How to Make an Animatic (Making an Animated Movie)

What is an animatic?

Simply put, animatic is an animated storyboard. Boards are brought into an editing program and are cut together with the correct timing and pace of the film. They include basic sound effects, dialogue recordings and scratch soundtrack.

You can watch this video tutorial, or keep reading.

What is it used for?

Similar to storyboards, animatics are used for pre-visualizing the film before production starts. Animatics are extremely important for making an animated movie, since they let you see what the movie might look like for the first time. This is when you first get a sense of the pacing, the rhythm and the progression of your film.

This is also the last step before going into 3D, so it’s important to make sure that no more story changes are needed.

What software should you use?

Adobe After Effects is the most common software for creating animatics. After Effects is great for:

  • Manipulate the drawings with the puppet tool (if necessary).
  • Add elements to the view screen (such as frame count, time-codes and shot number).
  • Export in various codecs and formats.
Animatic example

My template: (a) shot numbering (b) current frame (c) timecode (d) name of the project

Do it yourself

If you don’t know how to use After Effects you can check out our After Effects Animation course. While it focuses on creating animated videos, you can still learn a lot about how to work with After Effects.

Making an Animated Short (FREE ebook)

A free ebook covering the process of making an animated short film from start to finish.


Some successful animatics:

Defying gravity (from Wicked)

Feel Good by Gorillaz

Iron Man 3

Previous step: Storyboarding
Next step: Modeling and rigging