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  • Writer's pictureAvi Graiver

How to Create a Marketing Video: A Step-by-Step Guide with Different Production Techniques

Creating a marketing video is an effective way for companies to present their products or services to potential customers. The process of creating a marketing video can include different techniques, such as live filming, 2D animation, 3D animation or a combination of these methods. In this article we will go over the step by step process of creating a marketing video from scratch using these different techniques.

Step 1: Brief

Before starting any marketing video, it is important to write a clear brief, define the goals and the target audience and basically write everything possible to make it easier for the production company to understand the requirements. This will help guide the message, tone and style of the video. The goals can range from increasing brand awareness, increasing website traffic or generating leadsetc... The target audience should also be clearly defined, including demographics, interests and pain points. Cowboy Productions has a brief questionnaire with guiding questions that we send before every start of production.

Step 2: Choose the production method

After writing the brief, the next step is choosing the production method. The most common methods are live filming, 2D animation, 3D animation or a combination of these techniques.

Live filming includes filming real people, products or locations. This method is often used for service or product demonstrations that are important to illustrate how they work or look in reality, or the creative requires it such as basing on familiar presenters and the like. To create a live filming video, it will be necessary to hire a production team that includes a director, camera operator, lighting technicians, actors and the list can be very long depending on the production budget.

Two-dimensional animation includes the creation of animation from illustrations and graphics, there are several types of two-dimensional animation, the popular one today is called "MOTION GRAPHICS" in which the computer takes part in the animation, and there is Classic Animation in which an animator illustrates and animates frame after frame completely manually. 2D animation is often used for explainer videos, tutorial videos and can also be used for high-end promotional videos. To create a 2D animated video, you need a team of illustrators, animators and more...

3D animation involves creating 3D digital models and animating them using 3D software. This method is often used for product demonstrations, architectural renderings, or virtual reality experiences. To create a 3D animated video, a team of 3D artists will be needed which can include a long list of roles.

A combination of these techniques can create a unique video that combines the advantages of both live filming and animation.

Step 3: Pre-production

At this stage, the planning and preparation for the actual production begins. The pre-production process will vary depending on the production method chosen, whether it is 2D animation, 3D animation or live action filming. Let's take a closer look at each of these methods and their pre-production processes.

In the pre-production stage, whether in video production or animation, the script stage coincides with everyone:

Scriptwriting - here the creative, the story and the script for animation are developed. The script is the backbone of the animation and describes the plot, characters and dialogue in simple text.

Storyboard/animatic - After completing the script, the next step is to create a storyboard. The storyboard will include sketches of each scene and will show the camera angles, character movements and timings according to the director's instructions. This step gives a very good illustration of how the video will look in the end just in sketches. Animatic is an animated storyboard, with precise timings and sound.


Concept art - after finishing the storyboard (or at the same time), move on to design the general look-and-feel of the video. This is the stage where the visual language of the brand is taken into account and usually the design continues the design line of the brand.


Casting - after the script/storyboarding are finished, the next step is casting actors. Casting involves finding the right actors/extras for each role in the video.

Finding locations - the next step is to look for locations for filming. The location must be chosen according to the needs of the script and the budget.

Shooting list - the next step is creating a shooting list. The shooting list describes each shot that will be taken and the order of the shots.

Step 4: Production

After the pre-production process is completed, the actual production process can begin. The production process usually includes the following steps:


Design/Illustrations - The design and illustration phase in animation is a critical step in creating a visually engaging and captivating final product. This stage includes creating the look and style of the characters, environments and props that will be used in the animation.

In 2D animation, the design and illustration phase usually involves creating character model sheets, which are detailed illustrations showing different angles and expressions of the character. The model sheets serve as a reference for the animators to ensure consistency throughout the animation. The design and illustration phase also includes the creation of backgrounds, accessories and other elements that will be used in the animation. This is usually done using traditional art techniques or digital software such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

Modeling - after establishing the design, the modeler will begin to create a three-dimensional mesh, which is a digital representation of the object or figure. This is done using special software such as Maya, C4D, 3ds Max or Blender.

The process of creating a 3D mesh involves manipulating vertices, edges, and faces to create a detailed 3D model of the object or figure. The modeler will use different techniques similar to sculpting to create the desired shape.

After the modeling phase, the model will go to an artist who produces UV maps, which are two-dimensional representations of the surface of the three-dimensional model. These UV maps are used to apply textures and materials to the 3D model.

After the UV stage, the models are moved to the texture and shading stage, where materials and textures are applied to the models to create the desired final look.

Rigging - The rigging stage in 2D and 3D animation involves creating a skeletal structure for the characters that will allow the animators to manipulate them in a way that looks natural and realistic.

In 2D animation, rigging is usually a simpler process than in 3D animation. The process involves dividing the figure into different parts, such as arms, legs and torso, and then creating pivot points at the joints to allow movement. This is usually done using vector-based software such as Adobe Animate or Toon Boom Harmony.

In 3D animation, rigging is a more complex process that involves creating a digital skeleton linked to the character model. This skeleton is made up of joints and bones that are linked together to create a hierarchy of movement. The rigging process also includes creating controls for the character's movements, such as sliders or buttons, which animators can use to manipulate the character's movements in a natural and intuitive way.

Layout - In 3D animation, the layout stage involves creating a virtual set that the characters will interact with. This includes creating a virtual environment that includes all the objects, props and characters that will be included in the scene. The layout artist will place the cameras and lights within the virtual set to determine the composition and camera angles for the scene. Once the camera angles and composition are determined, the characters are placed within the scene.

Dubbing/Narration – During the narration phase, the narrators record their text for the characters or narration. The recording is usually done in a professional recording studio, and the actors are managed by the sound director. The voice acting is critical to the success of the animation as it brings the characters and narration to life.

Animation - the animation phase in 2D and 3D animation productions includes bringing the characters and objects to life by creating movement and action.

In "classic" 2D animation, animators usually create a series of hand-drawn illustrations, known as keyframes, that describe the main movements of the characters or objects. These keyframes are then used as a guide for the frames between the keyframes (IN-BETWEENS), which are the additional drawings needed to create the smooth movement between the keyframes. In MOTION GRAPHICS animation, on the other hand, the computer helps to complete the movement automatically and there is no need to work on each and every frame and therefore it is cheaper.

In 3D animation, animators use the rig system to manipulate the digital model and create movement. The animation process includes creating keyframes, similar to 2D animation, but with the added ability to manipulate the model in 3D space. This allows more control over the movement of the character or object.

During the animation phase, the animators will work closely with the director and other members of the production team to ensure that the movement and action of the characters match the story and style of the animation. The animation stage is a critical stage in the production process, as it brings the characters and objects to life and sets the tone and mood for the final product.

Lighting – After the 3D animation is complete, the next step is to add lighting to the scene. Lighting helps set the mood and tone of the scene and give it the desired atmosphere and beauty in light and shadow.

Rendering - After the lighting is finished, the next step is to render the scene. Rendering is the process of converting the digital data into a video file or image sequence.


Setup - The first step in live action filming is setting up the cameras, lighting and sound equipment. This process is based on the shot list and storyboard.

Shooting - after the set is completed, you can start shooting. Each shot is shot based on the shot list and storyboard.

Step 5: Post Production

Composition/Editing – After rendering all the scenes or finishing the shots, the next step is to put them together. Composition or editing includes choosing the best shots and arranging them in the right order, combining the scenes and adding special effects.

Color Grading - After editing the footage/renderings, the next step is to color grade the video. Color grading involves adjusting the colors and contrast of the photographs to create a consistent look.

Sound Design - Sound design includes adding music, sound effects and dialogue to a video and it is done by a professional sound designer.


Creating a marketing video from scratch involves a variety of steps and processes, from pre-production to production. The specific workflow and pipeline will depend on the production method chosen, whether it is 2D animation, 3D animation, live action filming or a combination of these methods. However, regardless of the production method chosen, a successful marketing video will require careful planning.

For the production of a professional marketing video, you are invited to talk to us, at Cowboy Productions.

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