Monday, 4 March 2019

How to Make an Animated Teaser/Trailer

Our second year undergraduate animators at Escape Studios are currently working in teams on their first studio project - making a teaser or trailer for an upcoming film, TV series or video game. Of course, the project itself isn't a real one, but the finished teaser/trailer should make it feel real, and should make the audience want to go and see it. Making a teaser or trailer is a lot like making a short film, albeit a rather specialised one. There are many elements to consider, from concept to script through storyboard, design, 3D layout, cinematography, animation, lighting and final render. So, how do our students go about successfully making a teaser or trailer?

Teaser for "The Incredibles"
How to make a Teaser or Trailer
Making your own teaser or trailer is a lot like making a short film. The most common mistake made by newbies is to underestimate the amount of work involved. Everything takes longer, and is harder to achieve, than you expect. That said, it's not impossible to make a great teaser or trailer, especially if you plan the project well and hit all the deadlines. The trick is to do all the steps in the right order.

The process
Making any film, however big or small, breaks down into four main sections:
  1. Development 
  2. Pre-Production
  3. Production 
  4. Post-Production
Do them in the right order, and you won't go wrong. Start animating before you've got your story right - and you are courting disaster. We all tend towards our comfort zones, and animators are no exception - the temptation is always there to start animating before you really have your story figured out.

Start with a story
Every project starts with a great story (development). Once you have your story, you move into design and storyboards (Pre-production), cutting your boards with sound and music into a timed animatic. Once this is approved, you move into production, doing your 3D layout and then animation, lighting and final render. It's a complex process, but the best way to learn film-making is to go through all the steps, and do them in the right order. It's a lot easier the second time around.

Group work
The first task is for students to form themselves into groups, and decide among themselves who will perform what role.  Key roles include director, producer, writer, storyboard artist, art director, editor and - of course- animators. Projects will also need a CG supervisor to manage the digital pipeline and make sure the final renders work.

Assassin's Creed - Animus
To see an example of a trailer project from last year, check out Assassin's Creed - Animus

Assassin's Creed: Animus: Directed by Sebastian Kuder (Director, Editor, 3D layout), Katerina Zacharakis (co-Director), Adam Scrivener (Producer), Stephen Mealand (CG supervisor), Som-Ying Collins (Storyboards). The project was animated in Maya and rendered in real time in Unreal Engine.

To see all the Teaser Trailer projects from 2017-18, follow this link.


The Escape Studios Animation Blog is a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our BA/MArt, follow this link.  To apply, visit the offical page here

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