Transforming statics into dynamics is always a spellbinding action. After all, starting from the first movement, it is no longer possible to predict what will happen next: what remains is to watch.
From hand-drawn legendary projects of the last century to cutting-edge CGI technologies, animation invariably attracts our attention with its liveliness, spontaneity and proximity to reality. The most vivid animated characters and stories remain in our memory for many years, charming and leaving an unforgettable emotional aftertaste.
But let’s put aside lyrical conversations: the reason wherefore we have met here is more specific.
So, you are looking for a decent 3d animation studio that will not only take on your project, but also whip it into shape and bring it to the forefront of the animation space. You are in the right place: we are ready to show you the right path and provide you with all the necessary knowledge to choose an animation excellent contractor. Moreover, we have a fresh list of top 3D animation companies that will not cost you a fortune, but whose talents and trend-ahead approach are definitely worth giving a shot. Well, let’s dive in!
Digital, interactive, VR … Where else will the twisted classification of 3D animation types take us?Learn more
Choosing a Decent 3D Animation Studio: Nuts and Bolts
When it comes to 3D animation, you need to be prepared for extensive analytical work. Look at the right balance of skill and creativity alone: very often it tends to one side to the detriment of the other. Think for yourself: excellent technically savvy teams who do not have a creative flair and do not have a good eye for artistic direction are unlikely to be able to demonstrate a result that satisfies you. And given the high cost of 3D animation compared to 2D or motion graphics, trial and error is definitely not the best method. And in the context of a limited budget (which is the most likely option), there can only be one attempt. After we scare and frustrate you, it makes sense to let you relax. Grab the key tips that will help you tune in to the analytical mood and choose a decent studio.
1. Look at portfolio for longer than 10 seconds
The first insider tip boils down to the need to be careful and thoughtful as opposed to quickly glancing over the pages of interest to you.
Studying a portfolio is, of course, the first thing. Here everything happens according to the principle of window dressing: you see the best and brightest works according to the studio, reflecting its expertise and creativity. The company can show animation both in isolated form and integrated into the game for which it was made.
But just running eyes over previous projects is not enough. See how they correlate with your current request, how they meet the quality requirements, how well the main idea is conveyed. Evaluate the animation with the viewer’s eye – is the video moving smoothly? Are there any rough edges that spoil the perception and overall impression?
To understand all this, you need to spend some time examining the portfolio of the studio. An excellent option would be to request more information from the company from the area of 3D animation that interests you. Perhaps they have something else to show. For example, a cool showreel of 3D animation projects.
Remember, the more completed projects a company has, the more impressive its experience appears, which is of paramount importance for choosing a 3D animation studio. This is also a good sign from the point of view of potential cooperation, as you can already judge how many other clients have chosen this studio.
Approach this task creatively, be open to artistic perception and appreciation of aesthetic combinations. In the next stages, everything will be much more mundane and rational.
2. Ask about the tools used
The software that the company uses to create 3D animation is very important since it directly affects the quality. The best option is to use Autodesk tools like Maya or 3ds Max. It is an industry standard that guarantees high-quality animation. However, the cost of this software is quite high and not everyone wants to shell out.
Using free or cheap software can have a negative impact on the result. In addition, their functionality is much poorer and does not allow animators to customize programs to suit their needs.
3. Clarify the styles in which the company operates
There are two main stylistic directions in which animators work – cartoon and realistic. At the same time, they can be standard or custom, that is, fully designed and implemented according to the individual order of the client. If you are interested in standard animation, then it is enough to make sure that the team has already worked in this style looking at portfolio. If you need custom animation, be sure to ask the company if they can provide such a service.
4. Request information on team composition
Before starting cooperation, you need to understand who will work on your project and and how the team is formed. Perhaps the company has a static set of specialists for creating animation, or it can customize their selection depending on the task. It’s great if the animation company has separate experts for different types of animation. The optimal option if the composition of the team is described down to the smallest detail of the responsibilities of each member.
For example, our team for creating 3D animation looks like this:
5. Learn more about processes and communications
Each studio has internal schemes of work and building communications. It is important for you to understand how well it all works and how the control over the working ports is released. You can ask the following questions:
- How does communication work?
- Is it possible to change the composition of the team?
- How often do approvals and feedback sessions occur?
- What principles and standards does the team follow?
- How is the quality assessment carried out?
At Kevuru Games, we can distinguish the following procedural features:
- Advanced project management. Each project is assigned to a separate project manager, who ensures timely communication with clients and the exchange of all necessary information between them and the team. Each project also has its own account manager who additionally controls the fulfillment of all the company’s responsibilities to each client.
- Full supervision of the project life cycle. Thanks to double control, the team works as an autonomous system and does not need additional control from the client. We provide planning, estimates, assignment of tasks to performers, ideas for optimizing work and improving the project.
- High capacity recruiting model. The client can change the direction of work at any time, and if we do not have the necessary in-house specialists, then we undertake to find and hire them for this project at the appropriate time in the required quantities.
- Strong internal control. All artists up to senior specialists are supervised and checked by the art director, who guarantees the impeccable quality of work in accordance with the wishes and needs of the client.
- Flexible team selection model. We form a team depending on the characteristics of the project. We have dedicated specialists for realistic and stylized types of animation who are best guided by their specifics and can represent them in accordance with the highest standards and current trends.
- Effective project development methodology. We work according to the Scrum method. On a weekly call, the team gives a report to the client about the work done for the sprint, accepts changes and talks about further plans. Thanks to this, the work proceeds consistently and smoothly, the client sees all intermediate results and has complete control over the process.
6. Read reviews from real customers
Real clients are not a slip of the tongue or even a certain prioritizing adjective. This means reality, existence in nature – oddly enough, but everything is simple.
But the fact is that, unfortunately, there is the practice of falsifying reviews in the name of a perfect company image. They are ordered from third parties or written by company employees themselves. Some statistics: according to BrightLocal research, 82% of consumers have encountered fake reviews over the past year. And although circumstances often try to convince us that everything in this world is bought and sold, let’s not lose heart and get down to business. More precisely, to the recognition of fake reviews.
Here is a small but essentially powerful list of signs of a fake testimonial:
- A similar writing style for several reviews in a row. Text style, characteristic phrases, presentation, word order – if you had any doubts when reading the second review, then most likely there is more in it than meets the eye. Pay attention to excessive artistry, an abundance of comparisons and metaphors, this is also not typical for real reviews. After all, they are written by customer representatives, not writers.
- General phrases and lack of specificity. “Great job, keep it up!” – it is a standard option for evaluating work on platforms like ArtStation or Behance, but not for the testimonials section on the 3D animation studio website. Even if the real client initially preferred discouraging brevity, the company would most likely have insisted on more detailed comments for the site.
- Feedback from a non-existent company. It’s an amazingly impudent trick, but quite real. There is an immense number of companies in the world, and not everyone will go to Google to check another name that conveys little to you. It is unlikely that the studio will allow itself an invented review on behalf of famous giants: it can get caught red-handed on this. But to come up with an imaginary client and write an enthusiastic comment – why not.
An honest review always includes the client’s company and the name and title of the person providing the feedback. Such a presentation shows that the company has nothing to hide: you can check if the person who wrote the review exists and, if necessary, even contact him or her.
And one more thing: check out additional sites that may contain reviews about the company and where it’s more difficult to fake them. This may be Clutch, The Manifest, DesignRush and others. Methodically study all feedback information about the company that you can reach. And with the possibilities of the Internet, you can reach almost anything, you know.
7. Seek passion for animation
No matter how trivial and anti-technical this tip may look, do not rush to roll your eyes. Enthusiasm is the main driving force of any project, especially a creative one, which can be achieved only with a sincere, genuine passion for craft.
The most memorable authentic things are created by people who love what they do. The ideal team of the animation studio you are looking for is active motivated artists who believe in themselves and their skills, grasp the idea of the project on the wing and are perfectly tuned for team work. And this is not a utopian picture, such teams exist.
Try to make sure that the studio you have chosen is burning with the desire to bring your project to life, and not sluggishly considers it as plus one in the portfolio. The recommendation sounds rather vague, but there is no formula for determining the presence of passion, this can only be understood on an intuitive level. Do not be afraid, you will definitely feel whether enthusiasm exudes from the team: this is partially visible from the portfolio, the questions that they ask you, the presence of counter offers and suggestions.
Ten Years on the Market vs One-Year-Old Novice
Very often the question arises who better to turn to: a seasoned animation industry veteran with an impressive number of years of professional experience, or a promising newcomer whose fuse is still in full swing. The question is reasonable and there is something to reflect on. However, for the most part, all reflections are likely to converge on the analysis of the three points indicated above.
Most likely, considering a portfolio, customers and passion, a novice will show the best results in terms of the latter. This is the most obvious option, because the studio needs to expand its portfolio and attract customers, which is possible only by its enthusiasm. For the time being.
The sadness of the situation is that passion, even for a beginner, is not at all a predetermined condition. It is possible that the guys came to the market just to make quick money – after all, animation requires large resources and therefore is an expensive pleasure – and they are not very interested in the idea, mission, goals, and even their image as such.
On the other hand, a hard-boiled old-timer with an immense portfolio and well-known clients who have collaborated with them once (the uncertainty of the time frame is important here) can also either retain its enthusiasm for the next anniversary or lose it along the way.
Thus, we observe a double-edged sword. That is why, at the very beginning, we talked about the need to find a reasonable balance of skills and creativity. Of course, years of professional experience are an indisputable trump card in the aspect of mastery improvement. But they should not be a decisive factor in your final choice of the best professional 3D product animation studio. Choose it guided by a set of criteria, and if they are all equally balanced, then everything will work out.
5 Top Picks of 2020: The Best 3D Animation Companies to Hire
Well, now it’s time to move on to our super bonus: a magical list of cool 3D animation companies, experts of reasonable price-quality ratio and gurus of putting a wide variety of ideas into effect.
Year founded: 2018
Pixune calls itself a combination of gaming and 3D animation studio. 12 of its 18 animation projects received prizes in various categories. A small but enthusiastic Polish team follows all modern gaming and animation trends, keeping pace with the times and all the current achievements of the industry. Despite its young age, the studio has already managed to work with many clients and create an impressive portfolio.
Year founded: 2007
This is an experienced Indian studio providing a wide range of gaming services, including 3D animation. Thanks to a large team and experience, Zatun managed to work on 3D animation of characters, vehicles, various objects and the environment – you can find a lot of things in their portfolio. At the same time, prices remain very attractive and affordable, and the quality pleasantly surprises.
Year founded: 2011
The Spanish company Starloop is very fond of bright colors and prefers a creative approach to all tasks – this corresponds to the temperament and worldview of its founders. In 3D animation, it specializes in characters: breathing life into wandering knights, robots, military and athletes, the Starloop animation team invests a piece of itself in each project, making the result lively and juicy.
Year founded: 2013
A confident player in the web development market, iByte Infomatics invites you to pay attention to its 3D animation skills. They have the necessary resources and capabilities to create 3D animations of various types for a wide variety of industries, not limited solely to gaming. At the same time, their 3D game animation is at a high level, because they always clearly follow the wishes of customers and focus on the goal that needs to be achieved.
Year founded: 2012
This is a Ukrainian company, proving that it is possible and necessary to create beyond the limits. Engaged in game development and game art production for 8 years, Kevuru Games is well-versed in 3D animation: its portfolio includes many projects related to the most difficult kind of this direction – 3D character animation. The creative essence in combination with technical skill allowed the studio to gain the trust of such giants of the gaming industry as EA, Epic Games and FoxNext.
The Best 3D Animation Services Close at Hand
Each animation project is a separate and unique story, which should have a colorful visual interpretation that displays all its details and nuances. Anyone who sees only the technical specification, who has long forgotten the words “initiative” and “enthusiasm”, who follows only a clearly defined plan and indifferently presents the result to the client will not be able to become a good animation storyteller.
At Kevuru Games, we used to be based on stories. This helps to achieve results that significantly exceed customer expectations and remain in the memory for a long time. This is our mission and we are pleased to have succeeded in achieving this level. You can look through our portfolio and, of course, feel free to drop us a line about your project – we will be happy to delve into it and share with you our thoughts, initial estimations and counter offers.