Our blueprint for success

Visually translating your message

Process

Investigation

  • Requirement Analysis
    • What type of content is desired, what other solutions can be suggested?
    • Will the content be produced with another production group such as an agency or will this be produced directly with client?
    • Is the content proprietary or general in nature? Is a non-disclosure agreement required?
    • Is there a deadline? Will the project need rush development?
  • Message
    • What is the client’s objective? What is the client asking to communicate more effectively?
    • What has client previously used to visually communicate? What do they seem to like? What has worked or failed before?
  • Audience
    • Will the content need to be tailored for a particular group, such as technical or medical professionals, young vs. older audiences, or will it be geared more for the general public?
  • Deliverables
    • What will Amerra be tasked with? We create: Video, Static Illustration, Interactive Media, Software, Website, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and 3D prints

Development Scope

  • Resource Identification
    • Understand what will be needed in terms of software, models, licenses, narration, technical writing, branding and style guides, fonts, legal disclaimers, reference materials and outsourced & rendering support
  • Point of Contact & Team Roles
    • Identifying primary client contact –  Preventing “design by committee”
    • Knowing everyone’s role in the project (from technical to administrative)
  • Amerra Development Team
    • Selection based on experience, familiarization, skill-sets. How many artists/developers are needed?
  • Development Schedule & Cost Determination
    • Content milestones established, along with check points and review periods in advance.
    • Amerra’s costs will be calculated after knowing all information (See Cost Determination)
    • Payment schedule is defined.
    • Amerra will submit development proposal for signature.

Technical Development

  • Finalize Written Storyboard
    • A more finalized outline to help firm desired screenplay
  • Narration Scripting & Recording and Other Audio Options
    • If the project requires professional narration, a script will need to be produced by the client. Amerra can offer several voice options, including international selections if necessary.  It is important to receive the script early in the development as it will determine timing for on-screen action.  A “scratch” audio track (a rough audio track produced in-house) can also be produced as a placeholder if client is not ready for final voice selection. Client may choose background audio track from Shockwave Sound, etc.
  • Graphic Storyboarding or Animatic Building
    • Once written storyboard and narration script are produced, Amerra will create a sketched graphic storyboard or very rough animatic (a low resolution animated preview) as a visual representation of the “blueprint” of the production. This stage allows all parties to make decisions on camera distance, object characteristics, timing, layouts for on-screen text, color selections and rough texture representation
  • Modeling & Texturing
    • Creation of 2D or 3D objects, refinement of how objects will appear in the final production
  • Animation
    • Adding life to objects by defining keyframes with information pertaining to position, rotation, scale and other physical modification of objects and effects
  • Rendering Preview
    • Low resolution video previews will be generated as samples for approval, prior to sending final files off for High resolution video.
  • Final Rendering
    • High resolution video output generated frame by frame. This step is often time-consuming and expensive (based on levels of realism and number of frames), thus we try to do this once.

Post Production

  • Media Compiling
    • Collecting rendered frames, video, audio, images, text and preparing it for editing
  • Editing
    • Putting the media together, trimming, adding transitions, and other visual effects, formatting it for preliminary output
  • Preliminary Output Internal/External User Testing & Feedback
    • Minor tweaks
  • Final Output
  • File Delivery – Amerra will upload final files to Basecamp and/or other directory

Good to knows

Tips that keep projects in-line and on-time

Effective Development Strategies

  • An understanding of the development schedule is essential for timely reviews because we don’t stop until the requirements are met
  • A single source of feedback is strengthens efficient production
  • If it’s on an 8mm film, we’ll review it and use it as reference for accuracy – we kind of appreciate reference material

Common Pitfalls

  • Scope creep (additions or changes made to project beyond original scope) can lead to missed deadlines and added costs
  • Extensive time periods between reviews
  • Multiple channels of feedback

Review Meetings

  • Upon initialization of a project, we’ll create a password‐protected project site in BaseCamp, which we use as our sharing umbrella (great for communication in one centralized area). For example, before all reviews, you’ll get notified about the latest content (graphic storyboards, animatic previews, high-resolution stills and more)
  • Once‐a‐week reviews facilitate accuracy throughout the development process
  • Typical reviews last 15-30 minutes based on the project life-cycle and we connect via GoToMeeting

Cost Determination

  • Time

    • How many hours/days/weeks to complete?
  • Complexity

    • How many of objects to create or acquire vs. objects that may exist in our library which can be reused?
    • What type of rigged character motions, textures, and realism are needed for your audience?
    • Rendering, the final graphic output, is a major variable and affects project cost.
  • Licensable or Exclusive

    • Licensable work is content Amerra develops & can resell to other clients.
    • Exclusive work cannot be resold & sole ownership belongs to the client.
  • Volume Development

    • The more you develop, the cost per project drops!