The process of developing a short Animated Movie

Turning my sisters traumatic war story into a reflective animation piece. 

Animation student Ayah Ebaid was given the assignment brief to “produce a short film in which you obtain a voice recording to get ideas for the Animation”. “We were told that we had a lot of freedom when it came to the assignment and that we were supposed to be as imaginative as possible. I had my sister do a couple of recordings about her experience in Palestine which is how I got the idea of my film “Higher Ground.” I thought it would be a good story to tell, and I had the freedom of telling it whichever way I wanted.”

We sat down with Ayah to find out more about the process behind the making of her film “Higher Ground”. 

“When developing a film there’s a lot to think about. Planning it is the biggest step. Then setting everything up and doing thumbnails or storyboards is also extremely helpful. Plan your time and how much effort is needed put in a short film.

One big inspiration for my video was “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi. I loved how simple her style was and how well it worked with her real-life events story. The style plays a very big role in telling a story so I had to decide what would best suit the traumatic experience that my sister went through. I did a lot of research after which I then established that I would be using two different styles to tell my animation. 

One technique I chose to use was rotoscoping in order demonstrate the realness of the story. This technique was mostly at parts where she was narrating her story which then I decided to use warm colours to illustrate that its occurring in the present time and to sort of give her some closure to what had occurred. Another technique I used was frame by frame animation in which I used a darker palette to convey a much sadder feel. I thought it would be best to have really lose and sketchy images for my animation. 

Throughout the process, I mostly used the Wacom tablet to draw on Adobe Photoshop and then brought all the frames that I drew into After Effects in which some editing were done. I also did my own reference videos to get a realistic feel to it. 

However, I had limited time to draw the number of frames I was aiming for. So instead I used a lower frame rate, which still told my story but not as well as I wanted it to. Another difficulty was getting reference videos of buildings burning, or real life events that happened in Palestine which was especially hard for me to watch.”

Congratulations Ayah on this beautiful piece of work. 

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