CSE 456 - Story for Digital Animation

Assignment #2

DUE: Thursday, 7/17 by 5:00 PM

Part One

Select two of the animated shorts below and identify 7 logical steps for each.  Also define an armature statement for each. Remember to create a full sentence to describe the armature and seven steps. Create 7 steps that logically follow one another. Don’t skip any steps or add any steps. Use the language you have been provided for the seven steps. There should only be 7 sentences per story plus a full armature statement.

Feel free to try analyzing more than two of the shorts in order to practice this new skill. You are only required to send in two however. We believe that you will enjoy the shorts we’ve selected. You will, no doubt, find that some of the shorts will be more challenging to analyze than others. The more practice you get, the better you will be at seeing the underlying story structure and being able to apply it in your own work.

Part Two

You will be provided with a specific story to develop with the goal of completing an animatic using the Cinematic Sandbox software.

Your first step will be to review the seven steps and armature you will receive in class. Once you are confident that the steps are complete, you will create a beatsheet. The beatsheet will be used to describe the specific actions for your story in chronological order.

You will then translate the visual aspects of your story and beatsheet into one page of thumbnail drawings. Be sure to number your thumbnails and start from the upper left and create the drawings from left to right down the page. You should have roughly 20 thumbnails on your single page. Your audience should be able to  “read” and understand your story one image at a time.

We will be looking at how the story is presented visually and provide feedback on anything that looks out of place. Is your armature clear and have you proven it? Are any of the 7 steps missing or out of place? Is there a lack of clarity? Are you  specifying too much in parts of the story to the detriment of the other story beats?  We will also focus on pacing concerns, acting and action, and ways to convey your story visually in a way that will engage your audience.

In order to efficiently plan, and to properly troubleshoot your work, you will be asked to iterate both your beatsheet and thumbnail drawings in tandem. 

You will be using the Cinematic Sandbox to create, place, and animate characters in a set. As soon as you are reasonably comfortable with your story support (Title, 7 steps, Beatsheet, Thumbnails, etc) you are ready to start work on your animatic in the sandbox. You will be turning in your animatic along with the other story support items you've created. 

What is Due:

  • Story Title
  • 7 Steps
  • Completed Beatsheet 
  • One sheet of Thumbnails (Template with twenty blank thumbnails)
  • Story Animatic - First Version (No Audio, No Voiceover)
    - Note: Your animatic cannot be longer than 3 and a half minutes total

All work for Part Two will be submitted to each student’s folder using our class Dropbox by Thursday July 17, at 5 PM.

Here are the first versions of your stories listed in or of the three groups who will be working on them. You will be meeting in groups but creating your own unique versions of these stories.


Group One Story

Armature: Acquaintance softens prejudice.

  1. Once upon a time: there were two painters who were arch rivals from competing art schools, each with very different art styles.
  2. And everyday: they would aggressively try to outdo each other’s art, trying to prove whose style was better.
  3. Until one day: they are both commissioned by the same person to paint a wall mural together.
  4. And because of this: they engage in a fierce battle, both unleashing their creative spirits onto the wall.
  5. And because of this: each begins to tangibly witness the other’s uniqueness, beauty, and personal story unfold.
  6. Until finally: together they create a beautiful masterpiece, their two styles complementing each other, each showcasing what each has to offer.
  7. And ever since that day: they teach the merits of collaboration at a new art school founded together.

Group Two Story

Armature: What is most truly valuable is often underrated.

  1. Once upon a time, there was a white-collar guy who was not having fun with his job.
  2. And every day, he went to his office, and typed in computer until he was off work.
  3. Until one day, he saw his boss’ new fish tank with fishes, and the look of one fish reminded him the old days him and his father fishing.
  4. And because of this, he made a fishing rod using mop pole, mouse wire, paper clip, and cheese to fish his boss’ fishes.
  5. And because of this, he had so much fun just like the old time.
  6. Until finally, his boss found the protagonist is fishing his fishes, and then fired him.
  7. And ever since that day, he became a fisherman, and enjoyed what he was doing every day.

Group Three Story

Armature: Acquaintance softens prejudices.

  1. Once upon a time there was a boy who would always see a homeless man on his way to school.
  2. And every day, he would tightly hold the money in his pocket and cross the street, fearing that the man would steal from him, and the homeless man would give him a smile (he stopped crossing the street, and eventually stopped holding on to his wallet, as he becomes more acquainted with the man).
  3. Until one day, he was in a hurry and ran to school.
  4. And because of this, he dropped his wallet as he passes the homeless man.
  5. And because of this, as he was going home, he was worrying about the money he lost and looking for his wallet.
  6. Until finally, he saw the homeless man and the man gave him the wallet he had dropped.
  7. And ever since that day, he smiles at the homeless man and even gives him some food as he passes him.