Firewell

This was my end-of-semester project for Screen Design. First, the video:

The assignment was to give our own interpretation to the start of the new Chinese year of the Fire Rooster. We were told to do some research, shoot or animate a film, with only one restriction: we weren’t allowed to feature the image of a chicken.

Many people chose to do their videos about the turn of the year, from the year of the Monkey to the year of the Rooster, often anthropomorphizing them. Others revolved their projects around fire, and the many forms it can take. And yet others departed farther, taking the concepts as guidelines, for different-er ideas. Such as this.

I decided to take the traits of persistence, dynamism but also restlessness associated with fire in Chinese astrology, and punctuality associated with roosters (the alarm clocks of old). This led my thoughts to our many, many assignments and from there – to the long hours of work animators must dedicate to bringing their drawings to life. And that’s that: the exhausting labour of an animator, whose drawings escape the page to gather around him.

A bit about the process: at first I planned to make it one continuous shot, from front to back, rotating the room in 3D space. My teacher suggested 2D, but I thought I’d at least try. I actually learned how to make 3D sets in the animation software I use and built the table and bookshelves and everything – but when I rotated it the bloody bookshelf just wouldn’t get out of the frame, so I figured it would be best to go on in 2D (I realised I could fade it out later, but 2D is just generally simpler and therefore slightly more sane). Here are the concept art pictures I made:

From a technical standpoint, the animations are obviously unfinished. Most have only key-frames, and I would’ve liked to add more frames in-between – for the man and woman, specifically. Also the elephants walk is wrong. Then again, the whole point is that they’re animations – so any problems are the in-video animators fault, not mine; and thus I escape criticism! Muhaha.

The music is “L’s theme” from the alright anime with the brilliant soundtrack Death Note, and possibly the most famous character theme in anime. I had to edit it a bit to get the right length, but hopefully you can’t notice the cut.

And finally, there was also the first version I showed in class. It was longer, too long, in fact, so as per the teachers suggestion I shortened the second shot and added a title. I had to cut some of the animations, but I wasn’t very happy with them anyway. Nevertheless, I thought it might be of interest, so you can watch it here:

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