How to Create An Explainer Video

I have recently joined the staff of Torch7, and this is one of the most exciting learning processes I’ve been through in a while. Creating an animated explainer video was a bit of a learning curve, there were days where the computer and I were at odds, where my eyes were straining, and days where I couldn’t believe how quickly time flew by. This article is going to focus on the technical side of the process, for a broader overview of what to expect from Torch7 check out our 7 step process to creating epic videos.

First Stage – Video Concept Meeting

We start with a concept meeting. The Client, our Production Director, and Marketing Scriptwriter sit down to come up with the idea.  As a team we create a storyboard, build a script, and get the plan together.


Team annotations help create the best script for your video.

Now, back to the drawing board!

Literally, we take a few photos and send them off to our illustrator/cartoonist who creates a drawing of you.

 Explainer Video Mock Up

Pretty soon you’ll have a cartoonified you.

 Explainer Video Multi Directional Mock Up

Once it’s approved he colors it in and give us different views.

Character Rigging

Once we have the fully fleshed out character, we start a process called Character Rigging.  This is when you pull the Adobe Illustrator file into Adobe After Effects and using a supplementary script to turn the image into a puppet.

Nyssa Illustrator for Explainer Video

 Explainer Video - Whoops

The results aren’t always perfect

Making them Move

From here we create a walk cycle.  Frame by frame we set anchor points called keyframes, that tell the program where each extremity is supposed to be at what time. You have to take into account weight shifts, how one’s hands move in reference to their feet, or where should the shoulders be positioned in reference to the hips.

 Explainer Video Walk Cycle

Finishing it Off

Finally, we fill in backgrounds and create scenes.We can change the lighting, adjust speed, add audio, and more.  Once we finish each clip, we’ll render the video together and give you a final viewing before it’s published.

Regardless of animation style, the basic process is the same.  The more detailed the scene, the longer and more intensive the animation process. Disney Pixar is famous for the detail they put into their pieces. They have designed entire programs to animate the fur of a character, which can have millions of individual hairs that need to move independently. Their production costs also run into the thousands of dollars per hour. Conversely the simpler the animation, the shorter the process. A static background image of trees in a park or a live action video of a park with animation overlaid can save hours of time animating a moving animation in the background. Similarly, Characters with one flat image are considerably simpler than 3D characters.

So why Explainer Videos? An Explainer Video is a short marketing video explaining your companies services, which is a great opportunity to wow potential clients.

You can use it to showcase your portfolio, as a customer testimonial, or a fun How-To.

It’s a great base to build your marketing around or to compliment what you already have.

Check out the final video below!

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