Now that you have your animated short film ready, it’s time to do the post-production. That is, put all your renders together, add effects and sound, and market your film so the world knows about it and are encouraged to watch and share the film!
Here is a brief look at what the post-production phase entails:
- Compositing – You can get fancy here and make your rendered images look appealing. Things like adding in dust particles, or lens flares and glows, etc. You can also add in vignettes to focus and draw the viewers eyes to a specific object as well as color grading to set the mood of the scene and also add to its visual appeal.
- Sound design and editing – Here you work with your composer/sound designer to come up with the sound of your film. If you’re like me, and haven’t worked with one before, you can download music from royalty-free websites and download sound effects from free sites like freesound.org. If you want to dabble in making your own music, you can download a free software like LMMS which allows you to compose your own music. You download and plug in instruments (called VSTs) into the application, such as piano or drums for example, and you can play the instrument using your keyboard or a MIDI keyboard if you have one. You’ll need to know the very basics of music making as well as LMMS in order to be useful with it. The learning curve is a little steep initially. There is also Audacity which is good for sound editing.
- Video editing – Once you have all the images and sound ready, you can put them together in a video editor. You can place your animatic in a background layer in your video editor and overlay the images and audio on top of the animatic. After all, the animatic should have been your final short film, except without the visuals and high quality sound. The video editor that I use is Cyberlink PowerDirector. A general consumer video editing software but it fits my needs perfectly. You can also try Blender. Even though it’s a 3D software application, it can also handle video editing quite well! Once it’s all done, you’re film is complete and you are ready to show it off to the whole world!
- Marketing – This is a new area and hence a grey area for animated short filmmakers. I still haven’t quite figured out this myself. In the past, you could send your animated shorts to film festivals. While you can still do that now, it seems there is more popularity in distributing animated shorts online. Of course, if you have a high quality animated short, then it’s best to submit them to festivals regardless of the costs. But if you’re not as good, like me, then you’re best bet is to distribute them to a video sharing platform like YouTube and tell as much people about it as possible. Throughout your filmmaking, you would have managed a blog and a Facebook/Google+ page about the film. This is the time to let them know about it. First throw up a teaser to make them wonder, then a few weeks later a trailer to build up hype and then finally the film itself. You can then post the film itself to various forums related to the film’s topic, social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon. You can submit the film to sites like FilmShortage.com and ShortOfTheWeek.com although getting accepted will be quite difficult. Finally, you should send requests to blogs and Facebook page owners to publish your film on their pages and thus increase exposure. If you’re film is really good, it will take off on its own and may even go viral but if it’s not as good, you might need to spend a bit more effort in getting it noticed. You should also upload to various video sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo, NewGrounds, DailyMotion and BitLanders.
You can now breathe a huge sigh of relief in getting a film complete. Lay back and admire the amount of work and effort you put into it. Buy a projector and home theatre system and organise a premiere for your friends and family! You’ll get comments and feedback on your film hopefully and you can use that to improve on your next film.
Hope this has helped inspire you to make your own animated short film!