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May 1, 2023

In today’s digital era, outsourcing 3D animation services has become a popular trend in the entertainment and gaming industries. With advancements in technology and the increasing demand for quality 3D animation, outsourcing has become an effective way for companies to save time, resources and improve the quality of their products. However, the outsourcing process requires a thorough understanding of both the client-side and vendor-side processes to be effective.

Let’s look at the process from the client perspective first. Regardless of the client’s industry, these processes and tips are relevant to everyone wishing to outsource 3d animation.

What the client should do?

1. Review portfolio.

The client has to take a close look at the vendors’ previous projects to ensure they have experience working on projects similar to the ones of the client.

Does this animation studio have a certain focus/style? For example, if the client’s project requires a cartoonish style, he needs to ensure the vendor has experience working in that style

2. Think of the animation vendor location.

This is very important to ensure communication is smooth and time zone differences are minimal.

For instance, a game studio in the US outsourcing animation to a vendor in India could face communication challenges due to time zone differences. Both parties must find ways to ensure smooth communication and collaboration to avoid delays or misunderstandings.

3. Reviews/references checks.

The client has to look for reviews or references from past clients to get an idea of the vendor’s reputation and quality of work.

The first destination to check is obviously the vendor’s website: many animation studios will have testimonials or case studies on their websites that showcase their past work and client feedback.

Another important venue are online directories. There are several of them that feature reviews and ratings for animation vendors, such as Clutch.coUpCity, and GoodFirms.

Finally, check personal recommendations of vendor’s management team on social media platforms. LinkedIn is an great tool for this. It allows clients to view the work history, education, and skills of the vendor’s management team, as well as read personal recommendations from former clients or colleagues. This helps clients make informed decisions when selecting an animation vendor and provides an added layer of confidence in their choice.

4. Direct and specific communications.

To avoid misunderstandings and ensure the animation vendor can meet client’s needs, he needs to be specific about all requirements from the outset. This includes specifying a capabilities and tools to ensure they are a good match for the project.

Additionally, understanding the vendor’s quality assurance process is key to ensuring a successful project outcome.

5. Detailed breakdown.

The client has to ask for a detailed breakdown of the project timeline, including pre-production, production, and post-production. This will ensure that both parties are on the same page about deliverables and deadlines, and will help prevent any surprises down the line.

6. Quality assurance and revision.

Quality assurance policies define how the 3d animation studio ensures the quality of the animation delivered.

Revision policies should detail the number of revisions included in the contract and what constitutes an additional revision.

7. Legal aspects.

Clients should review the payment schedule and milestones provided by the animation studio before signing a contract and ensure that these milestones are tied to payment.

It is also important to ensure that the contract clearly outlines the ownership of intellectual property rights.

Intellectual property rights should be transferred to the client once the project is completed, and payment has been received. This will prevent any future disputes regarding ownership.

Clients should verify that the animation studio has a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in place. The NDA will ensure that the client’s confidential information remains confidential and secure throughout the project’s duration.

What about the animation studio itself? What animation vendors should consider when onboarding a new animation project? Regardless of whether you are on the client or vendor side, understanding both sides is important. So, keep reading to learn about the essentials.

What the vendor should do?

1. Research client's background and history.

For example, if the vendor is working with a game studio, it should research their previous games to get an understanding of the target audience and the style of the game.

2. Determine client's project goals and objectives.

Understand what the client hopes to achieve with the project and what the end result should look like.

3. Prepare relevant examples of previous work.

If the client is looking for a specific style of animation, the vendor should prepare examples of similar projects to show the client that he has the necessary experience.

4. Prepare a list of questions for the client.

The vendor should ask the client about the project requirements, expectations, deadlines, and any specific requests they may have.

5. Be honest about the team and capabilities.

Being transparent about the capabilities of the animation team will ensure that the project is not overpromised and underdelivered. The vendor should be upfront about any limitations, as well as any strengths that can be leveraged to achieve the best outcome.

6. Don’t try to sell on the first call.

Rather than trying to sell the client on the first call, the vendor should be focusing on providing value by suggesting how the client can reduce costs of the project. Offering solutions to reduce production costs can help the client see the benefits of working with the animation vendor.

7. Show the competences.

The vendor needs to describe the typical workflow and how it aligns with the client’s project. This will demonstrate the competence and provide insight into how the project will be managed. 

8. Set realistic timelines.

Be realistic about timelines and provide clear milestones for the project. This will help manage expectations and ensure that both parties are on the same page regarding deliverables and deadlines.

9. Communicate regularly with the client.

Communication is key to ensure that the client is happy with the progress of the project and that any issues or concerns are addressed promptly. The vendor should provide regular updates to the client on the project’s status and seek feedback to ensure that the project is meeting the client’s expectations. For example, if the client requests a specific animation style or color scheme, the vendor should communicate any challenges or limitations and propose alternative solutions if necessary.

In conclusion, when outsourcing 3D, it’s crucial to choose the right animation vendor and sign an appropriate contract that outlines all expectations and requirements. Both clients and 3D animation vendors need to be diligent in their research and communication to ensure a successful partnership. By following the guidelines discussed in this article, both parties can work together to create high-quality 3D animations that meet or exceed expectations.

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