How to Create an Animated Short Film Easily

The world of animated short films serves as a rich corner for the 3D community offering viewers a quick burst of exclusive creativity. The value of animated short films is so great as a medium that Blue Zoo, a London-based studio, has a particular program allowing artists to create their animated short films and bring them to life with the support of their colleagues.

Before figuring out the right way to make an animated short film, you must have a concept that will give it a shape. Though the process of making an animated short film is simple, it can be challenging to master. It will be a good scope for discovering different animation techniques while developing your exclusive style.

Here is a step-by-step guide on bringing a masterpiece to life:

Step 1: Know the Story You Want to Narrate

The first thing you need to make an animated short film is a good story. Tell a story close to your heart or something more professional. And after that, start storyboarding the same.

First off, write the perfect script if you want to work on a more definitive strategy. If the story is still developing, begin with the drawing and allow your creativity to dictate the right direction of your movie.

Step 2: Make the Characters of Your Film

You can develop the characters of your movie in ¾ rotations. This means that the characters in your film will not face the viewers directly; instead, they will be angled 3/4ths to the right or the left.

If you want, you can create characters from varied viewpoints, like facing the viewers or away from the viewers so they can see all the details.

Step 3: Create the Storyboard

It is unnecessary for your storyboard to be highly realistic but make it a point to draw all the important poses, which will make things a lot easier for you down the road. When you are done with all the panels, ensure labelling them perfect for proper organization.

If you are satisfied with the results, scan them to have them in a digital format. And once you complete scanning in all your panels, it is time to move them to a movie maker online.

The moviemakers available online these days also help with editing. So, move the panels into the editing section of your movie maker and separate them while saving them as layers in your video editor or favourite graphics. The amount of work you will have to do will depend on the number of panels you have drawn.

Step 4: Create Animatics

Animatics are simple mock-ups of how your animated film will appear roughly. This could be a simple video of panels in a series to give an idea of how the story flows. You can time how the different elements work in combination as they keep moving.

Step 5: Create Background Layout

So, now that you have got a solid story with the animatics looking good, it is time to start with video production. The first step of the video production stage is creating a background layout.

Depending on your field guides, start drawing background layouts in the correct field size. Since you already have an idea of the background, draw only what will be there in the shot.

For instance, you don’t need to draw a whole room when the only thing that you will be using is a table in the room.

An important tip here is if you are re-using the same background later in some other field size, draw a background in a larger size so you can use it for both without losing the pixels.

Step 6: Go for Dope Sheets

Dope sheets are also known as exposure sheets, and they are highly beneficial as timing is crucial in animation. Well-prepared and executed dope sheets can help you start with the process of animation.

Step 7: Start with Rough Animation

Once you have timed your animation perfectly, you can start animating roughly. This involves keeping the lines loose and pushing the poses. Here, use the essential poses that you drew on your storyboard.

Use your dope sheet to write down the number of in-betweens you need after clean-up while keeping the characters in different separated layers.

Step 8: The Clean-Up

With all said and done, once your animation is in place and you are happy with it, you can start with the clean-up of the line art. Here decide on the type of line you would be using.

Now there are different varieties of line art to make your choice from. The normal lines come in the same thickness, while there are rough lines that do not remain closed. The rough lines make an animation appear like they are moving or dancing.

Also, use thick cartoony lines around their borders and feature thin internal lines. The key here is choosing a type of line that works best with the style of animation you have chosen.

It is a bit challenging to clean up rough animation. But doing it right will make coloring and in between easier.

Step 9: In-Betweening

It-betweens make way for smooth animations. Of course, keys are useful in animation but in-betweens smooth out all the movements. And this procedure is known as in-betweening or even tweening.

Just a few keys and one or two in-betweens will be fine for animating an action clip, but for subtle animation, you require more in-betweens for smoother results.

Step 10: Painting and Inking the Backgrounds Digitally

You can use digital inking to add the artwork to your background. You can use paint or crayons for inking the background in an old-fashioned way, or you can scan artwork and then paint it using any program such as Photoshop.

Step 11: Painting and Inking the Characters Digitally

First of all, you will need a scanner specialized in scanning animation. Then use software for inking all the characters digitally. With good quality closed lines and line work, coloring and inking of the characters will be a walk in the park for you.

Step 12: Compositing

Once all the characters and artwork are painted, use software for compositing the same. Compositing is blending all the different elements into a single scene. This is the final step after which you can place the entire film together and make it flow like one.


Making an animated short film will be easier for you if you work in small pieces like taking one scene or one action first, working on it, and then taking up the other scene or action. You can build all the pieces together later and get the best results.

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