Creating an animated short is a fantastic opportunity to show off your animation capabilities while also telling an entertaining story you can be proud of.
All it takes is preparation, time, and dedication to apply different techniques to craft a video. Read on to find some of the best tips for creating an animated short film.
Look for Inspiration
Regardless of genre, the story you present must be captivating to an audience and give them a reason to care about what you’re saying. Therefore, you must believe in and understand the message you’re telling. You can draw inspiration from any place—whether it’s a personal memory or simply observing people interact at the food court—and use that inspiration to propel a narrative you’re invested in.
Develop Your Characters
Develop fully realized characters who the audience can follow on their journey. That doesn’t mean they have to be human—or even from our planet—but their anatomy should be identifiable or distinguishable in some way the audience can grasp. The easiest way to do this is to stick to the Twelve Principles of Animation: specifically, overlapping action or anticipation will give your characters life, whether they’re Dan from accounting or an alien monster.
Pre-Plan as Much as Possible
One of the best tips for creating an animated short film is to plan everything—this step is essential; without it, you won’t have a story to tell or a vision to follow. Plan the details of your script, shot list, storyboards, look development, and other aspects—because the more time and effort you put into your project before you start animating, the better your short will turn out.
Once you’ve decided on a story to tell and how you want to tell it, apply your animation skills to bring it to life. This stage of the process will rely heavily on your abilities as an animator, of course, but you can also collaborate with individuals you trust to help with some parts. Never assume you have to work on a project by yourself.
Need to see some examples of animated shorts? Disney Plus has some great examples!
The Disney Shorts options include these categories: Featured, Launchpad: Short Films, SparkShorts, Walt Disney Animated Studios, Mickey Mouse, Toy Story, Originals, Marvel, Disney Channel, Pluto, Silly Symphonies, Pixar, Star Wars, Cars Toons, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Chip ‘n’ Dale.
Books About Animated Shorts:
- Prepare to Board! Creating Story and Characters for Animated Features and Shorts
- Doing Their Bit: Wartime American Animated Short Films, 1939-1945
- The Colored Cartoon: Black Presentation in American Animated Short Films, 1907-1954
- Finish Your Film! Tips and Tricks for Making an Animated Short in Maya
- Ideas for the Animated Short, Second Edition: Finding and Building Stories
- Tips for First-Year Film Students
- How to Hone Your Personal Filmmaking Style
- Different Ways Technology Is Used in Filmmaking
- What To Consider Before You Start Shooting a Film
- The Top Film Cinematographers You Should Know
- Top Uses of the iPad In Filmmaking
- Things To Consider When Making a Stop Motion Film
- 3 Tips for Creating a Standout Short Film
- What To Know About Cinematography