How to Make an Animated Short Film

By popular demand, I’m writing a “Making Of, from A to Z” series. A lot of people have asked me what’s the path to make a 3D Animated Film. It gets a lot more interesting when you have the desire, but you don’t have the available resources to pay an expensive education. With no prior experience, you may start with something Short. It seems pretty doable after all. Good news is: It actually is a lot easier than you think. Some local guy makes a short film for close to nothing. In fact the budget could have been $0,00, but it would have taken me some extra months. (By the way, cost of living is not part of this budget, that’s pretty much up to you). Really, if I knew this stuff being a kid when I lived with my parents, I’d have done it back then.

There’s a thousand ways and combinations on how to do this, but I won’t elaborate on that. I will tell you the way it works for me. Believe me, I’ve tried most of them. A lot of people are going to tell you this or that, and they are probably right. The problem is: everyone is. With that in mind, opinions are so mixed that at the end of the day you don’t know which one should you follow. All of them together make no sense at all, and its so confusing and complicated that its not even worth it. Once you understand that, its a lot easier to move on.

To make this thing happen it will take hard work, though.

There are a few key elements you need to master before getting there. The following 2 weeks I WILL elaborate on each one of these steps, hopefully with a certain level of detail so you don’t get lost.


  • Inspiration
  • Write a Story
  • Sketch it out (or ask for help)


  • Do you need a Supercomputer?
  • PC or Mac?


  • Learn Maya
  • Characters
  • Environment
  • Learn to Rig Characters
  • Learn to Animate
  • Learn Vray


  • Learn After Effects.
  • Premiere / Final Cut (for mac). In this case, its the same thing.
  • Sound / Music (Foley / Soundsnap.com / Vimeo Music Store)


By now, you probably haven’t mastered any of the things you were supposed to. That’s fine. Even though I had the theory, I learned to Animate and Rig Characters when I was actually producing The Chase. So, we are going to need to outline every aspect of the production before starting it. We are getting into that too.

You will eventually need to digg a lot, and some times get your hands and clothes dirty. Some people you like and respect might even get angry. Like your mom, when you were a kid, and she spanked you. But when they see what you’ve learned from it, they will most probably embrace it. You can take a shower later.

31 comments on “How to Make an Animated Short Film

  1. So looking forward to this!
    Thank you for your effort.

  2. I forgot to say you’re a Inspiration. I really enjoyed the short and the fact you comitted to it and left everything else behind to learn all this is just awesome.

  3. Brilliant mate love the short! Am i picking up some underlying metaphors in regards to sopa and pipa? Either way good on ya for making a epic movie.

  4. Awesomeeeeeeeeeeeee :)

  5. Cool when we staring??

  6. Hi Tomas,

    What do you think about using blender rather than the commercial Maya?

  7. I love your art, you’re great at 3D modeling. Everything else about the short, including the story, the characters, and especially the extremely slow pacing, was terrible.

    • I have to agree. Great 3D job, but leave the rest to some one else. No one can master kinematics, writing, directing and sound at the same time.

  8. I’d just like to say that you did an amazing job in The Chase and I would like to congratulate you on your extremely hard work. I would also like to thank you for the upcoming lessons on creating a film ourselves, you are indeed a gentleman and a scholar.

  9. U’re such an inspiration to us who aspire to do something unlikely.
    This is something really fantastic!!!
    You have our full support and we wish you’d provide us with the same.

  10. Got the tool and budget & Interest. i’m in!

  11. leaving the animation (not ur fault u learnt it during the production but still did a good job ) everything was awesome i mean super awesome specially the look n feel loved it.
    lookn forward on how u did it keep up the great work (special thanks to The Promo Bay)

  12. Great work ! Nice action movie and very good 3D !
    You’ve conquered France !… I’ve posted it on my blog http://juliexclusif.blogspot.com/2012/02/chase-court-metrage-danimation-en-3-d.html

  13. shut up and take my +1! I love it. (But what the hell is in the suitcase???)

  14. Really cool! But I want to know that what was in the suitcase! :)

  15. excelent work buddy, very interesting, great 3D and I’m looking forward to a sequel wether to know what’s in the briefcase or to see another mission of this lucky skinny hitman. keep up the good work!

  16. i’m looking forward to this! :D
    thank you! awesome film :)

  17. wow, this is an amazing stuff, i’ve like anything animated stuffs. thanks for the info

  18. I really enjoyed watching it!Thank you for sharing your amazing work!
    Very excited to join the walk-through,any idea when you’ll be starting?

  19. Have you tried blender?

  20. Dude you’re awesome!

  21. la pregunta aca (puesto que eres chileno en nuestra lengua) cuales son los hardware que utilizaste y tiempos de renderizado.
    Puesto que yo estoy en iquique y quiero tambien montarme mi estudio para hacer experimentos pero de nivel ambiente (trabajo como dibujante Arquitectura e ingenieria) y siempre he soñado con hacer ambientes 3d (sobre todo fluidos y naturaleza) saludos.

  22. Thanks! I’d like to see how it’s done.

  23. Buen trabajo en la composición de los ambientes y de los personajes, sobre todo en la iluminación y texturas. Pero una animación bastante pobre. A nivel de guión no vi un corto, sino más bien un clip promocional de un diseñador como para ofrecerse a hacer videojuegos; no creo que sean casuales los planos utilizados para las persecuciones y peleas.

    La música es muy buena, mis felicitaciones al compositor, pero se le podría haber sacado más provecho.

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