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Creating an Animated Video

Storytelling is key when trying to capture your audience and clearly communicate your message. Motion design can help listeners and viewers in various industries fully understand any particular topic. Motion graphics are often clear, on topic, and short, all of which are important aspects of good communication. We created an animated video to discover a process that will work for us and our clients when motion graphics can help tell a story.

If you are going to put together an animated video, we found it helpful to have a team made up of the following essential skills:

  • Storyboarding
  • Graphic design
  • Motion Design

Our team broke out with Dave Miller, Back40 President, doing the storyboard. Myself, Amy Samuel, creating the graphics. And Eva Shtern, a motion designer, setting the timeline with images, text, and sound to motion.

Here’s a breakdown of our process:


Initially we met and explored the concept for our Back40 animated video. We ran through a lot of creative strategies, ideas, history, and details about the company. It’s important to brainstorm and let creative ideas flow without editing in the first concepting meeting. We sketched out visuals on the whiteboard and even watched some videos together for style inspiration. We met a few more times and discussed our ideas as we homed in on what was important in relation to telling Back40’s story. Here are some of our random highlights:

  • history
  • day in the life of Back40
  • how many emails we respond to
  • stable
  • debt free
  • creative
  • diverse skills
  • multiple disciplines
  • honest and trustworthy
  • we help grow business
  • connect with people
  • referral based leads
  • open books
  • clients out of state
  • clients around the world
  • fresh
  • natural
  • creative
  • thoughtful


Scriptwriting involves crafting the text, movement, actions, and expressions to be used. We went with the concept of showing history, growth, versatility, and a client focused company. We took our concept and wrote out a few scripts. Trimming down the script is one of the most important parts of the script writing process. A 30 second video is pretty darn short once you put your ideas to paper.


After we had a loose script to work with the next step was to get a storyboard together. Storyboards consist of images gathered in sequence to tell a story. Visually creating each scene along with the script helps to finalize each portion of the video for production. We chose our music during the storyboarding process which helped to create the vibe the video would have and the rhythm for the motion design.



Voice-over comes after storyboarding. This is the time to have your talent record the reading of your script and to do the initial editing of the audio files. Our voice-over and other audio files were edited with Apple Logic. You want the natural reading of the script, following the storyboard, by the narrator to set the flow for the production work.


Once we had all the prep work complete it was time to start production. Eva helped create the initial illustrations for the video production. We used Adobe Illustrator to further develop the final design renderings for the video. Animated videos are such a great media to explore illustrations. Illustrating through design software is a skill our designers are very talented at and a skill we love to use.

vector illustration

Motion Design

Eva used the storyboard, music, our final renderings, and her initial illustrations together in Adobe After Effects to create the motion graphics. Illustrator vector base files can be converted into After Effects shape layers. This feature helps graphic designers and motion designers play nicely together.

As I stated, the voice-over phase of the process ideally comes after storyboarding. For this project we actually did not have our voice-over talent secured until after production had began. Ryan Bellgardt was kind enough to read our script the best he could to narrate the motion design Eva was creating.

Final Product

You can watch the final product here in this blog. The animated video was a great group effort from Eva, Ryan, and our Back40 creative team. We believe that animated videos are a great way to tell a story and communicate sometimes complex messages in a simple fun way.

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