Light Points

Insights by Don Schaffer, Creative Producer

Building an Effective Animation for a Marvel Comics X-Men Apocalypse Promo

I recently took on what looked like an enjoyable project via for Marvel’s upcoming X-Men Apocalypse film, being released May 27, and it didn’t disappoint!

The project entailed utilizing a few assets provided by Marvel, such as the X-Men logo, a couple poster stills, and their trailer. My goal was to make something palatable for social networks (:15 for Instagram & :30 for Twitter & Facebook), and so we pulled the Apocalypse character into the mix, breaking his still image down to animatable sections in Photoshop, then giving him some life in After Effects.

His face was a bit too rigid to last the entire animation, so we used the puppet tool to add a brief smile to his sinister appearance. Additional elements were added, such as smoke, fire, and sparks, along with lightning flashes and haze — being careful not to overdo it, though, as too much activity on the screen draws away from the focal point. In the background a cut-down version of the trailer plays, introducing the theme of the film.

Overall, the project proved really fun… Who doesn’t like working with Marvel superheroes?! At the same time, I believe we accomplished our goal of making an entertaining and compelling animation to draw interested eyes to the film’s future release.

Most often, it is the simple things that gain interest. Motion and activity are VERY valuable in this day and age (a still image just doesn’t communicate as well in this case), but t’s important to keep the focus on the main action. Clean lines, appropriate blurring of background elements, … these all make for an effective, simple animation that grabs viewers.


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Video Producer, Director, Writer, Editor.

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