This is my Junior Degree Project that I worked over the Spring semester at RISD. I got the original concept of creating a cutout animation for art made with a single sheet of paper and the stratastencil technique.
I wanted the animation to have a dream like quality exploring the reality and space in which the dream exists and felt that the cutout technique fit this idea. Color was another consideration that I built into the design of the animation to help enhance the dreamlike qualities of the film. From here the idea grew and as I did studies involving birds, umbrellas, water, trees, and other things I was able to refine my idea and break it down to find the core essentials of the film.
Once I had my subject matter down and I was able to start animating. Most of the animation is hand drawn (the tree was drawn by hand then animated in Adobe After Effects). Once I had the animation drawn, I filled it all in with black marker, shot it, and brought it into Adobe After Effects and ran an auto trace on it to create that cutout effect.
To create the final look of the film, I started with a basic mockup frame that I used to make rough style frames and an animatic with. Later applying the animation over the animatic to create a fine cut, while using it to do render tests and get a feel of how the workflow was going to work out. From there I made the final frame and created 7 colored backings for it, which I swapped out while hanging the frame in different places on the wall. I lit the frame to give it the shadows in the image and used these pictures later, compositing them together so that they were all hanging on the wall at the same time.
After that it was matter of compositing in all the animation, adding a drop shadow to the paper to make it flow better with the look and feel of the frame, and lots of rendering.
For the sound I partnered with a student from the Berklee School of Music in Boston named John Nolan. I explained to him what I was looking for and through different sound tests and experiments he was able to narrow down specific instruments to use. With every edit to the sound I would provide some notes, feedback and things I thought would help add to the sound as well as strengthen the animation. John took those ideas and applied them with other elements to create a really beautiful final soundtrack.
All of this came together over a 12 week period to create this final film. Feel free to comment and enjoy!