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The Story of the Chinese Zodiac 

Software Used: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe After Effects

The Chinese New Year is actually a bit more complicated than you think. There are the 12 animals with which we already know. However, there was one that didn't make the cut. So what exactly did happen? This video goes into what actually happened to determine the animals for the New Year. This was a partner project with fellow student, Tia Zimmerman.

Storyboard Sketches

With the script fully written, myself and my partner worked together to create a cohesive storyboard to get a brief idea as of how the imagery will match the script. We created each screen that goes up by 2 seconds. To add a bit of humor to this story, such as the ending with the cat chasing the rabbit. 

Visual Style

Tia's Style

Ashley's/My Style

Storyboard Sketches

After determining which style we wanted to include in our animation, we determined that my visual style is the strongest out of the two. They were clean and simple designs that didn't require too much detail to them.

Since we wanted to play around with different kinds of textures in our designs, we ended up having a textured background and vector images (ex: animals, emperor, etc). 

I went ahead and started designing each of the 12 animals. Along with tweaking the emperor's color scheme to give him that royalty stature.

Pencil Animatic

Before getting into animating, we wanted to get a sense of how our structure of the animation will be. Creating a pencil animatic let us put all of the screens from our storyboard together and make sure we not only can get the timing right, but how each screen visually work.

Digital Storyboard

Now that we have a sense of the overall structure of the animation and how each frame flows, we moved onto our digital storyboard, designing each frame by frame to start the process of finally animating. Tia took on the first half of the storyboard while I took on the second half.

Animation: First 30 Seconds

Now that we have the digital storyboard, we then moved on to the actual animating process. Our biggest struggle that we had was making sure that not only everything was timed, but also the animations seemed smooth and "natural." I took on the first half of the animation while Tia took on the second half.

Animation: Full First Draft

With some minor changes with the first 30 seconds of the animation, we then continued animating the rest of the explainer video. We had to change some styles from our storyboard, especially with the animals moving through the water to race.

Animation: Final Draft

The addition of music helps add to the story and brings the entire animation together. There were a few more adjustments with some of the screens towards the end, we completely got rid of the last scene with the rat in a different setting, and moved it when the cat is sitting along the river. 

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