Animation post production is the final process of creating an animated movie, intending to add visual and audio effects, and implementing any last-minute changes to scenes and dialogue.
There are several stages to an animation post production pipeline, the first of which is pre-production. Pre-production can be done in various ways; for example, some studios use in-house software to develop storyboards and animatics, while others prefer to outsource this work. This is because there are many reasons why a studio would decide to handle this part of the process themselves: they want more control over their work, or they fear outsourcing could ruin the integrity or quality of their or other people’s work.
Next comes pre-visualization. This stage is where storyboard artists typically draw storyboards, with each scene depicting several individual frames that will eventually go into the final cutscenes. The drawings give a rough outline of the movie’s story and thus allow the director to view what their work will look like before it is completed. This stage also contains keyframe animation, which establishes specific details of the movie and its characters. The animators will typically take photos from various angles of each character and then use those photographs as a reference while they draw individual frames.
Once this stage is complete, animatics are created. This final stage of pre-production involves making rough versions of every scene and every shot in the final cutscene to ensure that it works technically. Animatics differ from storyboards because they contain small video clips rather than still images.
Once the animatic process is complete, it will be reviewed by the director, production team and possibly a script supervisor. If there are any problems with the sequence, or if any scenes need to be changed for any reason, then this step needs to be redone. However, it is normal for a few minor changes not to require redoing the animatic; for example, maybe one of the characters was acting differently from their scene in the storyboard, and it was necessary to change their movement so they would appear as they should under close scrutiny.
When the animatic process is complete, the next stage is production. This involves creating all the movie’s scenes from start to finish, frame by frame. Once the studio has edited all of the movie’s scenes into their final form, they will go on to create what is known as a pencil test. In this stage, each scene will be animated using pencil drawings. These are not meant to be seen by viewers of the final product but rather as an indication of how well every element in a scene meshes together. If there are any lighting or colouring problems in a scene, they might only become evident once this stage has been completed; if so, they will need to be fixed before moving on to inking and painting.
There are four steps involved in the actual inking and painting of the movie, and they are the blocking process, ink and paint, clean-up and final delivery. In the blocking process, animators draw over their pencil sketches using a pen or brush (usually coloured ones) to block out where every frame will go on paper. Next, animators paint these rough drawings with flat colours to fill in any missing details in each scene. In some cases, certain parts of a scene need to be painted more than once if there is a risk it may look unnatural up close.
In conclusion, animation post-production is a critical process, as it will determine how enjoyable the final product will be. If the animations in a movie are lacking, it can only be a significant disappointment for viewers when they first see them; this is why animation post-production has to be done correctly.