Go Animate!

EIGHT STEP PRODUCTION PLANNER

It’s almost time to stop watching and start animating. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” says Tim Argall. ”That’s how you’ll learn. That’s how we all learn.”

STEP 1 - STORY 

Use the Story Generator to come up with a simple story idea for a 2 minute animated film. On paper it should be a maximum of 2 pages and it shouldn't take more than two minutes to read. Tell your story to a friend and use their feedback to refine it. *Tip: Lip sync is difficult to animate - so try to avoid dialogue. Tell your story with a narrative voice over, or no voice at all if possible.

Keep your story as simple as possible.  Remember that long pauses are key parts of storytelling. Take a look at these examples of simple stories well told. 

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STEP 2 - CONCEPT ART & DESIGN 

Make a list of all the elements your story will need: the characters, the set (or location) and the props (specific items needed). Try to design each one so they feel like they belong together. *Tip: Do simple designs that will animate easily. Think about how they will move in your story and choose a design style supports the action. 

STEP 3 - STORYBOARD 

Divide your story into separate shots and then draw rough storyboard frames that clearly capture the story point of each shot. If there is action in a shot do enough drawings to show it clearly. 

STEP 4 - ANIMATIC 

Edit your storyboard frames together - assigning each shot enough screen time to convey the story point of the shot. Add guide voices and sound effects and refine your edit until your story comes across clearly. 

STEP 5 - SHOT LIST 

Name and number each shot and use your animatic to work out each shot's duration. eg. SHOT-01_Outside house [8 seconds]. 

STEP 6 - ANIMATE 

Before you start animating: Think about WHO your character is. Are they young or old, athletic or weak, heavy or slight? HOW do they feel in this moment? Happy or angry, calm or freaked out? Act out the action. Feel the rhythm in the timing. Work out which part is fast and which bit is slow. Look at your storyboard again and roughly plan your poses on paper. Note which poses are held the longest. Now you are ready - go animate! *Tip: It helps a lot to record your acting and study the timing. 

STEP 7 - EDIT 

As you complete each shot, test it by inserting it into your animatic edit. Keep building your edit until you've replaced all your storyboard frames with animated shots. 

STEP 8  - SOUND DESIGN 

Star Wars creator George Lucas says that 'sound is half of the experience' so take time to get your sound just right. Replace your rough animatic audio with carefully considered recordings of voices, sound effects and music that will best communicate your story. 

When you’re finished your final film, upload it to YouTube and then share your animation with our Facebook group, to stand a chance to have your animation screened at the 2020 Cape Town International Animation Festival in partnership with Comic Con Cape Town. More info here.