How to Create the Perfect Character for Your Animated Ad: Thrive Ice Cream
Thrive is a natural ice cream that combines enhanced nutrition and delicious taste. It helps hospital dietitians create nutritious meals for their recovering patients. The video we created for Thrive Ice Cream was designed by Stella and she has shared valuable insights from her process of creating an awesome character animation.
Defining the Audience
The first step in creating the perfect character is understanding your audience. Who are you trying to reach with your animated explainer video?
We strived to make the characters in the Thrive video as accurate and relatable to the target audience as possible. To do that, we needed to get to know that audience in detail – what they do for a living, their age range, gender, race, nationality, and so on.
This is why at the initial stage of the process, we had an in-depth conversation with Thrive’s CEO and the lead of their sales team. They told us that their main target is in-hospital dietitians and that most of them are millennial women. As the company is based and operates in the US, it was obvious that the target audience is also Americans. The Thrive team also gave us a brief list of their target audience’s day-to-day tasks and challenges, as well as their biggest pain points.
Determining the Character's Personality
Next up, it’s time to give your character a personality.
Based on the information we’d gathered about Trive’s target audience, our designer Stella started searching for references. To make it as realistic and as relatable as possible, she wanted to find real people from the target audience on which to base her character.
To add depth to her Stella also thought of a backstory. What was their family, background, tastes, and hobbies? What motivated them? What were their goals and challenges? This would help her build a well-rounded character that would be more engaging and memorable.
Creating the Visual Design
Visual design is crucial. Your character’s appearance should match their personality and the message of your video. Keep in mind their branding, too.
For the Thrive video, Stella wanted her character to fit the overall color scheme and tone. She wanted the colors to be calming and peaceful to avoid the negative feelings often associated with hospitals.
In terms of clothing, the dietitian character had to wear a scrub or a white coat, as well as a nametag. The name tag is not only a necessary addition to any hospital uniform but in our case it served an additional purpose. Giving a name to our character Sarah humanized her and made her more relatable.
Remember, simplicity is key, especially for explainer videos. Your character should be easy to recognize and understand at a glance. Avoid clutter and unnecessary details.
To make your character dynamic, focus on expressive features. Emphasize their facial expressions and body language. This will help convey emotions and messages effectively.
Testing Your Character
Before finalizing your character, test them in a storyboard. Ensure they fit seamlessly into the narrative and that their design doesn’t distract from the message.
As with all her projects, Stella was never afraid to ask the team for feedback on the character. Of course, the client had the final say.
Thanks to her in-depth preliminary research Stella had a very clear concept of what her designs would look like. This helped her come up with the perfect character for the video quickly and with almost no revisions.
Adding Supporting Character and Extras
Projects like this usually need supporting characters to tell the story in the best possible way. In our case, the supporting character was the patient Michael.
Although Michael didn’t represent the target audience directly, he would in fact be the end consumer of the product. Basically, the supporting character is the reason why the main character would consider the product in the first place.
Michael’s other role was to increase Sarah’s relatability by establishing a patient-doctor dynamic. Stella decided that the patient’s character should be an older, more conservative-looking gentleman. By featuring a patient who was less adaptable and willing to experiment, the video implied that if Michael liked Thrive’s product anyone would.
To show that the ice cream is great for everyone, Stella included scenes with more characters – extras. She wanted to make each of them as distinctive and different from the others as possible to enforce the idea that the product can be consumed by a wide range of people.
And there you have it, folks – the recipe for creating the perfect character for your animated explainer video.
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