Necessity is the mother of animation.

As video content continues to outperform other kinds of marketing content (see Forbes, HubSpot, and VidYard), businesses face a familiar financial dilemma: how to stretch those marketing dollars to pay for yet another channel and, in this case, how to create content-worthy video without paying Hollywood prices. While at Identigene, I solved this problem by making the videos myself.

I started by searching online for “video animation tutorials”, but quickly realized that what I really wanted (cool Pixar hacks notwithstanding) was “motion graphics”. True film content requires great camerawork, actors, locations, lighting, sound—the works. But motion graphics is basically animating illustrations, still photos, and text to convey a message. There are quite a few good tutorials for motion graphics, but Mt. MoGraph easily wins my vote for best-in-class (clever name, too). After a few hours (okay, maybe days) I felt ready to dive in.

The ani-motion process.

We (my graphic designer and I) found some basic stock illustrations we wanted to use—stick figures (mostly) and similarly basic objects like buildings, envelopes, a mail truck, and a DNA test kit (okay, so the last one’s not so basic and we had to create the art ourselves). Then I planned a storyboard for the animation and broke the objects into the needed pieces. Using Adobe After Effects and Premiere, I animated it all together. At the same time, we (my content writer and I) developed a script and recorded the audio (including some stock music we purchased online).

The final result included two videos for the Identigene DNA Paternity Test available at retail stores nationwide. We used the video online (our site and retailer sites) and as broadcast-quality commercials for Video On-Demand channels like Fox, Oxygen, BET, and Hulu—earning more than 100 million impressions from 2014-2016.

Some of my colleagues say that taking a DIY approach was brave. I guess my pre-existing philia (it’s practically clinical) with film, music, and storytelling, helped me overcome any potential phobia about creating video content to use online (not so scary) and in broadcast (somewhat terrifying). Or, perhaps the fun simply distracted me from the fear. Either way, I discovered a new interest to add to my list. Now, I seize any opportunity to use my MoGraph skills.