Wednesday, 9 January 2013

How to Make an Animated Film

One of the biggest challenges for any animator is to tackle a short film project. Most working animators don't - they're usually too busy. But at the very best animation schools, students usually tackle a group film project - or possibly an ambitious solo project - in their graduation year. Short films are a ton of work and they present a huge variety of film-making challenges. So how, in practice, do you make an animated film?
Gateway Building at Bucks - our modern media hub

The most common problem is excessive ambition - students biting off more than they can chew. We've all been there. Animation is complex and time-consuming and I sometimes think that if we were honest with ourselves about how long it takes we would never actually do it.

But it is vital to know what you're getting into before you try to do it, and hopefully avoid giving up in despair at the size of the task.

I didn't study animation at university; I learned the craft on the job. And it took me a long time to figure out exactly what goes into making a short film (or indeed a long film).  For the benefit of our students, I recorded a short video (above) setting out the whole of the CG Production pipeline, from concept through to opening night. It runs about fifteen minutes.


For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days,  take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK. Find out why we're giving free laptops to all our students, and why we give all our students free access to videos at Also, see what financial assistance might be available to you. Learn which is better for animation, a PC or a Mac? Get hold of a copy of a map so you can find your way around campus, and learn about motion capture at Bucks.  

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