Development Cost Custom eLearning Videos Using Animations

Last week we look at the different costs which you could incur when you build custom eLearning Videos using Films. This week we will do the same exercise for eLearning videos which are built exclusively using animations.

When making films you need to take into account many different moving parts. Making animations is more straightforward – but not necessarily cheaper. Films give you the possibility of instantly capturing an image. In an animation, the same needs to be painstakingly created.

The early steps of building an animation in an eLearning video are the same as for with films: capture the learning goals and write the script. But the script for an animation can be slightly different than the script for a film. For a film, the script needs to define both the visual and the audio elements of the story. In the case of an animation, the script can be limited to just “what we hear” – which in the case of eLearning is often what the voice artist will be saying.

Once the script is written, your animator may need to build a storyboard. This process can be quite different for a 2D animation or a 3D animation. For the sake of this discussion we will limit ourselves to a 2D animation.

The goal of the storyboard is to give you a sense of the visual. It should answer the question: What am I going to see corresponding to what I shall hear? (which, as we saw, is captured in the script)

For eLearning videos the storyboard does not need to be very detailed. Its main purpose is to ensure that the animator, the project manager and the client are in sync about what the animation will look like. This is to avoid misunderstandings and having to redo the animation later on.

Below is an example of a simple storyboard:

Simple Storyboard

Once the storyboard and script are approved, you will need to see if any special assets are required. You may need screenshots of a particular software, or need photographs or images, or even some film footage or special sounds.

Then you will get the script recorded by a voice artist and deliver this and the assets to the animator. Depending on how good the animator is you may need to do a few iterations before the animation is locked and approved as per the storyboard.

So the typical costs you will face are:

  1. The project manager
  2. The script writer
  3. The animator
  4. Special assets
  5. Voice artist
  6. Editor (if different than animator)

And if everything goes well you will have an excellent result as we did when we finished implementing the animation for the storyboard shown above. Here are some images from that animation:

Animation For Storyboard - Security Demo

If done well, animations can be a powerful tool to make your eLearning serious but entertaining.