Let me tell you a story

In conjunction with our cut paper animated story, we watched several YouTube videos about story-telling.  From Bloop Animation were a series of story-telling structure tips used by Pixar. The basic structure that Pixar uses in their stories is…

Once a upon a time there was a _____________ and everyday _____________. One day _____________. Because of that _____________, because of that _____________, until finally _____________.

Fill in the blanks and you have a story to tell with structure.

Another good video from Chris Do has five ways of thinking of story-telling.

  1. Conflict – you have a Character with a want/desire and an obstacle to overcome
  2. Subject reality VS Objective reality and the conflict that causes
  3. Normal reality followed by some sort of explosive event and the resulting new reality
  4. Delay the story resolution. Drag it out for as long as you can
  5. Make DRAMATIC what ever the story is about. Exaggerate, make whatever it is, life or death (whether or not it is)
Let me tell you a story

Today: Cut paper animated story

Using stop-motion photography, the students will develop a story (write it down), storyboard the story (draw it out in six frames), develop the set(s) and characters (draw them/it out), produce the set(s) and characters (cut them out of colored paper) and finally begin shooting a 1 minute animation (720 frames). It is a process.  This should occupy us for the next couple of days.

Today: Cut paper animated story

Head down/Nose to the grindstone/No crying in animation!

Well, all the cel animation assignments have been given.

  • Perpetual Bouncing Ball
  • Perpetual Double Ball Bounce
  • Descending Energy Bouncing Ball
  • Overlapping Action Pendulum Double Ball Swing
  • Cartoon Self Portrait Rotation (with Expression change)
  • Walk Cycle
  • Run Cycle
  • Jump Cycle
  • Walk, Run, Jump with Gag animation
  • (to do later…) Cartoon Self-portrait Lip Sync intro
  • Free animation to anyone needing more to do

We are deep into slugging through all the cels it will take to create a few pitiful seconds of glorious animation magic. This is not the fun part. The drawing of each cel is soul-sucking process – or so it seems. It is shear work, persistence and determination to get through it all. The animations are looking good, from what I have seen. We have been working with a new set of equipment and software and we have discovered several bugs that have caused problems. But, we have been trouble-shooting as we go along. If we make good progress on getting most of the cel projects done today, we might be able to go downtown to the Farmers Market on Saturday. We’ll see.

We will tidy up all the cel animations during week two, but we will move into stop-motion photography animation next week.

Head down/Nose to the grindstone/No crying in animation!


We continued working on cel animations yesterday. The class has been developing a cartoon self-portrait and after watching a video about cartooning, everyone is working to draw their cartoon selves in 10 different positions. Once strung together in Photoshop, the drawings will create cartoon head that rotates 360 degrees. We will ultimately lip sync audio to this cartoon head too. Fun!

Along with the animated cartoon self-portrait, the students are working on the descending energy bouncing ball, and the pendulum double ball swing.

We watched former Disney animator, Aaron Blaise draw animations on traditional paper cels as well as draw a jumping bear on the computer (using TV Paint Animator Pro 11).

Today, we are going to watch more cartoon cheap tricks and formulas and move into the walking, running and jump of a cartoon figure. We have sacrificed a lot of animation paper in three days.