This Article is About
walk down memory lane
contour lines
2d animation
busy working
10 years
Drawing Out The Story
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Drawing Out the Story

When you love to do something, there is just not enough time in the day or night to enjoy doing it. As I have been busy working on animation projects and constructing my websites, I find myself overjoyed! I think to myself, now if only this were my one and only job. Well, I am seriously setting myself upon a path to do just that. It's one of those things where no matter what you have to deal with in life, you always come back to what you love.


I have many ideas in my head that I need to put down on paper, many old drawings leftover from my childhood that are stories I made up, and an infinite source of inspiration from anime.

As I was taking a walk down memory lane, I came across an old character design I did when I was probably around 10 years old. Of course, the drawing needs a few slight improvements here and there, but once I redo it, and scanned it into Photoshop it will become the foundation of many possibilities. Although I enjoy 3D animation, I prefer traditional 2D animation more because of the hands-on nature of the work. Right now as I am brainstorming for ideas, I'm not sure which direction I want to take just yet. For certain, the character designs will start out in 2D. As I scan the drawings into Photoshop I can experiment with different settings to get different contrasting qualities of the contour lines. Then I can color the drawing in Photoshop.

Character and Story Development

Next, I'll start writing out a story. For now it's good to keep it short and simple just so that I don't overwhelm myself with more than I can handle. From this point on I'll take a break from it. Presenting it to others could be a good way to see how it's received, and what ideas come of that. I say this because one of my goals is to update my reel since I was not granted permission to use any kind of samples from much of my most recent works.

I can see myself at least trying to recreate the character design as a 3D model in Maya, but until I have the story or other characters developed then it's a matter of what time has in store.

Perhaps I should emphasis that you should thoroughly cover all the bases here in terms of story and character development. This is things such as the character's physical build, history, personality type, and so on. Giving the character a personality is one of the most important factors in character development. This is how certain people in the audience will be able to relate to the character.

With the story development there are also different ways to go about it, but keep in mind the general structure of the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Then take this and experiment with it. This can set you apart from other film makers. The story could be linear; follow a beginning until the end, or it could be non-linear; start in the middle, get to the introduction, and progress towards the end.

Later when I have some idea of what the story and character development is about, I'll start making storyboards. This process is quite helpful in film making. It works as a blue print, and it can show others that you're quite serious about your work.


Once the storyboard is done, you can create the animatic. Animatics are primarily used to figure out the timing of the animation, but of course they can also be helpful in seeing the style and quality level of the film. Once all the kinks are worked out in the animatic, you can move onto the production of the film.

Production of the Film

At this stage, the film can be animated in 2D, 3D, live-action or whatever approach you want to take. In traditional 2D animation I can take the drawings that I scanned in, colored in Photoshop, and use Photoshop to animate them. After Effects, Illustrator, Flash, Toon Boom, etc could also be used. Of course, you must plan ahead before this stage because depending upon the software you have each one of them have their limitations. With Photoshop I can animate the drawings by using the layers and the Animation Window. Now in the planning stages, while I was coloring the drawings, I decided to draw out the character in full poses, rather than cut the character into pieces because of the limitations of using Photoshop for the animation. Having the full poses is going to be less work for a simple exercise. If I had decided to cut the drawing into pieces then I would use Flash, After Effects, or Illustrator to complete the animation because these programs have more tools to make this process more efficient. Once the animation is to my liking, it's time to edit in the sound and background music.


For editing you can use After Effects, Premiere Pro, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or any other editing program that you're comfortable with. For sound effects you can usually find free ones online, get free sound effects at school if it's for educational purposes, you could record your own, or purchase it. The same goes for background music. As you edit your work, you may want to add visual effects and transitions to further enhance the film. It's probably a good idea to use these sparingly.


Now that you have your film created, be sure to render out an uncompressed version. This will be your highest quality version, and then you can render out different formats for the web, HD video, or a small movie file suitable to showing to everyone!

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