Animated rocket ideation: sketch, sketch, sketch!

The brief was to communicate the new company marketing strategy for its software workflow Author, Deploy, Manage via the website to coincide with a major release.

This was to go on the homepage as the centre piece and incorporate the themes: 2D, 3D, games, apps, rapid deployment to multiple platforms, high performance, analytics and management.

The three stages of the software workflow being; Author which is the design and creation of a game or app,

Deploy being the use of the tool to target multiple platforms from a single codebase and Manage whereupon Cloud based services can be used to produce analytics.

I knew I wanted to use a rocket as a way of helping to communicate the themes and that it should be animated to catch people’s attention.  So I started to sketch ideas around rockets and mobile devices…

Rocket sketches

…having decided on a few Author, Deploy, Manage ideas I continue on to what the sequence should be and how to display it in browsers across devices. Some initial ideas included vertical movement…

Animated rocket vertical scrolling concept

…and others explored horizontal movement showing the rocket moving from left to right while scrolling down.

As the rocket passes, it’s jet and smoke reveal clouds and sky and a message with a call to action.

Animated rocket horizontal scroll

Another horizontal idea shown below, displays the rocket moving whilst simultaneously being reflected through various device screens showing its different positions along its motion of travel.

Rocket animated sequence concept

I like the idea of the rocket transforming from a 2D image into a 3D image as it passes through the screen.

Animated rocket 2D and 3D explorations

A completely different idea also emerges that keeps the animation more contained playing within a collection of devices.

A more detailed exploration of Author, Deploy, Manage

After discussions with stakeholders the final concept for the animation is worked up in more detail (shown below).

Animated rocket sketch final sequence

The animation is in three distinct sections. For Author a rocket blueprint appears with a launchpad (1 -2), this represents the design development and launch of a game or app whether 2D or 3D. Deploy is shown through the use of the rocket on multiple devices (3).   Manage is represented by analytical charts and diagrams (4).


Above (1) is a small sitemap for the desktop version of the animation and (2) a possible alternative to how it could work on mobile devices using vertical motion.

See it working here.




Creating assets for the animation


Most of the assets were created in Illustrator including the blueprint (1), the 2D and 3D rockets (2), and the devices and charts. The final 3D rocket (4) was created in 3D Max. A colour palette (3) was created using hues based on the corporate blue with a complimentary orange.

3D Rocket sprite sequence

Sequential sprite for 3D rocket, output from 3D Max into Photoshop for final processing.

Storyboarding the animated rocket

To communicate how the animation should work to the front end developers, detailed storyboards were created for both desktop and mobile.


The version developed for mobile devices animates vertically. The rocket appears to move upward while devices and other elements cascade downwards.


Animated sequence for mobile devices

See it working here.