I had heard the phrase storyboard before but I really didn’t know what one was before taking ANI425 Visual Storytelling from professor Devin Bell last winter quarter. Storyboards are the foundational story building tool before beginning a new film. Sometimes they are used to help pitch an idea and other times they are used to flesh out a film after it has been green lighted. In this course we made our storyboards into animatics, short films made storyboard style to give the gist of a film.
For my final in this class I expanded upon previous iterations of the project that I named “Famborted” (Family Aborted). It required a few more drawings to improve story clarity and continuity. The video shows how it all turned out.
The final was a good opportunity to include movement as well. After Effects has a 3D Layers feature that allows for key framed movement of images on multiple layers to help create the illusion of those images seemingly interacting with one another on one layer. In this animatic I use that technique in the sequence where my character slides next to each picture portrait. Those are a series of PNG files on 3D layers. PNG files are used because they have background transparency built in. This makes it easy to mimic 2D objects sliding in front of or behind each other in the way that 3D objects would do.
This is one of those classes I’m putting into immediate use in all my remaining courses as well as my personal projects. Who knows, I might even give it serious consideration as a career specialty. Give me a shout and tell me what you think of my burgeoning storyboarding skills.
Here are my two papers on each of those films in flip book form.
Since I got so much practice using Flash in my Animation Mechanics course I decided to use it for my graduate seminar final as well. Lisa makes sure that we are ultimately producing some work even in her lecture classes and this one was no different. Check out my final project below as I get into my head and look towards the future.
Some of our professors talked to us as well. Had a roaring time from Devin Bell who told us about his start in school. He showed his old student project Crank Balls that landed him into a career at JibJab. Meghann Artes shared some of her work with us including student film from her days at U.C.L.A. She’s worked at a bunch of places including Sesame Street. Jo Derry not only shared her unconventional, don’t-plan-it-all-out-before-you-start approach to animating her work, she answered the all important “How much do animators charge for a project?” question (thank you Jo, I’m revising my pricing structure as I type).
We did lots of reading and wrote a paper a week. One of the more interesting pieces of reading was Colourful Claims: towards a theory of animated documentary. It’s a philosophical take on animation as documentary tool, whether animation can be considered legit documentary since the characters portraying the action aren’t actual living beings.
We had a variety of animation related events that we could write about as well. One that was particularly interesting to me was the CartoonInk!: Emerging Comics In Context exhibit at one the the Art Institute of Chicago’s galleries in the Loop. It was an exhibit of alternative comics with a variety of subject matter, artistic styles and methods of print publishing. I have never seen such a wide variety of book styles.
One paper was an out our comfort zone paper focusing on an artistic style that we didn’t work with. I chose a recent mosaic Reaching Back; Moving Forward, Lest We Forget the Song of 47th St. Its a bricolage mural dedicated to the African American history of the neighborhood. Here are a few pics of the piece. Listen to the lead artist, Carolyn Elaine, tell you more about it.
This was a great seminar and I have a lot of conceptual take-aways that I use for future projects. The Winter Quarter lies ahead. I’m ready to rock and roll with the next of the two new classes in the cohort. Read More