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‘My Deer’ - Process

As I’ve mentioned in the previous post, I have plenty of ideas. From the list of ideas in the back of my head, I pull the idea that would work best with each media.

For my Screenwriting class this semester, I needed to make a 1-minute movie of still images. I thought that this would be a great idea to use in my portfolio because it has the same basic principles of an animatic— without the animation. My Deer was not a project I really wanted to spend too much time on unlike Faeryland: The Defeat of the Troll King, Dragon's Lament, or most of my other projects. I always intended for My Deer to be a short storyboard project like Mr. Miacca, but I hadn't wanted to start another project before I finished the others. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to finish this project and it was.

Storyboarding is the act of drawing sequential images. It is basically the precursor to a movie. This is how a director plans the events. An animatic has a little bit of animation for an animated film. The director of an animated film oversees the making of the storyboard and animatic before they even start on the final film. However, these days the storyboard and animatic can be in process until the end of the film. The scenes everyone is happy with will get animated first. So as this was just a still image movie— it's not really an animatic, but it wouldn't be too hard to get there from where it is now.

The first step of My Deer was to draw the storyboard:

First, I drew light sketches to get everything down with a pencil— without looking at anatomy. Then, I went back in with references to make the anatomy correct. Making the sketches first ensures you are not copying the references. When you look at the reference, you want to look at more than one image at a time to again— not copy what you see. This ensures the final product is actually your work and not someone else's. For example, the first image I initially drew:

Did not even have legs. I drew a light triangle to represent legs. I went back in with a thicker lined pencil and defined the legs. Then, I went over it again in ink— without looking back at the reference. When you are looking at reference, you are trying to understand— not copy what you see. For example, I learned that deer legs are similar to a dog's legs. It is more about learning and understanding then it is to get the image perfect at this stage. If I was doing a full graphic novel or even many illustrations of a deer, then I would sketch the legs many, many times before I even started on the final images. For my purposes, this is the final image of the storyboard.

Then I added music. My ability to make music is very limited as I don't know how to play an instrument— any instrument. I can sing and have an ear for it, but that's it. I am limited to what I can find for royalty-free loops. Luckily for me, there is a LOT out there. I generally go for, but I also found some forest sounds on When I look for music, I generally have a good idea of what I want something to sound like. I then, just go searching until I find it. Then I combine the loops into a music-making software. I have a Mac, so GarageBand is free. I just combine the loops, shorten them, only keep certain pieces, or rearrange them. This is what the GarageBand file for My Deer looks like.

It just takes some work and playing around to get it sound like I want it to.

Then to make the movie, I combined everything into iMovie because, again, it was free. The software also has some background sound effects, so I utilized those. It was mostly an easy process after I found a decent tutorial on Youtube. Every software gets updates and hides stuff, so sometimes I need a refresher. I had to search for the patch tool in Photoshop CC the other day because they hid it away. Updates are great for the most part, but I do need a refresher when a software hides things for the sake of simplicity.

iMovie has lots of transitions, ways to edit zooming in on things, sound effects, backgrounds, and titles. It had everything I needed to make this project look decent.

Soon enough, the project was done. I think it turned out well. At least, it was better than I had hoped to be finished in two days. I want to add a little animation in later, but I'll have to hold on that until at least Hot Air Balloons is done— which will be when I get the accessory I ordered for my iPad.

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