Morrison Utility are the UK’s leading provider of utility services, working with clients in the electricity, gas and water sectors. They offer an end-to-end solution, with a focus on commitment, innovation, teamwork and accountability.
Dragonfly were lucky enough to be commissioned to work with Morrison Utilities to provide a training video for their employees. They had a high budget, and were keen for us to produce something that would stand-out from your average, dull training video.
We provide a number of stunning, high-quality video solutions, but for a project of this nature, the direction was clear. We agreed on a 3D character animation with the client. Projects like this are always exciting to embark on – and we pull out all the stops to ensure that the video will be a cut above the rest.
There were a few clear objectives for this project – we obviously had the task of presenting the information in a straight-forward and easy to understand manner – but it was also important that we integrated the client’s core values into the video. Ensuring that character’s behaved in the correct way, their body language representing what they expect from their employees – being genuine with their customers, with big smiles and a helpful attitude.
Bringing a concept to life
Character Design is no doubt one of the most exciting parts of any animation project.
During this stage of production, our animators begin to develop the creative concept of the video – it often involves a deep dive into the core goals and messages of the project, in order to create characters that reflect and enhance your key values.
This stage of production can be incredibly collaborative. Our past clients tend to really enjoy being involved in this part of process – there’s always plenty of opportunity for creative feedback and suggestions.
Frame-by-frame sketches that map out the final video
The storyboarding stage of production provides an opportunity to ‘map out’ a video, in frame-by-frame detail. Once the storyboard is signed off, our animators work directly from a storyboard, using it as a comprehensive guide for creating the final animation. Many clients find this incredibly reassuring – there are no surprises when it comes to the final video, and the client has the opportunity to provide feedback and make suggestions at the most crucial points of production.
We never proceed unless our clients are 100% happy with the work that’s been produced – it’s just not what we do.
From storyboard sketches...
to fully rendered 3D animation
As you can probably imagine, moving from storyboard sketches to fully rendered 3D animation can be an incredibly challenging – and time consuming – task. Our team of animators have industry-wide experience, and are at the top of their game when it comes to state-of-the-art 3D animation techniques. There are huge benefits to working with 3D character animation. In this style, characters have the ability to look as realistic or as cartoony as you like – and the correct blend of these effects can be simply stunning.
During the 3D animation production process, characters need to modelled in 3D software – where our artists will shape and mould the form in a 3D mesh. This is then textured, overlaying designs, patterns and textures to the blank shape. This is called mapping, and is where elements like strands of hair, freckles and even the texture of a character’s jeans will be added.
Once the design is just right, it’s ready to be rigged and skinned. Put simply – this involves creating a ‘skeleton’ of bones for the 3D model, giving it the dexterity to move in the intended way. The skinning process places the ‘skin’ design on top of this skeleton, completing the structure. This is the last stage of the design process before a character can begin to be animated.
After the puppet has been completed, our animators place it in specialist computer software to manipulate. There are multiple ways to make a character move – from using keyframes (similar to a 2D character animation), to setting curved paths for elements to follow, to motion tracking (using a real-life actor to control the puppet).
The possibilities are quite literally endless with 3D character design, and we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have such a uniquely talented group of professionals on our side – and it really shows in the quality of our productions.
The final video
Take a look at one of the final edits below
This video is a summary version of the original, which is much longer, and provides examples of many scenarios and areas for trainees to be aware of. The client were thrilled with the final video – we’ve gone on to work with Morrison Utility Services on a number of further projects and have developed a great ongoing relationship with the team.