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Shelley Bassett

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animation cel of water droplet girl in pastels

Water and Ice


June 30, 2016

2D Traditional Flipbook Animation

Water and Ice is a traditional animation project, presented as both a filp-book and looping film. Drawn in lead pencil and coloured with soft pastels, the final piece contained 272 individual illustrations.

The Story

This is the story of Assana. She was made of water and had long, flowing curves. Assana loved to dance and move in graceful arcs. Each part of her body could be stretched and twisted, making beautiful shapes and unique patterns.

But one day the warm sun that kept her so soft faded. Everything became cold, and she started to turn to ice. Assana fell down, hard. She had never been hard before. She looked at her leg, and it was ice. Then she tried stretching as long as she could be, but her arms were icy too. She started to twirl and spin, but found that she no longer billowed out into a beautiful droplet. Assana began to despair. What if she could never dance again? She started to stumble around, her hardened body not allowing her the grace of movement she once had.

Then, in the distance, a faint glow. Fire. Assana hurried as best she could towards the heat, slowly starting to melt as she approached the flames. So overjoyed that she could move freely again, Assana started dancing around the fire. She moved the kindling, turning it into an extension of herself, before finally throwing it into the air, and letting it replace the sun that was once there.

Design Considerations

The style for this flip-book animation is very fluid and loose, drawing on inspiration from Ryan Woodward’s animations and natural elements like water and ice. The Assana’s dancing is a contemporary style with elements of ballet. However, because Assana is water, many of her movements are hyper-fluid, with limbs extending far beyond the natural point for a human being. Line and form will be especially important when it comes to animating each lyrical step. To keep the emphasis on story and character, the colour pallet for Assana will be reduced to one colour. Shades of blue will fill her hair, dress and body, and any residual droplets she leaves behind. By contrast, the sun and fire will be warm reds, oranges and yellows, helping to extend her movement and allow some play of colour with the dancing and play of movement.

The method of colour plays an important part in choosing paper to animate on. Not only did would the paper have to be strong enough to endure flicking, light enough to be seen through, but also not buckle or bleed when colour is added. To test various papers, the same figure of Assana was drawn on printer paper, water-colour paper, banklayout
paper, marker paper and tracing paper. Coloured pencils, Copic markers, water-colour paints, felt-tip markers and oil pastels were used to add colour. The best combination, fulfilling all the requirements for animation, was oil pastel on bank-layout paper. This can be seen in the large right hand image. However, for simplicity, the storyboards and animatics will be completed in coloured pencil.

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