Ideally we would like to make promotional posters a requirement of SimsFilmFest, as movie posters are a vital part of marketing, and this is a film festival. As much as we have tried to enforce this, we don’t get 100% compliance asmany people have told us that they aren’t graphic artists or picture takers. The truth is, your machinima poster can be as simple or as complex as you want. Some people have chosen to use logos, others a basic screenshot from their project, some just use pictures of their cast, while others have gone all out. We’ve provided examples of different ideas to help inspire.
Some machinima projects just have a logo that represents the project. It takes a bit of thought and creativity to come up with a memorable logo that fits the project and can hang with it throughout a long term project.
Those who aren’t all that graphically inclined have made posters out of screenshots that have represented their films. It just takes the right picture.
THE MORE GRAPHICALLY INCLINED
Now for poster examples from those who posses graphics skills some of us can only dream of. These range from simple to complex.
Cast photos are just that, pictures of the cast presented in an interesting way.
These posters are less realistic and more artistic in how they are presented.
How you choose to represent your project is up to you, but it should reflect your machinima and your style.
There are 5 elements that all Hollywood movie posters contain. Most people try to follow the format of Hollywood posters so we want to talk about these elements and how they pertain to SimsFilmFest and what we like to see on the posters. Please make sure to visit The Rules Page for poster guidelines.
- THE TITLE – This seems like a common sense thing, but we have actually gotten posters here at SimsFilmFest with no machinima name on them.
- PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION INFORMATION: In the world of Hollywood movie posters, this is usually done with logos. As this pertains to SimsFilmFest, it should have your name on it, after all, you did produce it. As for distribution, usually the SimsFilmFest logo is used, or people will put on their posters “In Conjunction with SimsFilmFest.”
- RELEASE DATE: This also seems like a common sense thing, where people know when to expect your project. In the past we have always asked that the date of SimsFilmFest be included on machinima posters. You can either use your actual release date or the SimsFilmFest opening date of July 1.
- LEGAL: In the real world this is the “Presented in Technicolor” (is Technicolor even still a thing?), “In IMAX 3D” or “DOLBY ATMOS”. This is probably the one element of a movie poster that does not translate at all to SimsFilmFest. If you really wanted to you could credit the company that makes your editing software, but that’s not necessary, and a little weird.
- SOCIAL MEDIA AND WEBSITE: A newer element, as social media has taken over our lives. Many seasons back we used to require that everyone put the SimsFilmFest wesbsite URL on their poster. You are welcome to do this, but if you have a website for your project(s) or a social media URL that you use for machinima promotion, you can use that as well. Many posters are submitted with YouTube icons on it, since this is the main social media platform for machinima. If you are going to use a social media icon on your poster, please make sure that the social media account is set up using the machinima name where people can find it easily by searching.
This is why you are here, to find out how to create a poster, so let’s get to it. This tutorial is pretty basic where it can be used in any graphics editing software. The most important thing to remember is, have fun. This isn’t a homework assignment.
The sample poster for this tutorial:
This idea really looked much better in my head. Perfect example of how something doesn’t always work well in practice, but it serves the purpose for this tutorial and in some ways as an example of what not to do. XD
Originally this was going to be a step by step tutorial with directions, but instead it became a more generalized tutorial that covers the basics and can be used with any graphics program.
- Create a blank canvas. It needs to be 831 x 1175 pixels.
- Resize your poster elements. This is going to take some trial and error to get right. At it’s simplest it means resizing your screenshot to 831 high maintaining aspect ratio where it can be centered how you need it on your canvas. At it’s worst, it means resizing individual elements to the size you need. This means deciding what needs to be larger and smaller. In the Hamster Dreams Big sample, The close up that was taken of the hamster needed to be resized to fit on the resized hamster bed. My proportions are off and the hamster looks more like a guinea pig, especially since it’s legs were removed to make it look like it was laying down. The thought cloud containing the picture of the big city was done large, taking up nearly 1/4th of the poster, on purpose, to help convey “big dreams”. After deciding on the size of the thought bubble, a screenshot was resized to fit it, and the thought bubble was used as a template to cut out the city picture.
- Arrange all your elements on your canvas. Decide what is the main focus and work from there. Make sure things are aesthetically appealing while conveying what you want to convey with the poster. Look at real world movie posters as examples. Check out Designer Depot’s 7 Elements of a Great Movie Poster Design.
- Choose your fonts and colours. Combine serif and sans serif fonts and use different sizes to make things visually appealing. Make sure that your text is visible and doesn’t blend in with your poster elements.
- Add any special effects. In the Hamster Dreams Big example, the bedroom is blurred and lightened. The idea was to show where the hamster lives without it being one of the main points of the poster. Shadowing effects really should have been used on the hamster and his dream bubble elements where they don’t appear to be stickers on a background.
- Check for spelling errors. We’ve all made typo’s and our voice actors don’t like it when their names get spelled wrong.
- Save your poster as a PNG or JPG giving it the name of the machinima (i.e. Hamster Dreams Big Poster)
You’re done. Congratulations, you created a poster for machinima! If you need help using a specific graphics program, there are a lot of good tutorials on the internet. You can also ask in the SimsFilmFest discord. There is probably someone there that can help you.