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Oliver Karstel Agency / All Articles  / Animation studios Johannesburg: A guide
animation studios johannesburg

Animation studios Johannesburg: A guide

Animation as a content medium has grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade. With these new developments comes a lower barrier to entry for animation production, which also means there are more animation suppliers than ever before. Particularly in the most competitive market in South Africa, animation studios Johannesburg are popping up at a massive rate. Now more than ever it is vital you understand what to look for your next animation content campaign, mainly because once you start working with an animation studio there are so many benefits to staying with that supplier. From easier production to optimised resource use and every element of project management in between. Working with an animation studio in Johannesburg on multiple projects also allows for better communication and collaboration, streamlining the entire animation production process from start to finish, which includes your deadlines. With Animation production every step adds potential challenges so working with the same studio reduces the risks involved in content production. Before we unpack this topic further let us have a look at the history of animation for better context:

animation studios Johannesburg

The History of Animation Production

Animation production has a rich history dating back to the early 1900s. The first animated film ever made was created by French artist Émile Cohl in 1908, using a technique known as stop-motion animation. In 1914, Winsor McCay created the first animated film using hand-drawn animation techniques with his film “Gertie the Dinosaur.” Both of these productions had to be hand-crafted frame-by-frame, which is a painstaking and time-consuming process.

Over the years, animation techniques evolved, with improvements in technology contributing greatly to the development of the medium. In the 1920s, Walt Disney and his team introduced synchronised sound to animation with the release of “Steamboat Willie” in 1928, featuring the iconic character Mickey Mouse. Disney went on to create many more beloved animated films, using a combination of hand-drawn animation techniques and later, computer-generated animation. All of which had massive budgets tied to the projects, meaning Animation was only really accessible in the mainstream of media.

In the 1990s, the rise of computer technology revolutionised animation production with the introduction of digital animation techniques. Pixar’s “Toy Story” was the first feature-length film created entirely through the use of computer-generated animation in 1995, paving the way for other successful digital animated films such as “Shrek,” “Finding Nemo,” and “The Incredibles.” It was also during this time that animation started increasing in accessibility as was evident in the increased numbers of animation films.

Today, animation production continues to evolve, with new techniques, software and technologies emerging constantly. This includes advancements in 3D animation, virtual reality, motion graphics and AI which have expanded the possibilities of the medium.

animation studios Johannesburg

Finding an Animation studio in Johannesburg

As we touched on earlier, with increases in technology, content mediums become more accessible resulting in more providers which further emphasises the importance of finding the right Animation studio for your animation production.
Here are some tips to help you find the right supplier for your content campaigns:

Look at their portfolio: A good animation studio should have a portfolio that showcases their past work. Look at their website or ask to see examples of their work. This will give you an idea of their style and quality of work. Also consider their older projects to get an idea of their experience. Creativity is directly related to the experience of the animation studio as each project presents unique challenges to overcome.

Check their experience: Make sure the animation studio in Johannesburg has experience creating the type of animation you need. If you need a 2D animation, look for a studio with experience in creating 2D animations. There are multiple forms of 2D animation, ranging from character animation to Whiteboard, make sure they have experience in each available medium as each represents a different tool to solve creative problems with.

Discuss timelines and budgets: Make sure the studio can work within your budget and timeline. Be clear about your expectations and deadlines. Once again, experience is key here. See, there are so many different elements to consider in animation production that you can really stretch your budget by being creative. Production value plays an important part in how the viewer perceives your content, but increasing your production value is not the only way to go about solving this issue. The importance of experience also really applies to sticking to timelines, as an experienced animation studio in Johannesburg will have a streamlined animation production process and plan for the project which results in much faster turnarounds. I mean, if you are juggling multiple projects at a time, you will get very good at completing them quicker.

Consider their team: Find out who will be working on your project. Make sure the team is experienced and has the skills necessary to create the type of animation you need. Also consider their facilities, as each element of the project that must be outsourced is going to cost you extra. Ideally you want a bespoke service where every element is designed and developed in-house. From the script through to the voice-over, and let us not forget the distribution strategy. These days your distribution strategy directly impacts your production process. This means if your animation studio in Johannesburg does not have marketing experience your content will not perform optimally.

Ask for references: Reach out to past clients and ask about their experience working with the studio. This will give you an idea of their professionalism and the quality of their work. Also ask for SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) and project plans, as they provide an overview of the animation studio’s production process and project management skills. An SLA is also a great indicator of customer service.

Communication is key: Choose a studio that communicates clearly and frequently. You want to work with a team that is responsive and keeps you updated on the progress of your project. Once again, look at project plans and SLA’s to gauge the frequency of communication and how the animation studio in Johannesburg facilitates client feedback. Keep in mind that every animation production is really a collaborative effort between animation experts and organisational experts, which means communication and collaboration is vital for the production of a truly personalised content production.

Working with Animation studios in Johannesburg

You’ve made your choice – a Johannesburg animation studio will be the vehicle to drive your creative vision to fruition. Now comes the task of understanding and navigating the complex process of animation production. This journey is a cooperative effort, calling for transparent communication, strategic planning, and shared commitment to the project’s objectives. Let’s break down the crucial stages that will see your innovative ideas transform into compelling animation:

animation studios Johannesburg

Initial Project Discussion

Start by holding a thorough discussion about your project. Share your creative vision, the message you wish to communicate, your target audience, and your expected deliverables. Remember, it’s essential to be as detailed as possible. The more information the studio has, the better they can align their skills and resources to meet your needs.

Concept Development and Storyboarding

Once the project’s parameters are set, the animation studio will start working on concept development. This stage typically includes character design, environment creation, and storyboard development. Review these carefully and provide feedback to ensure the final product aligns with your vision.

Budget and Timeline Establishment

Animation can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. It’s vital to discuss your budget and timeline upfront to ensure the studio can deliver within your constraints. A detailed budget will also help you understand where your money is being spent. The timeline should include all the stages of the animation process, from conceptualisation to final production.


With the storyboard and designs approved, the animators will breathe life into your concept. This stage is where your story transforms into a visual spectacle. Remember, animation is a meticulous process, and quality takes time. Regularly check in with the studio to stay updated on progress and provide timely feedback.


Post-production is the final stage in the animation process. It includes editing, sound design, and the addition of special effects. Again, be involved in this stage, review the work carefully, and provide constructive feedback.

Delivery and Review

Upon completion, the studio will deliver the final product. Review it carefully, ensuring it meets your expectations and adheres to the quality promised. If you have concerns or require changes, communicate this with the studio.

Working with an animation studio in Johannesburg or any part of the world is a collaborative endeavour. Keep lines of communication open and clear. Be patient, as quality animation requires time and meticulous attention to detail. Finally, respect and trust the expertise of the studio. They’re not just service providers; they’re your creative partners.

The Future of Animation Studios in Johannesburg

The animation landscape in Johannesburg has been steadily gaining momentum, carving out a space for itself on the global animation scene. With its unique blend of diverse cultures and artistic talents, Johannesburg provides a rich tapestry for storytelling, offering a vibrant palette for the animation world to draw from.

As technology continues to evolve, animation studios in Johannesburg are keeping pace, investing in advanced software and tools to refine their craft and compete on an international scale. Emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI) are also starting to play a significant role, opening up new avenues for creativity and innovation. These advancements, coupled with Johannesburg’s unique artistic perspective, present the potential for creating unique and groundbreaking animated content.

Furthermore, the city’s animation studios are increasingly focusing on skills development and talent nurturing. This includes partnerships with educational institutions and creation of internship programmes to foster the next generation of animators. As more individuals acquire high-level animation skills, Johannesburg’s talent pool will continue to grow, contributing to the overall quality and diversity of its animation productions.

Moving forward, the future of animation studios in Johannesburg appears promising and dynamic. As they continue to harness technology, nurture talent, and leverage their unique cultural perspective, these studios are well-positioned to make their mark on the global animation landscape, delivering unique, high-quality content that resonates with audiences worldwide. The path ahead is indeed one of growth, creativity, and boundless potential. 

By following these tips, you can find the right animation studio in Johannesburg that can bring your project to life with creative and engaging animation. Once you have found the right supplier you can begin developing a positive relationship with them, resulting in many advantages for future animation production and content updates.

Looking for an Animation studio Johannesburg? We have over a decade of experience. Get in touch with our team today!

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