Zenith is the biggest Freestyle Academy project where we use the skills we have learned these past two years and create something extraordinary. We have complete freedom over what we choose to do and are persuaded to reach towards the stars and take our ambition and make them a reality.

For my Zenith, I chose to create an animated short, much like my previous narratives. There will be no dialogue, only symbolism. I hope to experiment with a different style than my previous works. I would like to make my animation appear to have a sort of watercolor sketchy aesthetic. I hope to dedicate it to my parents and better show my artistic skills. I may also compose a song to use for my animation, but that is if time permits me to do so.

In Zenith we are supposed to challenge ourselves to take risks. I believe I am taking a risk, not only in the length of this project, but in challenging my artistic skills and normal style.. I am also challenging myself to use new programs and incorporate the little music skills which I have obtained from digital media.

The basis of my story for my animation is that there is a girl who gives up her dreams in order to pay back her parents and allow her future daughter to pursue her own dreams. Here is my script for my animation:


To better visualize what may happen, here is my rough story board for my project:



To begin this project, I first started off by creating some backgrounds and the stills I am hoping to incorporate into this film. To do this, I used Adobe Photoshop. With this program, I am able to take advantage of the layers and brushes to create a sort of sketchy feel to it. A big part of the backgrounds is taking perspective into account which I attempted to do to create them.

Here is my interface in photoshop. The red lines are the basics of the room. The square in the back being the furthest wall. The blue lines are part of the perspectives of the objects which I will add such as a window and a fire place. The green are the perspective lines for the wood flooring.
A sketch of the room from the perspective above.

While doing my backgrounds, I also worked on my animatic which is essentially the story board, along with some key frames, put into a video in order to check the timing and sequencing of everything. Below is a picture of my interface for the first scene of my project.

Here you can see my use of layers. This scene is essentially a still with some snow falling and the smoke moving which I animated in photoshop. The purple layers on the timeline show that they are video layers, if they were blue, it would mean that they are still image layers.
Picture above is a still that I am going to incorporate into both my animatic and my animation. Here you can see the sketchy water color feel I am hoping to explore.

Although it’s not completely finished, one of my favorite parts of my animation was my attempt at animating a time-lapse. In our animation class, we haven’t really experimented with actions happening with abnormal timing. Therefore, in the creation of this time-lapse, I felt that I was able to learn a lot about the manipulation of time and am happy that I challenged myself to do so.

A picture of my interface in the time-lapse file. Here you can see the multiple layers that came into creating movement. Each layer is a different thing happening, as in a different person entering, doing something, and exiting.

To create my time-lapse, I would essentially start with a simple drawing of someone standing. In time-lapses, the motions in walking don’t necessarily matter, and so I chose to ignore those motions. I would key frame my drawing to start far off screen and then put them in their final position only a few frames from the first in order to create the speed. I would then have them linger there, sit down, or do something else for a few frames (still less than a second) and then have them exit. Despite still being rough, I’m proud of how it essentially turned out.

Here is the roughs of my time-lapse and what I was able to accomplish in the time we had for our Zenith.

Final Product

Originally I had planned to create a final clean animation showcasing my story, however, due to time constraints and the busy schedule that I suddenly had, I was not able to accomplish as much as I had wished. My product ended up being simply the roughs, almost like animatic. I was slightly disappointed in the work that I had at the end, however, I will continue to work on it in the future.