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How to Make an Anime Movie (Top Tips for Beginners)

Are you an anime fanatic that has always wanted to create your own anime movie but didn’t know how to get started? If you’re stuck in a pre-production slump, we’re here to help. Simply follow our simple step-by-step guide on how to make an anime movie with helpful tips for beginners and you’ll be screening your new film in no time. 

Step 1: Do some research

Make sure you’re well-informed about the anime industry before going too far into making an anime movie. Research the production process, the anime styles associated with different movie genres, and the industry’s top professionals. Really understanding these elements will give you a solid foundation for your project.

Step 2: Learn the tools of the trade

Before you can hit play on your own homemade anime, you’ll have to learn at least one of the tools of the trade, namely some form of animation program. 

Many studios use Adobe Creative Cloud software, but if you’re looking for authenticity, the most popular program used by professional anime studios is the RETAS Studio program suite (also known as CELSYS in the USA). 

Toei Animation is known for using it in its productions, but there is also a wealth of different animation programs out there for creators to use to make stunning visuals. Some of the most popular in the industry are:

  • Toonz
  • Moho
  • Adobe

Learning at least one of these will let you create the anime movie of your dreams while learning the skills, processes, and software of an actual studio. 

Step 3: Choose a genre

Anime is just one type of medium for telling a story, so before you begin you’ll need to decide what kind of story you want to tell. 

  • Slice of Life
  • Horror
  • Shonen
  • Josei
  • Cyberpunk
  • Romance
  • Mecha

The options are endless and the beauty of animation is that if you can imagine it, you can bring it to life on screen. 

Choosing a genre and theme can be tricky since there are really no limitations to what you can create. Use mindmaps, storyboarding, or any other creative device to develop an idea for your world, and from there, you can match it with the genre of your choice. 

Step 4: Figure out what story you want to tell

Think back to your favorite anime that inspired you on this creative journey. What stands out the most in your memory? 

Now that you’ve figured out the genre and setting, it’s time to create a story. 

This can be the hardest part. Creating well-rounded and interesting characters that your audience can connect to is no small task. You can have amazing visuals and a cool setting, but if your characters are flat, then it just becomes a tech demo instead of an actual anime. 

Before you start writing conflicts, take some time to create your characters. Write down detailed descriptions of every character, including details about their personalities, physical attributes, names, quirks, ideals, and goals. 

Having all of your characters created and filled with detailed descriptors makes it much easier to write meaningful dialogue and imagine how they will react to the situations presented to them. 

From there you can create storyboards and lay out how you want each scene to look before you get into the final step. 

Step 5: Animate and edit your film

Now for the final and most important step: turning your ideas into an animated product. Luckily, we aren’t in the era of completely hand-drawn animation. You won’t need a team of 30+ artists drawing the same image with slight variations over and over to show someone walking. 

Animation software will help take a lot of this burden off your shoulders, but it’s still no easy task. 

You’ll need to create an organized asset list of all your images needed for animation. Characters, clothes, backgrounds, locations, and music are just some of the things you’ll need to think about before starting your animation. 

If you’re short on time and money you could use royalty free stock video in your project to save on animation costs and time. Keeping your anime world organized will save you time so you can focus on animating your project. 

Start with a rough animation to get an idea of how each scene will look and to get an idea of length, transitions, and what frames will look like. From there you work on cleaning up your images, coloring, compositing, and working on post-production.

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