’s voice.
The final corporate video was shown on a large screen at the congress and posted on the UEFA website. It was a big success, especially with the top brass, who immediately gave their green light to make this an annual production. We have since been at it each year, and we are now working with UEFA to provide other, complementary, services to improve the event’s digital coverage and experience for participants. This includes augmented and virtual reality elements, as well as other creative communications solutions.
Animation case study
WHO, the World Health Organization, has become a regular client at SmartCuts Creative, especially when it comes to animation. They contact us often to help them communicate on various campaigns. We have worked specifically with the department dealing with Tuberculosis.
We have done pure animation, video and animation combined and social media versions of these animations for the UN agency. WHO, like many of our clients, particularly appreciate the tool we use for feedback on video drafts. Once the graphics have been animated, we send what we call VRPs – Video Review Pages, which allow the viewer to click anytime, anywhere on the video to insert a comment. This comment gets automatically time-coded and appears both as a dot on the video, but also in full form in the margin on the right.
Take a look at how this works. It makes providing feedback on animation and video so much easier than using email, pdf’s or other text-based documents that are not kept current in real time. Once all is ship-shape and as you want it, we deliver the final animation via Dropbox or any file transfer protocol of your choice. Busy as they are, the WHO task forces typically send us their key messages in bullet points, which we then work into a draft script. The script is always the backbone of any animation project, unless, of course, there is no voice over.
During this part of the pre-production, we submit shortlists to WHO of both voice over artists we feel will fit the bill, as well a music tracks. Once these are selected, and once the script is finalized, we create an online storyboard. We use a tool called Boords for this, which is a third party professional solution to drafting storyboards.
These are particularly important for animation projects, not only because graphics are, for obvious reasons, harder to envisage in exact form than real actors and sets for video shoots, but also because graphics take time to create and animate, so we really want to make sure that everyone is on the same page before we start to make all that happen. Depending on the complexity of the project, we may start off with hand sketches. Once these are vetted and approved by the customer, we then turn them into CGs (computer graphics). Again, these get a round of review and modifications before we move on to actual animation.
Animation case study
The medical company Syndermix approached SmartCuts for an animated video to explain a condition called rhinosinusitis. Although not among the most prestigious of our customers in terms of reputation and reach, Syndermix was open-minded and trusted our advice on how to communicate creatively.
That’s why we decided to put this project among our highlighted case studies. We were able to do it the way we wanted to, which is not always a given. Our advice to Syndermix was to use the show, rather than tell, approach to storytelling with animation. What that means, concretely, is that, instead of telling viewers what rhinosinusitis is and throwing a bunch of facts and figures at them, we opted to tell the story of a cartoon character who suffers from the condition.
This allowed us to make viewers feel what it’s like, by creating a bond between them and the protagonist and by making them relate. Facts and figures speak to the mind. Stories and emotions speak to the heart, and people, when push comes to shove, follow their hearts, not their minds. That’s why conveying information via storytelling is so much more powerful than via factual exposés or informative marathons.
In addition, Syndermix supported our creative team in its choice of a quite stylized genre of animation. As you can see, no attempt is made to make the character realistic in his traits. On the contrary, soft, ample curves exaggerate his features and make him larger than life. This helps create a sense of empathy and attachment to the character. The color palette is also deliberately soothing in its pastel hues.
Add to this a well-crafted sound design, and you get an animation that really hit the nail on the head: the message is clear, but it’s also compelling and makes people want to learn more and engage. That’s the power of creative communication, when done well.
Q&A on Animation
Animation captivated us as children. That positive emotion, that attraction, is still in the adults we have become. That’s why communicating with animation works so well. It taps into the subconscious to deliver a message – your message – in a fun, visually appealing way. Another big advantage is that it allows you to stay generic – no problems of race, gender or culture – not to mention potential savings: no actors, sets, and so on.
Indeed, video can sometimes get very costly very quickly, because of the need to hire actors, sets, build things, add special effects and so on. In animated explainers, all this can be whipped up behind a screens by talented animators and graphic artists. Animated explainers are a great way of delivering a lot of information in bite-size chunks, with visually appealing support to the voice over narrative. In a sense, with animation, your literally illustrating the message. Given that, contrary to video, you’re creating the settings and the characters from scratch, the leeway in creative reach is greatly enhanced.
Why animation with SmartCuts?
SmartCuts Creative has produced over 100 well-crafted animated videos to explain complex platforms, tools, issues and programs, to promote campaigns, services and products, to speak to donors and villagers alike. We have experience talking to local, but also international, audiences in motion graphics, 2D, 3D, whiteboard.
We now really do have extensive experience, not only in actually creating original and compelling graphics and making them move, but also, and perhaps above all, in coming up with concepts that stand out and allow your message to come across clearly, concisely and creatively. Working with an experienced team also means you are guided through the whole production process by people who’ve been through it many times. They know the pitfalls, the right moves to make and decisions to take at the right time during the project. With a SmartCuts producer in charge of your animation project, you’re in really good hands.
How does it work?
To launch an animation project, the first thing we do is to take in your brief carefully and listen during the kick-off meeting. This helps the assigned producer and creative team decide on a shortlist of styles, concepts or approaches to submit to you for consideration. From there, we create a moodboard, which allows us to determine what unique look and feel your animation will have. If there is to be a voice over narration, we then write the script, either from bullet points you provide or from your own stab at the script.
Once finalized, we create a storyboard to breakdown what visuals will accompany each passage of the script. Doing this ensures that you have the final word on what each scene will look like before we commit to animating the graphics. The animation drafts are delivered to you via Vimeo’s online review tool, which very much facilitates the feedback process and makes sure your input is taken into account for each consecutive draft.