11 Characteristics of a good idea for a 3D animation

Idea generation for a 3D animation is the first step in the 3D animation pipeline and a creative process which involves a large number of people with different skills. On the other hand, animation studios produce hundreds of 3D animated videos for a variety of purposes. Therefore, a solid procedure needs to be in place in order to come up with great ideas each time.

3D animations are typically reduced to a single idea in people’s minds: an animation about love, friendship, toys, wildlife, etc. That’s why in Dream Farm Animation Studios, a mediocre idea will either be fixed or thrown away and replaced with an idea that works.

Are you curious to find out more about ideas “that work”? The good news is that there are certain characteristics among worthwhile 3D animation ideas which can do the magic. These are consistent qualities that can be applied to just about any 3D animation and be developed into a great story for your 3D animation. Defining these traits before the idea generation procedure, helps guide the process towards the best possible outcome.


What are the characteristics of a good idea for a 3D animation?

A good idea for a 3D animation:


1. Has a legitimate answer for the question “Why 3D animation?”

The final outcome of the idea generation phase is going to be a 3D animation. So, there needs to be something in your idea that requires unique characteristics of 3D animations, such as exaggeration, caricature, etc. If your idea can be produced easier, cheaper, faster and better in the form of a film, play, book or comic, why are you doing it with 3D animation? Take advantage of it, free your imagination and let it dream on.


2. Your idea should be likable

This one might sound trivial but it’s not. A likable idea is a whole lot easier to carry forward than an unlikable idea. Remember, we’re not talking about just you or your close friends; we are talking about the production team in the first place.


3. A good idea for a 3D animation is original and avoids clichés:

A worn-out concept, character, symbol or plot that has lost its originality can degrade your 3D animation idea to a significant extent. Generally speaking you should avoid clichés but just in case you choose to stick to your clichés anyway, at least you can find a way to make it look fresh. How? Move on to the next point.


4. It is either “different” or “better”

Your idea must be somewhat different from what has been done before. At least, it must offer a degree of improvement. Otherwise, it’s just an okay idea, or even a bad idea you don’t want to stick to.


5 .It is shareable

An idea that people are willing to share, is much more valuable than the otherwise. By thinking of this early, you can build in added features to make your idea more shareable.


6. It is cost-effective

The idea of a 3D animated video should not cost more than it can deliver. If all the energy put into creating a 3D animation is not going to pay off in terms of costs, resources and efforts, it’s not a good idea.


7. A good idea for 3D animation has memorable characters

Every successful 3D animation has at least one memorable character. Memorable characters are unique and accessible; something about their design and personality makes them special and irreplaceable. If you can swap your characters without affecting the story, your characters are not good enough. Removing the right characters from your story will bring the whole idea down.


8. It has a well-thought conflict

The challenge your main characters need to solve in order to achieve their goals shapes the narrative arc of the story and plays a huge role in retaining the audience. There are three basic types of conflict, make sure you have at least one:

  • Man against man
  • Man against nature
  • Man against himself


9. It has a thoughtful ending

Ending is a crucial part of your 3D animation idea. A well-thought ending must transform the character, the audience, or both. Sometimes the idea you are working on can be the ending itself.


10. It takes advantage of emotions

Action is the result of thought and emotion. Creating the events regardless of the emotional changes in the character meeting the conflicts is a flaw. It is how the character feels and reacts based on that feeling that retains the audience.


11. A good 3D animation idea is entertaining

Engaging the audiences visually, intellectually and emotionally will probably translate to entertainment. The idea for a 3D animated video must be entertaining so that the audience can experience your story. To do that, you have to keep the idea truthful and the characters believable.



People typically tend to reduce products like a 3D animation to a single idea. Although a lot of other factors are involved for a 3D animation to be successful, the role of a great idea should not be overlooked. A 3D animation idea can have numerous characteristics but certain traits can be interpreted as “powerful” and potentially prepare a 3D animation to hit a home run.

Professional 3D animation studios need to have a solid procedure in place for coming up with great ideas for their products. Defining the characteristics of a great idea before the idea generation phase of the 3D animation pipeline, helps guide the process towards a brilliant outcome.


4 thoughts on “11 Characteristics of a good idea for a 3D animation

  1. Christianne Dizon says:

    Great lists of good idea about the characteristics of 3D animation.

    First of all, thanks for sharing and I 100 percent agree on the lists. I just wanted to add this for feedback:

    A good animation show not only relies on one category. It requires, good story, cgi quality, voice actors/actresses, soundtrack or music and advertising.

    Great Plot is always the first thing important that must capture the hearts of the audiences. There are already tons of advance equipment and technology that can help us render the quality of the Animation, but for me the most important core of a good show is the story. Why and how? Because just like reading a book where you will mostly rely on imagination to do the works of visual appearance and movement, A good story is the one that will keep you reading it till the end.

    In Series or Films, Examples like Pixar’s Toy Story and DreamWorks’s Shrek, they were able to make the franchise successful because of great story progress and effects Quality Innovation.

    Here some examples: Exciting and opening introduction to characters, Relatable Conflict of characters, Good Phasing, Relationship of characters, Memorable and emotional dialogues, Mind blowing Climax, Solution of conflicts and Memorable ending whether the conflicts were solved or open ending.

    For the visual quality effects of 3D animation, it depends on the equipment and how can you make it realistic for physics, shading, lighting and colors of the details of characters and surroundings. The colors, lighting and shading must also match the tone of the story. If the story or scene is happy, the lighter and cheerful colors. If sad, darker and rainy weather can help. If chaotic, More red colors, dusty or explosion themes can be included.

    The tone of target audience is also important: if it’s children, Even if the character designs are cartoons and not realistic, it should be Memorable and friendly to the eyes of children.

    If the targets are teens or adults, then you can now add higher realism on details. On realism, Real actors were already effective and helpful to capture face and body movement.

    Finally, the soundtrack and music, it helps capturing the hearts of the audiences whether it’s cheerful, sad or chaotic. The more iconic and pleasant to the ears, the more memorable the show it gets.

    That’s all and thank you.

    • Payam Adib says:

      Wow! Thank you Christianne for your kind words and taking the time to write us your valuable comments; they are so helpful.

      As you pointed out, story is crucial; no 3D animation can manifest its full potential without a powerful story. Stories with certain qualities such as well-developed characters, well-designed conflicts, and satisfying conclusions can capture the hearts and minds of the audience. Coming up with such a story takes a huge part of the pre-production phase, but it’s definitely worth it.

      By the way, this article is solely dedicated to the “idea generation” stage of the 3D animation production pipeline and its specific considerations. All the 11 characteristics listed above refer to the “idea” that can eventually make a brilliant 3D animation. The good news is that I’ll keep producing similar content for other features including those you mentioned, and cover the full 3D animation pipeline step by step.
      So keep visiting us for more.

      Thank you again, please leave comments more often! 🙂

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