Sunday, November 05, 2006

Here's the Story

Took me a while to get going, but I got the hang of how I want to make storyboard thumbnail sketches. I have to stop now (noy do I) and am posting as far as I got in the process of creating the first draft of the BnH sequence. Finished color and adjustments to action planned for tomorrow.

Ooooooo. I started late (oops), and began by making several further refined illustrations of the Birds in Hats image posted yesterday (oops). (I plan to post them to Flickr tomorrow and will post a link in case you'd like to see them.) After a couple hours of that, I started in to develop a method of storyboarding my scene (good). The next step was to create a storyboard blank sheet in Quark. It came out nice (great). (I can post a pdf of it tomorrow, in case anyone else could use one for their own project.) I took it into Photoshop, (yeah?) and began to make simplified sketches from the photos and start blocking the elements into the squares in many multiple layers of props and characters. I tweaked and shaped them as needed, each element on its own layer. (sounds complicated) After a bit, it got quicker to do and from now on it should go as swiftly as quick line drawings by hand might, if I could do them (you should try that instead). The cool thing about this method is that now that all the components are set up it is an easy matter to change the timing/action/animation. (ok, that's true) That's always the case with computers I find. It takes a long while to set up initially but revision is a click away. (That's a good point.)

In any case, this was helpful exercise again. It again assisted me greatly to "see" the action in a relative aspect view. I learned from doing the board so far that I need to add hats closer to the nest/box in order to capture the full idea in frame. I learned that the hand mirror will hang on the branch too. I learned that the blue bird has use of the mirror first, before the red bird pops out and scares him into dropping it.

Here's the scene the little dears appear in to help give the action some context:
Scene 3:
(Interior--Cottage Set-Late Afternoon--fade up from black)
Rana enters her cottage placing Kyra, still in the water barrel, down by the over-stuffed easy chair with the snoring cat, Bosq, as she moves to stoke a warm fire in the hearth. Above their heads we hear tiny birds making a ruckus in a lower tree branch inside the cottage as they fuss over decorating their fancy feathered hats. As we are looking up we notice a darting, lithe figure moving through the frame in the canopy of the tree several times. We see the delighted face of Yanu, the moth-man hunter smiling down on us through the open spaces in the cottage roof.
(fade to black)


  1. Anonymous9:58 AM

    Excellent work, Shells! Keep at it! Keep going!

    As I'm seeing this coming together, I begin to think you should maybe take a page out of Grant's book... I still think a storybook storyboard project is going to serve you really well... Once you have all those layers in your photoshop files, though, I could see you doing a further version as Flash animation. Remember how Grant did that animatic in Flash of the books spinning around?

    If you haven't tried it, Flash is relatively inexpensive and VERY easy to learn. I'll say up front that most of the time I don't like Flash animation because it has a pretty recognizable look... But it would be a fantastic way for you to develop your ideas about *motion*.

    I just wrote a little essay about storyboards over on SL that you'll probably see any moment now... One of my assumptions about developing a film through storyboarding is that working with a pen in hand is the easiest place to begin. But you --

    I begin to see another path for developing stories, which is based around your particular skill sets.

    Step 1: collect photo references (done!)

    Step 2: collage the photos, so you can see them all in relation to one another (done!)

    Step 3: photoshop the elements into storyboard panels; add text storybook-style (in progress)

    Step 4: take the photoshop layers and import them directly into Flash; develop your ideas about motion and timing (eh? eh?)

    Anyway... Clearly I'm on a kick about process right now. Just another brainstorm; might be of no use to you; but brainstorms are best shared.

  2. Are you kidding me, Sven?! This is precisely my dream, that we give eachother relevant support and direction.

    I'm way into this boarding process now too and was indeed thinking yesterday while making this that I should indeed make it a roughy rough motion clip. But I never would have tried Flash, thinking it was for PC people only, so now I'll go see about it. If it doesn't pan out, I'll scope out what app would work for this purpose. Worst case, I could use iMovie.

    As you sent your comment here I was raving about your storyboard post on SL! Really good clarification over there!


  3. Anonymous10:52 AM

    I dunno (personally) how you could do animation just using iMovie. What you need is a program that allows you to work with layers, and which accepts photos that have transparent areas. Flash and AfterEffects are the programs that I know can do this on the Mac.

    AfterEffects is more powerful -- but for the kind of project we're talking about, Flash is better suited. Flash is streamlined so that it's quick and easy to do animation. AfterEffects has been used to do cut-out animation (AKA motion graphics) -- e.g. for Blues Clues and the credits for Monsters Inc. -- but I think it's really designed with the special effects industry in mind.

    Bonus: Flash has a number of walk-you-through-it tutorials built right into the program. If you open the box in the morning, I betcha could be making satisfactory, keepable animation clips before bedtime.


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