Wednesday, 20 December 2006

...make an animated short using a computer game

Now, you can make a short film in any way you want, from video, to hand-drawn stills with soundtrack (or even without), to archival footage (naturally used in such a way as to not break any copyright laws, even if you do choose to record it directly from your TV screen using a hand-held camera). But in case you want to do as I've done and use a computer game, here's a quick how-to.

I first heard about this technique through Modern Millie who told us about Decorgal's Standing Alone short on pregnancy loss (2006 release) *Warning* - depicts near-term pregnancy/baby loss. Standing Alone was made using Sims2, but by following links to I discovered a whole range of computer games could be used this way, and I was struck with a sudden desire to piss about and see what I could do. After some research I decided The Movies would give me the most flexibility and control, and when I saw the game on special just before moving over, it seemed like it was meant to be.

The rest is history. Actually, the rest, as of this point in time, is a tiny short called "A Seasonal Reminder" but let's not split hairs.

Decorgal has a great FAQ all about making shorts using Sims2, and if you want to use The Movies, there's a pretty good in-game tutorial. There's also a forum somewhere, though I can't seem to find it at the moment, but mostly you can work it out by fiddling around and using the help menu. If you want to use other games, well, I can't give you any specific help but someone out there can. My biggest tip is don't try to script the movie first. It won't work. Play the game, build your sets, create your stars, gather your costumes, familiarise yourself with the available action sequences. Then get a basic storyline together, and write the script as you're doing the voiceover at the end. A few sound effects and you're done. It's pretty straightforward really.

Jules just alerted me to this free online taster, in which you can create a sort of online cartoon strip. (If it moves, it counts as a film, far as I'm concerned.)

I've been asked if you need to buy the computer game in order to use it like this, and you do (except if you're using the free online taster that Jules found, see paragraph above).

More questions? Got expertise you want to share? Leave a comment.

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