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How 2D and 3D Animation is made at an Animation Studio – Part 3

3D computer graphics - 3D rendering

How 2D and 3D Animation is made at an Animation Studio – Part 3

Our Team at Austin Visuals 3D Animation Studio feels it is very important to educate the community, clients, and anyone that is curious about how Animation is made or over what exactly goes on behind the scenes in a 3D or 2D Animated Production. This knowledge will not only explain how we do what we do, but it also helps everyone appreciate the service we provide, helps people better collaborate with us, and helps us manage people’s expectations throughout the 3D or 2D Animation process.


There are some people that watch Animated cartoons on TV or see the 3D hit movie Avatar and enjoy it but have no idea how many steps, it takes, who does it, how many people does it take, who are the people that make it, or what’s involved in the process. As Animators, we can often forget that the general public doesn’t have a degree in Animation like most of us working at Studios do, so we feel it’s time to shed some light on the subject and educate as well as entertain you about what it takes to create a 2D or 3D Animation at a Studio. This will be Part 3 of a series we will create on this subject, so stay tuned for all of the series. We will be walking you through step by step in a rare behind the scenes look at what it takes us to build those Film FX, Cartoons, Commercials, and anything Animated you may have seen around. Enjoy.

As one of Austin, TX’s Premier 3D Animation Companies, we serve our clients locally and globally. Established in 2007, Austin Visuals has produced many Animated Commercials, Cartoons for YouTube, Architectural Animation, Visualizations for the Oil and Gas Industry, Animation for The University of Texas (UT, Austin, TX), and even Animation and Graphics for NASA.


 Here are some of the topics we will be covering in this series. 

Do it in 2D? Or 3D?

What is 3D Animation?

What is Our 3D Animation Process?

Step 1: What are your needs?

Step 2: Concept and Storyboards  ( <—Covered in this Article )

Step 3: 3D Modeling ( <—Covered in this Article )

Step 4: Texturing  ( <—Covered in this Article )

Step 5: Rigging

And more…

( Continued…) 

Step 2 – Concept and Storyboards




Here’s where we take your ideas for an Animation and translate them into a visual “sketch” or Storyboard. A storyboard is a sequence of illustrations or sketches that summarize your ideas and stories all in one place. A storyboard can be thought as a “blueprint” for how you want your animation to look. We also take doodles you’ve made on napkins, or clips from YouTube, along with any and all material you provide us as reference material for creating our storyboards. Each storyboard tells the story of what’s going on scene-by-scene. Also included are notes about music, a script of what is being said if anything, and how all of these elements relate to each other in order to provide you with the most cohesive and compelling story possible. This stage is known as the ‘planning and development’ stage and is a crucial part of the animation process as it helps you to visualize the project and map it out before we begin production.

As for Character Design, if you need a Character developed for your story, we develop sketches usually in this phase. With a Character Design Sketch, Austin Visuals can show you different viewing angles and emotions of your character. Making changes to the way any character looks or acts is best done at this stage because sketches can be re-sketched much more quickly and efficiently than making a change once this character becomes 3D.



Step 3 – 3D Modeling




Now we’re rolling.  We’ve got the vision. We’ve got the storyboards. It’s time to start creating your world in three dimensions. We use state-of-art 3D Computer Software to create each character or object that you will ultimately see in your final animation or still image. 3D objects in our world usually start as basic shape, such as a three-dimensional cube or sphere.  We often like to refer to these  as digital “putty”.  Since we are artists, we like to sculpt things in much the same way a potter would create a pot from a lump of clay. At this stage in our process, we “sculpt” our digital putty, by pushing and pulling it into the shape it should be, whether it’s a robotic arm, a car, or a person’s head.  This isn’t as easy as it sounds, though. 3D Modeling is a time consuming process in which we create the characters, sets, and props, often times we will creating things “out of thin air” when need, but showing us reference always helps us create faster and create a project that is more precisely what’s in your head.


Step 4 – Texturing



Here’s where it really starts to get interesting. Texturing is the process of adding color to our digital putty or 3D models.  Do you want the image to look like a photograph?  Should we incorporate the colors from your corporate logo? We’ll start with a rough draft for you to review, then we’ll add details into your model such as simulated textures, scratches, or shadows. A model that looks like a photograph might require as many as 22 layers of texture to get things just right! Know that we only create detail where and when needed so that we are always efficient with our time and resources.




Don’t worry if this is your first Animation project, we know the kinds of questions to ask at this step to ensure that your production is a Blockbuster! That’s all for now, join us next time for another post in our series. To find all the posts, visit our blog at  Austin Visuals


At Austin Visuals 3D Animation Studio we specialize in providing the following 3D Animation and Video Services:

  • 3D Animation, FX, and 3D Renderings
  • Animation, Video Production, and Graphics from concept-to-completion

Contact us at Austin Visuals if you need help structuring your 3d animation needs, and we can help you save time and many headaches of getting your project off the ground and best of all we bring your ideas to life.


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