Project Overview
Illustrator | AfterEffects | Motion Design
This animation was a group project I worked on together with Ashley Widlund. We created an animation based on the concept of “educating/explaining the user/consumer”. In other words, it's a How To video, or a video explaining why, what, and/or how something is. 

The parameters for the animation are: Approx. 1-2 minutes | Size: 1920px x 1080px | Must have an audio track
Final Product
1. Beginning (The Problem)
State/Explain the problem
Bring up a point
Start a conversation
2. Middle (The Facts/Solutions/How to Do It)
Show facts that support problem statement
Tell stories (snippets) where you can
Transition between topics wisely
3. End (Call to Action)
Sum up your points
Direction viewer
Create an action item
B&W Pencil Storyboard Sketches
For the storyboard we tried to add some light humor in it. Near the end, there is a cat chasing a rat who hits its face into the wall. It was meant to show cats and rats not getting along (referring to the history of the Chinese Zodiac).
My Visual Style Progress
My main focus was trying to find the right amount of textures/patterns for each character. It was challenging to decide what kind of color scheme to go with, but since this was still part of the ideation process I just played around with colors/textures/patterns.
This is the rat. Starting from the left, there’s a plain grey colored rat with no textures/patterns. Sometimes simplicity is better, but I also thought what if I used an actual photo of rat fur. Kind of interesting, but some of the black lines get lost in the photo (i.e. eyes, whiskers). Then I found a fur-like texture brush on Brusheezy and painted the rat with grayish colors. In all honesty, I feel like the fur-like paint brush is the most effective.
Next up are some designs for a room. The first image shows a carpet in the room. I felt that the room needed something else to better display it was a living room. The other design only has a pattern on the floor. The wood-like brush effect has over 12 different patterns so, I was playing around with all the brushes. Some of the patterns are more difficult to see than others though.
This is the ox. In the top right this ox is just solid plain colors. I even added some shadows to give it depth. Anyway, at the bottom-left, this ox has the fur-like brush effect. It’s kind of difficult to tell but I also used the effect on its tail. The last one the fur-like texture is only on the tail. My thinking for this was what it might look like if only small parts of the animal had textures.
For the Chinese Emperor, I tried to find colors that would suit an emperor. I even added different textures/patterns.
Ashley's Visual Style Progress
"I wanted to focus on keeping all of the characters in the same sort of theme/texture so it all goes together, so that everything would be unified. I wanted to make everything simple, so there are lots of basic shapes, along with softer curves. For textures, the inspiration that I was thinking about is an old children’s book, so I tried more of a grainy texture to show some age to the characters."
"I started out by drawing out the emperor, trying to keep it as simple as possible with giving the idea that he is a noble figure."
Final Character Designs

Vector Designs

Designs with Textures Applied

Digital Storyboard Frames
Audio Script
Ashley and I revised our script several times before starting the B&W visual storyboard. In the beginning, the script was about four minutes long. That was too lengthy, and we needed to shorten it. We followed a basic script structure (seen to the right) provided by the professor. Eventually, we managed to get our script to be 1 minute and 41 seconds long. 
Audio Script With Time Notes
[] According to the Chinese New Year calendar this year 2020, is the year of the rat. 
[] Next year will be the year of the ox and so continues the zodiac cycle for each new year. 
[] You probably know of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals. 
[] But most of you probably never heard of the cat. 
[] What ever happened to the cat? 
[] And why wasn’t he included as a member of the Chinese Zodiac?   
[] Long ago in China there was a Jade Emperor, who invited all the animals in the world to compete in the Great Race. 
[] This race was a swimming competition. 
[] The first 12 animals to cross the fast-flowing river were rewarded with a year named after them.
[] At the start of the race the animals lined up along the river bank. 
[] The rat and the cat were very good friends. 
[] And neither of them were strong swimmers. 
[] So they used their wits and asked the kind ox to carry them across the river. 
[] The ox was in the lead and about to win the race. 
[] Just then the rat pushed the cat off of the ox, and leapt across the finish line to win. 
[] The poor little cat struggled to swim to the river bank, but was swept downstream by the strong current. 
[] As the cat moved farther downstream, the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig successfully crossed the river before the cat. 
[] With that the race ended. 
[] And from that day to now, the Chinese Zodiac has followed this cycle of years named after the 12 animals. 
[] As for the cat, he managed to crawl out of the river and crossed the finish line. 
[] Unfortunately, it was too late to get a year named after him. 
[] The cat was engulfed by an undying rage, and ever since then cats have never been on good terms with rats. 
[] Now that you have a better insight about the missing 13th Chinese Zodiac member, how do you feel about the cat? 
[] Do you think he should’ve received a year named after him?   
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