Tuesday, 28 October 2014

How I Started Making Animated Short Films! PART 2

Once I entered Uni, I was itching to go back and fulfill my dream of making an animated film. I then did proper research. After reading many software reviews and the features it contained, I decided to settle with the software I promised I would never look at again... Blender! I saw some user images and was awestruck with the level of quality that was able to be produced with free software. I could never afford 1000 bucks for those Maya, 3DS max, C4D type of software, so I figured Blender would be close enough. It contained a lot of very good modelling tools, a neat renderer, and some cool physical simulation tools which I found to be a very cool bonus! So, I gritted my teeth and decided to follow the Noob-to-Pro Blender tutorials for a few months. After that, I snacked on a lot of Blender video tutorials found on YouTube. I particularly found Andrew Price’s tutorials inspiring and motivated me to keep going. I also found BlenderCookie to assist greatly as it helped cover almost all aspects of Blender. After about 6 months of tutorials, I decided it was finally time to make an animated short film.

I would then spend another few months or so, researching how animated films are made. Thankfully, YouTube existed then and I looked at the process of Pixar and how they made films like Toy Story, etc. I also read a lot of articles on how films are made and started to at least get an idea of how films are made. I realised at this point, I needed a lot of patience and planning BEFORE I started to even touch Blender. I learnt the basic concepts of script writing, storyboarding and animatics. I was not the best at it (still not!) but at least it would guarantee that the project would not fail before it even started.

After this, I managed to complete my first animated project ‘Theevan’. It’s not the best film out there and does not even compare to Toy Story or Avatar, but it’s the best thing I ever made on my own. A tremendous level of satisfaction ensued and gave me a lot of motivation to make more short films. ‘Theevan’ does has a lot of technical flaws and I will document the making of ‘Theevan’ in another blog post. The biggest mistake I made with ‘Theevan’ was starting the project too early. I should have waited until I had a bit more experience instead of rushing ahead and producing a half-done film.

My final advice to people out there interested in making animated films with zero budget and zero educational training, is to have a lot of patience. A LOT of it! You also need plenty of motivation if you want the project to reach its completion. I may write another blog on how to make animated films later on but this is how I started making animated short films. Follow tutorials to the point that you feel you can make your own stuff. And learn the process of filmmaking from the abundance of content available on the internet today. With the improvements and capabilities of content and technology today, it is possible that you could one day make your own animated short film!

This is the same blog post that was posted from my original website and was posted here as a reference: http://thilakanathanstudios.weebly.com


  1. Quite encouraging. Three months ago I had never touched any animation software, but since I got Blender, I have been experimenting and learning all I can about it. It's the most difficult software I ever encountered, but I am enjoying the challenges it offers. Hopefully, one day I will be able to at least make a character walk. That's my goal right now.



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