Everyone who likes animation films has seen The Lion King or Spirited Away, but who knows how to make those kinds of productions?
The process is as long as it is costly and there is a huge group of professionals who are in charge of controlling everything that goes on. How many steps are there in the process of making an animation film and what do they consist of? There are three stages: the planning, the construction and the creation of the story.
Pre-production: Planning the story
Jose Eduardo García, a student of Animation Production in Høgskulen i Volda, defines preproduction as – the most difficult part in the process of creating an animation film, because you have to organize every single thing in the film and create the whole vertebral column of it.
At this point in the pre-production the producer has to write the screenplay, organize the sketches and start with the visual creation’s process. In addition, the first story board is done here. Laura Moreno, in The Creation Process of 2D Animated Movies describes what pre-production is: “it consists of planning everything before starting the production process, like preparing a suitcase before a trip”.
Production: the birth of the characters
For García, this stage is the main part of the process.
– In the production, the characters are drawn and the movements are fixed and improved (if it is necessary). It is a really creative process, the most creative one, he explains. At this point it depends on what kind of animation you want to create.
– The most important kinds of animation films are 3D films or Computer Graphic Imagery (CGI) films where Disney, DreamWorks and Pixar are some of the most important studios of animation. But there are other ones like Studio Ghibli or Blue Sky, which have been in this world for years, and have produced good films like Spirited Away or Hotel Transylvania.
Post-production: the importance of editing
This is the final step before the final product is complete. At this point, the main challenge is editing all of the images, adding music, sound and voices. As García says
– the post-production is where I feel more comfortable and, for me, the composition process of the images (which appears in the production too) is one of the most important parts in the film-making process because you have to assemble all of the content and show it in the proper way as best as possible. Princess Mononoke was one of the most expensive films made when it was released in 1997. In this film, the last sixteen minutes were made digitally instead of manually like the rest of the film, and that was a hard part of post-production. But this is not the only duty of post-production. When the film is complete, producers in charge of post-production are responsible for sharing and distributing copies wherever the director has chosen.
So this is the process of making an animation film.
– Sometimes people forget that there is a group of professionals behind the cameras and think that animation films are only for children. This point of view is totally wrong, animation films are another way to tell a story for everybody, García says.
It is a fantastic world which contains a lot of techniques and rules of how to create a film.
– Personally, I love bringing inanimate objects to life. Actually, in almost all of the films the visual effects are animated, but in a more realistic way, and this is, day by day, more common in animation or live action films.