The Importance of Pre-Production in Animation Process

Pre-production in animation is an essential part of the creative process. Today we're covering our extensive checklist used by our animation professionals.

The Importance of Pre-Production in Animation Process

"Preparation is the key to success." – Alexander Graham Bell

Some people are blessed with incredible talent and artistic vision that allows them to perform at the highest level on a regular day basis; for the rest of us, we must meticulously focus on educating ourselves, learning from mistakes, and dedicating time for preparation. The pre-production process in animation is essential for amateur and expert animators. In the following post, we will thoroughly discuss the specific steps required to produce professional-quality animations.

Once you've read the article, you will have extensive knowledge on the following aspects of the pre-production process:

  • How to incorporate a discovery into our animation
  • Conceptualization and creating a strategy to guide your design
  • Effective scriptwriting strategies
  • The benefits of utilizing a moodboard, storyboard, and animatic
  • Defining the style of the animation

What is Pre-Production in Animation?

Before every animation project, you should set a significant amount of time aside for pre-production. Adequate preparation is one of the ways professionals separate themselves from amateurs. The process should be calculated and incorporate a variety of valuable tools to deliver the best animation possible.


When we begin to develop a new animation project, our team has a framework followed from the moment they receive the order through delivery. The process consists of collaboration with the client, formulating the animation's goal and style, scriptwriting, and a call to action. While every designer's approach will vary, all successful professional animators take extensive measures to fully prepare themselves for the project.

What is Pre-Production in 2D Animation?

Before any 2D animation takes place, creators set aside time to prepare for the work at hand. Our process consists of four major phases:

script writing
  • Strategy
  • Scriptwriting
  • Storyboarding
  • Style

Each phase consists of important elements of the pre-production process. Once you have a firm understanding of the goals for the video, you become much more prepared, and the production process is much easier.

storyboarding in pre produciton

The Importance of Client Collaboration in Pre-Production

Working for a client is obviously much different than producing animations for yourself or a hobby. When you are working for someone, it is essential to set expectations early. You don't want your client to be surprised by the animation you deliver; this nightmare situation can be avoided through close collaboration using a client brief or discovery.

The discovery is the first step of the process, so you will not have the style or script finalized. Take this opportunity to understand your client. Identify their goals for the production and try to understand their expectations before you get any deeper into the pre-production process.

Lottie animation by Creattie

Client collaboration shouldn't stop after a brief. At Yans Media, we make sure our clients are involved in every step of the process. After collecting the brief and strategizing, we plan the concept and write the animation video's script. Once approved, we move on using pre-production tools that help the animation begin to come to life.

Strategizing in the pre-production process consists of technical and creative needs that must be met. To keep our animators organized, we use a pre-production checklist.

Our Checklist for Pre-Production

Before the beginning stages of the animation process, the majority of the checklist's objectives should be completed. However, defining the video's style is a creative progression that is conducted throughout pre-production.


1. Define the Scope of the Project

Some clients only need one video; in this case, the strategy is more straightforward. However, when the project spans multiple animations, designers must step back and view the project as a more extensive campaign with a long-term goal.  

2. Narrow Down the Duration of the Video

The length of a video is critical in marketing regarding capturing the viewer's attention and conforming with digital platforms. Collaboration and transparency are vital in determining the optimal length for the video.

3. Video Placement

Knowing where the video will be live is critical in production. Adjusting aspect ratio and dimensions after the animation is complete can extend production times and lead to unhappy clients. Make sure you know exactly where the video will be uploaded and the target audience in the early stages of pre-production.

Useful Recourse
The Best Video Hosting Sites For Your Business

4. What is the Main Goal of Animation?

Working closely with the client is essential in portraying their goals through the animation. A consensus should be reached after the client's discovery.

5. Call to Action

The video's call to action is a sales hook, essentially influencing the viewer and completing the goal of the animation. We recommend formulating the call to action early and including it in the video's script.

Must Know.
How to Use a Call to Action in a Marketing Video

6. Timeline of the Project

Determine how long the project will take and if you need to adjust the style to meet a tight deadline. Additional versions and alterations should also be accounted for when determining your timeline.

7. Possible Video Alterations/Separate Versions

pre production

If your client needs different versions of the video, you need to prepare. For example, many marketers will use a condensed version of animation for social and a more extended version for the web. Be careful in identifying all the necessary changes that need to be accounted for when creating alternate videos, including aspect ratio, dimensions, and length. In addition, your visuals may need to be adjusted to fit different screen sizes or social media platforms.  

8. Clearly Define the Video's Style

One of the last phases of pre-production at Yans Media is defining a video's style. We collaborate throughout pre-production with our clients to develop the style of the animation. After a client approves the storyboard, we send full-color visualization that gives an idea of the final animation. In combination with our script, moodboard, and storyboard, our clients know exactly what they will be getting before the animation process is even started.

Methods to Help Pre-Production in Animation

After working together to formulate the goals of the animation, we used a series of tools to curate the video's overall feel and storyline. Below are three tools commonly used for pre-production in animation.


Moodboard – A collection of design materials gives an animation team and client a general idea of the video's look and feel. Moodboards should include:

- Visual character design examples
- Environment design
- UX and UI design
- A color pallet
- Depiction of the general mood or feel

mood board

For more information on this critical stage of pre-production, check out our article on Moodboards.


Storyboard – A series of drawings, similar to a comic book, depicting each video scene. The storyboard is where the script and moodboard come together to show a visual representation of how the story will play out.



Animatic – An animated version of the storyboard in the form of a slideshow. Images from the storyboard are cut together, and Sound effects, a VO, or music are added to create a rough animation cut.

We continue to ask our clients for feedback and approval after completing the moodboard, storyboard, and animatic. As a result, there are no surprises when the fully produced animation is delivered.  

Preparation Leads to Successful Outcomes

Pre-production shouldn't be rushed. The amount of time spent before the animation will directly reflect the quality of the project and your client's satisfaction. If you are struggling with producing high-quality, engaging animated marketing videos for your brand, our team of professionals has extensive experience working with a diverse group of clients. Check out our past projects to see if Yans Media is the right fit for your animation needs.

Arrow Right Yans Media