Sadly we have reached the end of our series, but there is one last step before you can actually publish your amazing work of art. You have to animate it. It's a big step and probably the one that takes the most time and has the most grunt work involved, but it's an exciting process that will really test your resolve.
If you didn’t read the previous article then it’s time you catch up by visiting How to Make an Anime: Part 3.
Choose Your Weapons
This will be something you will have to sit down and consider because if you don't think it through beforehand, you run the risk of having to stop the project half way through and start all over with a new medium. And that is not something you want to have to deal with. Trust me. It's painful. Taking into consideration your work force and the extent of their skills is a good place to start.
If you are attempting this on your own then your selection of tools is entirely dependent on what your skill set is and what you want the final production to look like. If you are an artist who works with pencil and paper, consider making everything hand drawn - or, if you know how to use animation software then consider going digital. However nothing is stopping you from learning new tricks, so if you want the series to look a certain way you can learn a new style or software in order to create something that looks right to you.
If you are or will be working with a team, make sure to hire people with the same style as the one you envision. Additionally, make sure that your team can work well together. If there are clashing personalities, or they just don't work well together, then you may run into a lot of set backs during the creative process. These set backs could not only cost significantly more money but also leave you unsatisfied with the final results.
When creating hand drawn anime and manga consider what kind of tools you are going to be using and how much time and effort is going to go into using each tool. Remember that hand drawn animation is more commonly used in stories that have a deeper meaning and want to inspire something in its viewers. If your story line is a simple action based animation however, then perhaps you should consider using an animation software that can do the job faster. Hand drawn anime and manga are becoming more and more rare these days but this form of animation has a lot of character. And as with any medium though, it has its own pros and cons.
You have complete control over the look and feel of the project, and because of the amount of time and pride put into hand drawn animation, it also tends to have more character and soul. I also believe that because this animation process takes so long to complete, this gives you and your team time to work on the finer details, allowing you to adjust the story and scene development as you go to create the perfect story.
Hand Drawn animation is time consuming, stressful, and expensive. You also have to consider that it will be hard finding a team whose styles match exactly unless you work with a studio that has it's own particular style.
Software fits into two categories. The first being some sort of amalgamation between hand drawn/digital animation, and second, actual digital animation, where the animation process is done by a computer.
The animation software we have today has evolved to the point where pen and paper are some what redundant. With programs like Photoshop, SAI Paint, Sketchbook Pro and Anime Studio to name a few, it's become very easy to replace all of the real life tools we use. By simply using Photoshop brushes you can create a water color masterpiece in minutes, and since each frame is still being created by a human artist, technically this still falls under the hand drawn category. Now don't get me wrong, I am by no means an elitist who believes that digital art is inferior and that hand drawn art is better, I am simply trying to put things into categories to make it easier to understand.
Software like Blender, Mudbox and Autocad are all used to create 3D and 2D animation. With these tools animators can create base characters and then rig and render them to create scenes. This type of animation is a lot faster but can be prone to jumpy animation and excessive CGI which can put viewers off. That is why you will need to pay attention to detail when using animation programs, make sure that every scene you create flows well and that the animation is smooth.
Digital animation and drawing is a lot faster as you can skip the drawing, scanning and redrawing stage, it also gives you or your animation team almost unlimited tools that would cost a fortune in the real world. Programs like Photopshop and SAI allow you to paint with any kind of brush or medium you want, from charcoal all the way to water colors - and you never have to worry that the paint or pencil will smudge or age.
Initially the digital tools can be very expensive. But technology has advanced pretty far and now days things like drawing tablets and PCs are relatively inexpensive in comparison to art supplies.
The animation process can be really fast and therefore you or your team can miss details and end up relying too heavily on CGI and fan service to sell the story. Quality tends to become an afterthought in this process.
Advertising your creation
This is one thing that people always forget to do. As creatives, we get so wrapped up in our work and what we are doing that we forget to tell people about it. When all of the work is done and we've poured our heart and soul into something we become heartbroken when no one notices our efforts. But how can anyone notice something when they aren't even aware it exists! That is why artists need to be more vocal about their projects. Start off by telling your family and friends. Trust me, if your work is good they will spread the word, and publicity is better than a referral.
If you are working with a studio, more than likely they will have their own marketing team, but if you are working alone or with a small team who are unknown then try creating press releases with updates on your progress that you can send to media sites and houses. Also create videos on how the animation is created. People love to see how things are made - it helps them invest in your project. Don't be afraid to put it out there. The worst thing they can do is say no or just flat our ignore you. And at the end of the day, what's some hurt feelings when worldwide fame is on the line.
The process of making an anime or manga is a complex one that requires you and your team to be a jack of many trades. It's hard work but it's also one of the most exhilarating experiences you can ever have. The most important thing to remember is that you have to have passion for what you are doing and remember to renew that passion. It won't always be fun and you'll need to find a way to make it good again. I find that taking a break and trying to find a way to get excited about your work again will help you work better and faster. If you guys are thinking about becoming animators or creating a manga that people will want to read then prepare yourselves for one of the biggest challenges you can face, but never forget that you have what it takes, because passionate people will always find a what to do what they love, no matter how long it takes.
So here it is, we are finally done. If this series has been helpful to you guys don't hesitate to check out the All Otaku profile and send me a PM with any questions. In the meantime you can find me at All Otaku Online or visit our Facebook page where we share whatever the hell we feel like.
Until next time, sayounara, and thanks for all the fish.