For years, I have been obsessed with the Pixar Art books that chronicle the preproduction and story process. They inspire me to design and I love nothing more than developing the look of my animated films. Like pixar (and most studios), every part of the story and design process starts on paper and jumps to the CPU. Here's a step by step process of how I created the Alien vs. Alien animation.
CHARACTERS: I always start designing the characters first. My initial drawings are pretty rough because this stage is basically a brain-dump to create some fun personalities.
FINAL CHARACTERS I created these designs directly in flash based off my earlier drawings. The bottom characters are sample designs for the alien crowd. There were 40 creates in all.
BACKGROUNDS: Again, everything starts on paper. I did dozens of quick doodles and then handed them off to my background artist. Once he finished, I made tweaks to the color and added little details throughout.
STORYBOARD AND ANIMATION: I started my initial thumbnails on paper, but I drew a tight storyboard/animatic in flash. Once I finished, I handed the animatic off to my animator who animated ONLY the characters. The backgrounds were added later in After Effects.
POST PRODUCTION:Once the animation is done, effects artist Evan Sussman takes the backgrounds and animation and composites them together while adding effects, lighting, and camera moves.
LOGO:Lastly, I drew the logo in my sketchbook and then created the final logo in Illustrator and Photoshop.