Nathaniel Tong

We started off the studio by watching videos all about food. Videos about dumpster diving, and food made in factories, we noticed that a lot of the videos left us with a negative feeling. We then started to brainstorm about possible topics for our animations.

We decided that we didn’t want to go the industrial/manufactured food route or dive into the future with 3D printing food. We knew what we didn’t want to make an animation about, which made it a lot easier to find the topic we did want to make our animation about.

We wanted to make an animation about slow food and how satisfying it is to grow your own food, nurture your food, then eat it.

First off, we storyboarded the whole video. We did this so we had a plan, and would know how the whole animation would fit together. Our original plan for our story went like this: The beginning of the animation will show the manufactured gross food we eat now. It will look gross, and probably have a few facts on the screen about the gross food we eat. Then it will show the opposite side, and show this guy planting a seed and watching it grow, until he picks it and turns it into soup. This will be beautiful and nothing like the first hunk of the animation. Once the soup is done being made, we will show the screen split; on one side will be the soup guy slurping away and on the other the manufactured food dude is pigging out. The final screen will probably say something like “You ­Choose” or something similar along those lines.

We were then told that it was impossible to animate our story that we had planned out. Our story had characters in every scene, and characters are the hardest to animate.  We decided to filter some of the scenes out of the story, rather than completely starting over.

We then decided that our story would go like this. It starts out with our main character pouring out a can of soup. The soup looks really disgusting, and maintains the can shape. Some of the soup goo flies into his eye. Gross. The Character then “sees the light” as he looks out the window and sees an open field. The light shines on him through the window as he realizes the opportunity. It then shows the character walking out side and he drops a seed. The next frames are watching the seed grow. The character then comes back to the plant, picks it and takes it back home. The next scene we see is the plant (onion) being cut up, and put into a pot. The pot transfers into a bowl, and shows the character happily eating soup. He winks at the end.

After we completed our storyboards, we taped them onto the wall in front of us, so we wouldn’t loose them. Kate started doing some of the drawings on Photoshop, while Nathaniel set up the shots with shapes in Illustrator.

We had a good system. Kate would do the art, and Nathaniel started animating. This way, both of us are working while its fresh in our minds. Once the drawings were finished, we both worked in After Effects on the animation.

We have learned that it is much easier to animate objects than people. We are animating our character with the puppet tool. The puppet tool allows us to put key points on our character. We then manipulate the placing of the key points, which allows us to move the character.  The puppet tool is really awesome, but it is really easy to screw up. It was hard to make the character not look like he was made of rubber. Moving one point might completely warp our characters body. It is completely frustrating when all you want him to do is move his arm, but instead his waist gets twisted up.

We continued animating for days. Once we were done with the animation, we looked for background music. We knew we wanted foreign music, because we didn’t want words to be a distraction from all the animation work we had done. We Googled the top ten foreign songs, and we found our song pretty quickly. Our song worked out extremely well. It was the perfect length, and different sections of the song would come in just when the animation would change. It added a lot the overall zen of the animation.