It is the step in which ideas, plans and other creative developing happens before the production begins.
Script or scenario is the written plan of the animation story which provides info regarding the story flow, character, scenes and actions needed to be depicted through the video.
It is illustrations and images in sequence according to the script for giving guide and preview to the executive team and animator. It also helps the team know about camera angles and scene layouts.
Environments are the scenes in which the story takes place such as rooms, parks, streets and etc.
Based on the script and character description, a rough sketch of the characters would be drawn. Then after revising the sketch and developing the characters specifications a more final version called 2D concept would be developed.
Story Reel/animatic is the storyboard with voice over/sound track synchronized to it. It helps animators and directors to figure out if there are timing disorders with voice over/sound and storyboard before getting started with animation so they would fix it.
In general all phases of modeling characters and environments, designing texture for them, rigging characters and then animating them or in other words producing the animation out of raw material developed in post-production step consists the production.
Afterwards the 3D artist models the concept using software tools like Maya or 3ds Max.
Now the material for character’s skin and clothes surfaces are set and defined. This step is called texture design.
Having the storyboard, characters and environments ready, the production supervisor will set the objects, characters and camera in the scene (environment) which is called scene layout.
Rig & Facial Setup
Finally the rig artist creates a skeleton for the model so that it can move. This includes movements of body parts like hands, feet and face components. In the other word without rig setup, the character would be just a motionless and static object.
Now it is time to animate! With having script, storyboard, 3D characters and environments ready, the animator vivifies and animates the story and crates the animation.
Light & Render
3D rendering is the automatic 3D computer graphics process where the render artist comes to action and gives color and light to the models and environments of a scene. Rendering is the final step of the animation process.
As the final step, this includes exporting the scenes/frames and then editing and integrating them with video editing software. Also sound and some other required effects are added to the video in this phase.