Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Senior Project Written Stuff

Hey everyone I just finished writing up my stuff for senior project and I'd love some comments/critiques. Thanks guys!

Working Title: Sleepyhead Pond

Format: Digital symbol based 2-D animation

Length: 00:01:15

Theme: Child's imagination and the simple beauty of nature

Objective: To create a piece that sells itself on aesthetic and to learn more about Flash and After Effects.

Synopsis: A young boy's imagination turns exploring a pond into a trip into whimsical and wonderful world.

Producer & Director: Daniel Woodling

Crew: TBA


A young boy sat lazily on a porch of an old Victorian house as the summer sun beats down. The backyard is fill to the brim with yellowed, dead grass and a pond surround by reeds and cottontails that are greener than a fresh granny smith apple. Just as the boy sighs, an oddly shaped frog as it leaps from under the stairs towards the pond. The boy, curious of the strange creature, begins to follow the frog and leaps on all fours just like him. As he follows the frog, they are eventually blocked from view by reeds, grass and cottontails. He then emerges from the reeds now miniature and riding the frog which is now more than three times his height. While riding the frog, he notices a woodlouse as it skitters along the ground making it's way towards the water too before veering away. As he nears closer to the water, the boy has a conversation with a bright blue dragonfly that hovers close and then jets off as the frog reaches the end of the pond. The frog then enters the water and swims past a group of minnows just barely skimming the surface of the pond heading towards a group of lily pads. As he arrives at the pads, he comes to a slow stop where he nudges the boy off onto the most grandiose lily pad of the group. The boy then scans the now vibrant and shimmering world of the pond and smiles as he closes his eyes. His relaxing moment is then interrupted by the ringing of a dinner bell. The boy is ankle deep in the pond and where he makes a quick jolt back towards the house. As he reaches the porch, he looks back at the pond and smiles.

Story Beats:

  1. The boy sits lazily on the porch.

  2. The boy scans the backyard.

  3. We see the backyard.

  4. The boy sighs.

  5. The frog jumps out from underneath the stairs.

  6. The boy notices the frog as it hops toward the pond.

  7. The boy starts to follow the frog, hopping along with him.

  8. Plant life obscures our view.

  9. The boy appears again, now miniature and riding the giant frog.

  10. The boy takes notice of his size and the size of the frog as it hops toward the water.

  11. The boy looks to the right of the frog.

  12. The boy spots a woodlouse.

  13. The woodlouse scurries along under the eye of the boy.

  14. The woodlouse veers into the reeds.

  15. The boy now looks to the left and then finally to the back as we see the frog near the water more.

  16. The boy spots something and ducks.

  17. A giant dragonfly jets by.

  18. The dragonfly turns around and hovers near the boy.

  19. The boy smiles and tries to touch the dragonfly.

  20. The dragonfly speeds away.

  21. The frog now enters the water and starts to swim.

  22. The frog passes over a group of minnows as they skim the surface.

  23. The frog continues over to a group of lily pads.

  24. The frog bumps the boy off onto the biggest pad.

  25. The boy gains his foot on the pad.

  26. The boy looks around at the world of the pond as it shimmers in the evening sun.

  27. The boy smiles and closes his eyes.

  28. The sound of a dinner bell starts to ring.

  29. The boy is now standing ankle deep in the pond.

  30. The boy looks around and then makes a dash towards the house.

  31. The boy then runs up the stairs and turns around to face the backyard.

  32. The boy looks back at the pond in the setting sun.

  33. The Boy then smiles and goes into the house.


The aesthetic treatment will draw from simple and flat designs that rely on color and shape with overlaid hand painted textures. Inspiration came from several different sources:

  • The Secret of Kells ( Extremely flat design and an emphasis on texture

  • Eric Carle ( For flat design that uses traditional media and color to create textures

  • Gianna Ruggiero ( For her simple characters have a great textural emphasis while also using after effects to composite textures

  • Lou Romano ( For his use of shape, color and texture in his illustrations

  • Mary Blair ( For extremely flat design with an emphasis on blocks of color.

    These artist all have a simple design aesthetic that work to quickly establish a character's motivations and personality. Using clean and simple shapes helps to further the theme because the story takes place from the simple and childish perspective of the boy. Also having a simple character design will help to quickly establish the personality of the boy and the creatures he meets which is a plus considering that the film is short. These characters will rely heavily on the use of the pen tool because it will allow for clean, simple shapes because they can be easily translated into Flash and also work to create an easy to ready silhouette.

    Because the film will rely on mostly symbol based animation, the characters will limited in their actions much like the stylized shorts of UPA. This simple way of animating connects directly to the childish nature of the short. Another reason for using symbols is that the process is better suited for the time frame.

    The lighting scheme will be extremely limited with light only being used to highlight certain important elements when needed. Limiting the lighting scheme flattens the image and links the boy's imagination to the visual aesthetic. As the story progresses the lighting changes from mid day to sunset in order to show the passage of time and also create a more whimsical feeling while the boy is in his world of imagination.

    The textural elements will be hand painted samples so that the film that combines both traditional media and digital media. This combination makes use of a contrast between the natural and the digital. The contrast natural and the man made is also a major story point. The boy comes from his home which is unnatural into the natural environment of the pond. Also by overlaying textures, it is a simple fix for keeping a design interesting overall and keeping a style that works to tie both the characters to the environments in one cohesive style.

    Through this film I also wanted to learn certain technical objectives. In working with flash for symbol based animation, I wanted to stretch myself to learn an aspect of animation that has become an industry standard. By working with overlaid textures and depth of field, I wanted to learn more about composting in After Effects.

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