CONCEPT

My passion is to draw girls and all kind of classic themes such as cowboys, pirates, detectives and sci-fi characters. When it was time to think about a subject for my final film project, I knew I wanted to make an animation with a girl involved in it.  So I decided making a film noir animation using a girl as the main character. I made several illustrations to explore and help me out finding the mood the story would have.

After creating my own vision of the character I started with a reference research: shapes, colors, artists, characters and movies. Then I mergeg the new ideas with the initial concepts.

At this point, I knew I wanted the tie of the girl to be a focal point using color. I also decided to use a strong silhouette by making her hips big. Then came along a lot of study, sketches and color tests of the antagonist.

CHARACTERS

After some tweaks and sketches the characters were almost ready to go. Just changed shapes on the girl and improved colors.

The idea was to have a strong contrast of silhouettes between both characters so it would be readable on the animation stage.

STORYBOARD-ANIMATIC-LAYOUT

While the characters were on development, the idea was being boarded. At this point, I start putting the story together with every scene I consider is necessary for the story to be told, as I want. 

Therefore, you start making decisions of the cuts, transitions, and camera movements.

The storyboard was going fast, except for some issues with the ending. I felt it wasn't clear enough. So after the rest of the board was almost done, my main attention now was on the end. With feedback from my instructors I kept making changes: adding more poses to scenes, re-thinking the camera angle of some of the shots, deleting entire scenes and adding new ones.

The storyboard is approved and then comes the Animatic. At this stage you put together the storyboard as a video with each panel and for the first time you can watch it playing as a movie. 

You start making timing adjustments on the length of every scene and how fast they cut.

Once your Animatic is working perfectly you start the process of making the layout of every scene. This goes from background design to character layout poses. 

Here are some examples of the BG-layouts on scenes 06 and 07.

Now the same scenes 06 and 07 but with the character layout poses.

ROUGH AND CLEAN ANIMATION

At this point all the scenes with their own layout were approved.

In the rough animation stage, I wanted to work with the keys and breakdowns as much as possible, figuring out how I could express the emotion of the scene without having to spend a lot of time in the clean up stage doing a lot of in betweens. 

The idea was to make the scene as fluid as possible playing with a lot of breakdowns. Here is when I realized the ''magic'' of animation happens on the breakdowns. 

Below is the rough animation of scene 10.

After the rough animation is done, I moved on to the clean up stage. I decided to used a ''Thick and Thin'' style of clean up. For it, I used a 3B 'STAEDTLER'' for the entire film and a pen-brush for some close ups.

DIP LAB (COLORING STAGE)

With every drawing of every scene cleaned up, the animation was done and officially I had a short film with 12 scenes ready to be paint. The period for coloring the entire short film was about 1 month.

For the coloring, I had to scanned every piece of drawing into Toon Boom and then start painting drawing by drawing. At the same time I was coloring the backgrounds of every scene in Photoshop.

After the entire animation was painted and all the backgrounds were done; I composed every scene in After Effects. The reason of using this program is because I'm able to tweak things around and start merging the colors of the whole short film as one piece.

I did a color correction to every scene, put blur in fast actions and also some camera movements.

Below is a demo of the compositing in scenes 09 and 12.

The gun she is using was done in 3D by my friend Fabián Vargas. I then animated the gun acording to the scene. Is not as easy as it could seem but it was a fun experiment. I gave the gun a 2D shader look. 

EXTRAS

Some random funny frames from the shortfilm.

THANKS FOR READING!