2D animation opens up high-level paths in the industry, visual understanding, harmony and the composition it gives us makes the possibilities endless, being part of the world of animation is one of the most rewarding trades in the world. Here are 7 essential steps to create an animated movies.
1. Writing the Script
Without a story, there’s no animation. As short as the animated film is, the initial step is the creation of the story. To build history, you start from an idea. This initial idea develops into a coherent story that is written using the script format. In other words, the script is the detailed description of that story we want to tell. After finishing the script we have an initial shot of what the movie is going to be. In this plane we can find:
- The characters of the story, the scenarios where the story takes place and the order of events organized in scenes and acts.
- Therefore, the script will be used to design the characters, create the scenarios and draw the storyboard and animation.
2. Character and stage design
Once we have the story, we have to think about how it’s going to look. What is the overall layout of the animation? What are the characters like physically? What are the scenarios like? These and other questions are answered at this stage. In this step our story begins to develop visually.
Not all characters are human
To design the characters we start from the script. We list the characters with their characteristics and create sketches in different poses until we find the right physique. The same is also done to design the scenarios.
The main goal of character and scenario design is to have a continuity in how the movie will be viewed. The character sheets that we create at this stage will serve to make the drawings that are made of the character in the different scenes look the same. In addition, the scenarios must have a direct relationship with the character design. The style of the scenarios must have the same style as the character design. This will help make the animated film plausible. If, on the other hand, the character and scenario design is different, the characters will be out of place and the story is going to be less believable.
3. The creation of the Storyboard
The storyboard is a sequence of images that tells us how the story is going to be told. Here we define the different cinematic resources: camera position, shots, scenes, etc. Many describe the storyboard as a comic of what the film is going to be.
The images we create at this stage don’t have to be too elaborate. Many storyboards use very fast sketches; yet there are others, which look like works of art on their own. But the purpose of the storyboard is not to create a work, but to help visually see the story we’re going to tell. The storyboard is going to show us for the first time the story in a visual way.
The storyboard is a sequence of images
Like the script, storyboard is a plane; but unlike the script, the storyboard is a visual plane.
4. Recording dialogues and sound resources
Like animation, and in itself every movie, is a combination of images and sounds, the sound material must be ready before proceeding to the next step. At this stage we record the dialogues, the soundtrack and the ambient sounds.
It is important to record the dialogs before proceeding with the creation of the animation because the dialogs often determine the duration of a scene. We also need dialogues to plan the synchronization of the voices and lips of the characters to animate.
The rest of the sound resources may not be ready at this stage, but if the animation includes all the necessary sounds, it will give us an idea of how the final movie will be seen.
5. Creation of animation
Animation is a video that shows the sequence of images and sounds to help us plan the animation. In the animation we can use the images that were created in the storyboard and the dialogs that were recorded in the previous step. The animation will help us decide the time of each animation, the order of the scenes and the function of the sound in the final movie. We could say it’s a draft of the final animated film. As a draft we can and must make the necessary changes before starting the animation itself.
The animation is our eraser
This is the last stage where we can make radical changes to the film without incurring large costs of time and money.
Finally we come to animation. In this stage we combine the scenarios with the characters generated in the design stage and create the sequences of images that will allow us to simulate movement. Each of these images is called a frame and the sequence of these frames is what allows us to simulate the animation.
Duration in frames is counted in animation. Generally there are 24 frames in a second, but to make animation cheaper some frames are repeated two or three times. Now there are many programs that help us to generate many of the intermediate frames, but we still have to create the main images that define the movement. These images are known as key-frames or key-frames.
It is important that the time of each movement has already been defined in the storyboard. Animation is the most complicated part of the process and a move with the wrong timing can cause a great loss of time.
7. Final video editing
Once we have all the frames ready, we must put them with the sounds and the rest of the material together. We can replace the images used in the animation by the frames generated in the animation. Also sounds that were not added during animation creation must be added at this stage. The sound material must be ready before starting the animation. Once all the material is ready, the final video is created in a process called rendering.