Tips and thoughts for a student creating their first short

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  12 December 2012
Tips and thoughts for a student creating their first short

It's a loaded question, but what is the best way to prepare for a short? What not to do? What is the most important thing consider? What do you have to keep in mind? How not to go overboard? There's so many questions, but what do ya'll think is more important to concentrate on so you don't have to much on your plate but still completing a short for an animation degree? It can be 2D or 3D.
 
  12 December 2012
Welcome Forrest.
Ah do you mean you need to make a short for a degree?
Always start at the end and work back. What end result do you want, and work backwards on researching how to achieve it.

I don't understand the question though. If this is for a degree, you would be at the end of your studies and you should know whether you want to make 2 or 3d.
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  12 December 2012
A couple of hints:

1) Come up with a good (short) story. Most shorts do not have one and are merely nice technical demonstrations. The better your story, the more your short will be watched when you put it on Vimeo or Youtube.

2) Storyboard the entire short shot-by-shot. On paper by hand, or digitally using a tablet.

3) Go over the storyboard multiple times, and improve it until it is really good. Think hard about camera angles, composition, lighting, colours, motion.

4) Draw all important visual assets in good detail before you 3D model them. Annotate these drawings. (e.g. "Character's left bicep has a 4 inch long, yellow-tinted dragon tattoo on it")

5) Perhaps most importantly, be as original, conceptually and visually, as you can. The more interesting/creative/fresh your ideas are, the more your short will be viewed, commented, bookmarked, shared, and so forth...

6) Quality is more important than quantity. A really great 6 minute short is more valuable than a "meh" 12 minute short that bores people, or doesn't impress in the visual and storytelling departments.


My most important advice to you: If you want your short to stand out, make it as original and idiosyncratic as possible. Do things that haven't been done in CG. Direct it differently from other shorts. Strive to really "make a mark" with everything you do on the short.

I hope that helps a bit...

Good luck! Looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with...
 
  12 December 2012
My biggest piece of advice would be keep it short! As the other posters have said, quality over quantity. I see way too many 7 minute long student shorts that suffer cause they didn't have time, and often I don't even finish watching it.

Also think about what your technical strengths and weaknesses are as you come up with the story. Sure you can learn things and solve problems while you work on it, but generally speaking, if you aren't a strong animator, don't make it an animation heavy short. Or if you aren't great at lighting, don't have the story or look require lifelike, moody, incredible lighting. In fact a lot of times you can take your weaknesses and use them to your advantage to create a style.

As far as picking 2d or 3d, do whatever you're more comfortable with. Making a short for your graduation isn't the best time to pick up a new craft, or use one you're pretty new to.

Good luck!
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  12 December 2012
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