As the culmination of all the skills learned this year in Freestyle, we were given the chance to design our own end-of-year project in our Elective classes, to:
“find, explore, or expand our passion”
Throughout the year in Animation, I struggled to maintain a balance between good quality work and pressuring myself just enough to meet this. When I started planning this project, I realized that animation was starting to become something tedious and monotonous, as if it were a 9-5 job. I wanted to take this opportunity to learn to have fun with animation again, so I limited my workload as much as possible while still trying to have a clear objective I wanted to work towards.
Because I used a very low frame rate and choppy animation during the Narrative and Documentary Animation projects in order to expand the length of animations and simplify the workload, my goal this project was to learn how to do the opposite:
Learn how to create fluid, consistent animations
I first started by referencing and learning from a variety of youtube animators, such as memedokies, Alex Grigg, Eupholie.
I decided to focus on two techniques: animating by key frames and inbetweens, and using a copy and trace technique from animator Tonico Pantoja’s video.
Technique 1: There are two ways of animating by hand: one is by drawing each frame in a chronological order (drawing frame 1, then frame 2, then 3, etc.), and the other is by drawing important frames/poses first, then creating more frames in between these poses for a more fluid movement.
Technique 2: To make my characters more consistent in their proportions, I used a copy-and-trace technique to take one pose, copy it and adjust it to the next key pose, and then trace over it.
I made some character designs of what I wanted to animate:
I recorded some silly sound effects with my friends Star S and Rye D to add to the animations later, then I began to actually animate.
Here are the three animations I put together:
I started with the guinea-pig-bee animation, but partly because of the time crunch and also because I was barely getting used to key-framing, it is too fast and feels off. I then moved to the flower animation, and I was able to practice in-betweening more, able to get more accurate frames. Then I animated the owl-cat. A way to improve this would be to improve the timing of it so that it reads more clearly (pausing at the anticipation moments, going faster in less important moments).
Since I only had two weeks to do this project, I am relatively satisfied with what I was able to accomplish. I had a lot of fun recording in the studio with my friends, as well as coming up with character designs, and the animation was somehow relaxing. I wish I had more time to make an animation of the catfish-lizard and to color everything, or to do some human animation to practice more complicated movements.
For the last project of the year in English class, we were instructed to craft a Lyrical Essay.
But what even is a lyrical essay?
It’s a form of writing with much freedom: it doesn’t really need to have a structure, has poetic elements and a bit of song-like-rhythm, but it also has the traditional essay’s element of research and even a works cited page.
I had a difficult time deciding what to write on. My first idea was to write about PTSD, but I thought it was much too dark and didn’t think I’d be able to go through reading it in front of the whole class. Then I moved to Sonnambulism, but slowly that turned into Night Terrors and Sleep Paralysis. In the end, I used these topics to create a metaphor for PTSD. It was very emotionally taxing to write, but I felt like it was unavoidable so I pushed through anyways.
I also challenged myself writing-wise, because my style tends to run on the longer side. I wanted to make something dense but short, and I think I was able to achieve that.
It’s quite a short read, but make sure to read the footnotes!
A music project??!!
For someone who plays piano, this seemed like a really exciting opportunity. It was really overwhelming at first, though, because I’d never attempted to compose anything before. It seemed to require a lot of improvisation, which has always scared me a bit, so this was a very good opportunity to get out of my comfort zone.
I struggled so much trying to think of what kind of music I wanted to create, and how i could do it. I began by trying to imitate some pieces that I liked, but I couldn’t settle on what to imitate or what instrument to start with. Finally, after a while, I just began by creating a simple drum line, then added a melody, and added more lines from here.
I decided to make a series of four short pieces based on the four seasons of the year, each with completely different moods and melody, in order for me to experiment in as many styles of music as possible.
My inspirations ranged from Louie Zong’s silly songs to Twosetviolin’s Fantasia soundtrack to Howl’s Moving Castle Sountrack. My favorite track is Fall, perhaps because as a piano player I am really biased and cannot resist its alluring tone.
I learned how to create and edit notes using many virtual instruments:
So here are my four pieces! Enjoy: