While many of us celebrated the new year with food and drink, many high school seniors (and their families for that matter) spent hours and days up to the new year working on something called College Applications. Granted, not every high school student entertains college applications up until the very last minute; many wish to knock it out as quickly as possible. But for those of us who have a tendency to procrastinate (or don’t find our work complete until the deadline arrives), working until the last minute is part of our work method.
This was not unfamiliar for my sister as she labored over her application essays throughout her winter break. It was a strange experience to be removed from the college application process this time around, watching my younger sibling as she wade through all the papers, forms, and word documents. She’s decided to apply to quite a handful of universities, though the one of particular interest for this post is Tufts University.
Within their application is an optional section, which asks for a one-minute video that shows more about who you are. Upon reading the prompt, my parents and sister excidetely picked it up and ran to me for advice (as if I had any knowledge or experience of what to do). Unknowingly, I got sucked into the discussion and came out with the task of animating a one-minute video about rowing. As enthusiastic as I was about the idea, animating a one-minute 2D short (something 3D was out of the question) became an increasing challenge as the days wore on. It became quickly apparent that drawing each frame with an understanding of timing and movement was something I was not experienced in at all.
Since it was my official first time animating anything 2D, I spent many hours at the beginning of the project acclimating myself to how Adobe Flash worked. There are many artists that I admire who use Flash in their works (ie, animator Ryan Woodward’s Thought of You, and artist John Su), so I continuously referenced their works for inspiration. Aware of the fact that I was on an extremely tight deadline and that this wasn’t going to be a submission for an Academy Award for animation (lol…) I decided to cut any fancy perspective drawings and limited color to only one or two at a time. itzhakkim recently showed me BirdBox‘s animation shorts and was instantly in love with their simplicity and short n’ sweet executions. I was not entirely a fan of how all the characters end up in great pain or dead, but I suppose that’s part of their humor (their 3 Olive Vodka commercials, however, are quite amusing).
I ended up finally drawing over 1000 frames over the course of four days. My sleep schedule eventually became lopsided (I worked as my family slept and slept as my family worked), but I enjoyed every second of it (not counting the constant desire to fall asleep). It was immense fun learning how to use Flash successfully and finally end up with a project that was mildly OK. There are definitely hundreds of things I would love to improve on (especially the water sequences, ew!), but only time would have allowed me to add more frames and make flourishes more smooth, which ended up being something I didn’t have.
The overall process took ~60 hours, including story boarding, script-writing, pre-recording, post-recording edits, preliminary animation blocking, final animations, and video/sound editing. Though it ended up being a pretty taxing marathon, I learned so much from the project and hope to do more smaller projects with Flash in the future.