When creativity is lost and found

Animating an original story

During my internship I had an ongoing project next to my daily tasks. This project was creating an original story and executing it, this included, but was not limited to, creating the original synopsis, drafting scripts, character and background designs, color design, storyboarding and animating. The story is about a little girl named Sammy who lives in a monochrome world where creativity is forbidden. When she attempts to bring color, and creativity in her life, she is apprehended and taken to a factory where children are taken to be made into monochrome adults. Days go by and Sammy becomes more and more miserable and drained. One day she discovers she still has the power to step out of the daily grind, although the factory won’t let her go without a fight.

Since my only previous animation experience was with my Whirling, Melting and Decorative animation I knew I was in for a challenge. This included learning how to do traditional keyframe animation with new digital software and how to animate complex things like emotions and character movements smoothly, through trial and error. Because there were a lot of things I could (and had to) learn my internship supervisor and I came to an agreement that I did not have to finish the animation, but that the focus should be on my learning process. Therefore, the animation is unfortunately not finished (having only animated scenes 33/105) and does not have any music, but I learned so much more this way than if I had to rush a shorter animation. In the future, when my skills are better, I would love to finish this project.


Since I had no previous experience writing synopses and scripts I spend most of my time on the writing aspect of my animation for the first two months. During this time I also started with character and world design, but these had to be changed accordingly to the changing of the synopsis. I wanted to show the contrast of the monochrome adult characters by making their design more square and that of Sammy more fluid. The designs were made relatively simplistic so that animating them would be easier. 

The software used for animating is Clip Studio Paint, with the frame rate set at 12 fps. I made several iterations, by first drafting scenes and after that cleaning the sketch and coloring the scene. While animating I also changed the storyboard accordingly, since you only see if some scenes work when you animate them. This unfortunately included animating scenes, and then not use them. The project so far has, including backgrounds et cetera, close to 700 frames.