how we work

There is a lot of work involved in creating scientific flash animations so it is essential that a good working relationship is developed between the client and the designer. We usually work with clients on a long term basis and this helps to develop a good relationship and to establish a cost-effective way of working for the client.

what happens first

Once an animation has been commissioned, the first task is to build a bespoke player template for the animation. At this stage, the designer will discuss with the client specific details, for example, pixel dimensions, colour palette, interface style and navigation controls that help the viewer navigate the animation

Example of animation control buttonsThis template may be a new design or one that is based on existing company branding, for example like the player we built for Cancer Research UK (see detail on right). Once this template has been created, it can be re-used for any future animations for that client.

Over time, a library of animation elements are built up for each client and these can be re-used often in several animations, which saves both time and money for the client. In addition, any graphic elements in the animations can be adapted and used as illustrations for the web or print.

the production process

The following steps will give you an idea of how our designer usually works with a client's scientific writer to create an animation, once the player is complete:

1

Most animations are separated into scenes to enable clear navigation and indexing. A scientific writer initially creates a story board brief, which outlines the purpose of the animation and highlights what will be visually demonstrated in each scene of the animation.

This is sometimes text-based or ideally includes sketches or visual reference material. A good example is shown below:

Storyboard sketch for animation

2

The writer discusses the animation in detail with the designer to establish what colour palette and design style is required. At this stage, the client can clarify any issues and the designer can ask any questions about the initial storyboard.

3

The designer offers an estimate of time required to build the animation based on the brief supplied. It is also worthwhile allowing a small margin of extra time for amendments. If the client agrees with the quote, a deadline is set for completion.

4

The writer finalises their visual storyboard, using sketches, images or links to websites to show in more detail what is required. They will also write a script to accompany each scene which is supplied as a Word document.

5

The designer creates the graphic illustrations for the animation and then creates the animation in Flash based upon the brief.

6

Work in progress is usually emailed to the client in swf flash format, or uploaded to our web server so each stage can be checked. The designer is in contact with the writer by phone or email to discuss any details if required.

7

When the animation is complete, the designer will add functionality to the navigation controls so the viewer can move backwards and forwards through the animation. If the animation is being viewed on the web a pre-loader is added so the complete animation is downloaded before it begins to play.

8

The final stage requires checking the scientific accuracy of the animation. This is usually done by the scientific writer and often the animation is sent to other scientific experts for further opinions.

9

Any final amendments are made. These are checked and then the animation is ready to be published on the web or CD-Rom. An invoice is submitted and payment is usually due within 14-30 days.

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what our clients say...

Wellcome Trust logo

"Animations and graphics which have been created by Liquid Jigsaw in partnership with Wellcome have also been endorsed by the World Health Organization, and WHO regularly include such work on their websites.

This had led to requests for use of the materials by teachers, researchers and other healthcare professionals from all over the world. In many cases these are unique offerings that are not available anywhere else."

Dr Tim Beanland - Wellcome Trust

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