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How to Make Animated Shorts for Your Animation Business

ben marvazi 2020

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How to Make Animated Shorts That Impress

Welcome to the world of animated shorts! These concise, yet impactful visual stories are more than just artistic expressions; they're a pivotal asset in the toolkit of animation professionals. 

If you're navigating the animation business, whether as a seasoned animator or as the owner of a fledgling studio, mastering the craft of animated shorts is crucial. This blog isn't just about how to make animated shorts — it's about leveraging them as a strategic tool to enhance your animation business's visibility and success.

A scene from a Disney animated short called Paperman

GIF by Walt Disney Animation Studios via GIPHY

In this blog, we'll walk you through the journey of producing animated shorts, from the spark of an idea to the polished final product. Beyond the creative process, we'll delve into the strategic use of these shorts. 

Be it for marketing prowess, expanding your client base, or showcasing your portfolio in a compelling way, animated shorts can be your secret weapon. So, let's embark on this journey together and explore the multifaceted benefits of animated shorts in the business of animation.

What are Animated Shorts?

When we talk about how to make animated shorts, it's essential to first understand what they are. 

Animated shorts are brief animations, typically ranging from a few seconds to around 15 minutes. They stand out for their ability to tell a story or convey a message concisely and effectively. In the animation industry, these shorts have evolved from simple experiments in early cinema to a respected art form that showcases an animator’s skill and creativity.

For anyone looking to learn how to make animated shorts, it's important to recognize their versatility. They can be humorous, dramatic, educational, or purely artistic, often serving as a reflection of the animator's vision and style. 

a scene from an animated short by Simon's Cat

GIF by Cartoon Hangover via GIPHY

Renowned for their ability to engage audiences quickly, animated shorts are perfect for today's fast-paced digital world where capturing viewer attention is paramount.

In the context of business, learning how to make animated shorts offers a unique advantage. These short films can become a vital part of your marketing strategy, helping to present complex ideas in an easily digestible format. 

Whether it's for promoting your services or explaining concepts to clients, animated shorts can be incredibly effective.

How to Create Animated Shorts: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Conceptualization

The journey of how to make animated shorts begins with a solid concept. This stage is all about brainstorming and nurturing ideas that can be transformed into compelling visual narratives. As an animator or studio owner, think about stories or messages that align with your brand's ethos or personal artistic vision. 

Whether it's an original tale, an adaptation, or an abstract concept, your idea should captivate and resonate with your intended audience. Effective conceptualization is not just about having a good story; it's about preparing a blueprint that will guide every other step in the process of how to make animated shorts.

2. Storyboarding
an animation storyboard being displayed one frame at a time

GIF by Plot Devices™️ via GIPHY

Storyboarding is a critical phase in how to make animated shorts. Here, you turn your concept into a visual script. This involves sketching the key scenes and determining how your narrative will unfold visually. 

A storyboard acts as a roadmap for your animation, outlining everything from camera angles to character movements. It's essential to be detailed and clear at this stage, as a well-thought-out storyboard can save time and resources later in the animation process. This step in how to make animated shorts is where you start seeing your concept take a preliminary form.

3. Designing Characters and Environments

When considering how to make animated shorts, the design of characters and environments plays a pivotal role. This is where your artistic skills truly shine. Design elements should reflect the tone and theme of your story. 

Creating visually appealing and unique characters and settings will not only engage your audience but also help in establishing your distinctive style in the animation market. Remember, the design stage in how to make animated shorts is where you give your story its visual identity.

4. Animation Techniques

The actual animation process is where the magic happens in how to make animated shorts. This stage involves bringing your storyboard and designs to life. Whether you opt for traditional 2D animation, 3D computer-generated imagery, stop-motion, or a blend of techniques, this is where your technical expertise and creativity meet. 

Paying attention to details like movement, timing, and expressions is crucial. How you animate your short will significantly influence its overall impact and viewer engagement.

Comic book style animation of a girl punching the air

GIF by Cartoon Hangover via GIPHY

5. Editing and Post-Production

The final step in how to make animated shorts is editing and post-production. Here, you'll compile your animated sequences, add soundtracks, voice-overs, and sound effects, and make necessary edits to ensure your story flows seamlessly. 

This phase is about refining your work, fixing any issues, and adding those final touches that elevate your animated short from good to great. It’s the culmination of your hard work and a chance to see how every element of your short comes together to create the final piece.

Maximize Your Business Potential with Animated Shorts

Enhance Brand Identity through Animated Storytelling

Mastering how to make animated shorts is more than a creative pursuit; it's a strategic business tool. These shorts are powerful in crafting and reinforcing your brand's identity. By embedding your brand’s ethos and values into engaging animated narratives, you not only captivate your audience but also etch your brand into their memory. 

Consider using animated shorts across different marketing channels, such as your official website, email newsletters, and social media, to highlight your brand's uniqueness and artistic flair.

Client Acquisition: Showcasing Expertise Through Animation
a person leaning through a man's screen to show him something

GIF by Fede Cook via GIPHY

One key advantage of knowing how to make animated shorts is showcasing your expertise to prospective clients. A well-crafted animated short can be an excellent portfolio piece, demonstrating your animation studio’s capacity for storytelling, character creation, and technical excellence. 

Present these shorts in client meetings, include them in your marketing materials, or feature them in online portfolios to underline the quality and diversity of your work.

Boosting Online Engagement with Animated Content

In the digital era, your online footprint is as significant as your physical presence. Animated shorts are perfect for enhancing your digital engagement. These visually appealing pieces can draw attention on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, or LinkedIn, helping you to reach a wider audience. 

Regularly posting high-quality animated shorts not only showcases your skill in how to make animated shorts but also keeps your followers intrigued and eager for more.

Portfolio Diversity with Animated Shorts

Animated shorts are invaluable for diversifying and enriching your professional portfolio. They provide a canvas to display various animation techniques and storytelling capabilities. 

A diverse portfolio, enriched with high-quality animated shorts, can be pivotal in attracting clients who are seeking innovative and versatile animation services. It's a testament to your range and depth in the field of animation.

How to Make Animated Shorts Work For Your Business

A Simpsons character presenting the award for outstanding animated short


As we've explored throughout this article, mastering how to make animated shorts is more than just an artistic endeavor; it's a strategic asset for any animation business. These shorts are not just a medium for storytelling or showcasing artistic prowess; they play a crucial role in branding, client acquisition, and building a robust online presence.

They allow you to demonstrate not just your ability to animate but also to think creatively and strategically about the use of animation in a business context.

We encourage you to start experimenting with animated shorts in your business strategy. Whether you're looking to refine your branding, expand your client base, or just showcase your animation skills in a new and exciting way, animated shorts can be a game-changer.

Remember, the journey of how to make animated shorts is not just about the technical aspects; it's about storytelling, creativity, and connecting with your audience in a meaningful way. 

So, take the leap and start exploring the potential of animated shorts in your animation business today. Need some help on the business side? Our Animation Business Accelerator Program provides insights, resources, and a supportive community to help professionals navigate the evolving landscape. 

If you’re an animator who’s looking to start your own studio or grow your career, check out our blog on How to Start an Animation Studio to kickstart your animation career today or give our free Masterclass a try first if you’re curious.

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