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Once we have decided the story that we are going to tell, and before opening any 3D software, animators use fast tools that allows them to get a quick idea of how the scene will be. The Storyboard (articulated sequence of drawings that tell the story as a comic) and the Animatic are two powerful tools at this stage. In this case, since the sequence I will develop is quite short, I attacked the animatic directly. An animatic is a slightly more elaborate storyboard, assembled sequentially as a rudimentary animation. Contains the audio, and aims to set the rithm and the actions of the scene, as well as other technical issues such as the frame.

As more defined and worked is the animatic, with more security will be addressed the following stages of production. This is why, despite their appearance becomes rough, good animatic has to have extensive preparation. Besides working script, you have to think about the most appropriate shots to enhance the history, physical and psychological characteristics of the characters, setting and environment, the acting of the characters and subtext.

Even though we have a dialogue, what the animator really should work is the subtext. If we don’t ask ourselves what the characters are actually meaning, we will fall into a pantomime that only supports with gestures cliché the words, obtaining a flat performance. The same text can have many different meanings depending on the intentions, condition, situation or personality of who says it, where he says it, the moment when he says ity and whom he says it. Performing the exercise of answering all these questions, and even trying different combinations that give new meaning to the text, will give us many tools to enrich the scene, to propose gestures or looks that are consistent with the overall performance.

Although this work can be done mentally, and this is already better than not even raise it, will be enriched seeking references and even making own references.


The first thing an animator have to do at the time of raising a scene, or animatic, is to seek references. From Google searches to review movies or any related materials, all help to draw on ideas that open new possibilities or refine those already on the table.

In my case I have collected images of kitchens and children, I have reviewed some related films (such as The Sixth Sense and Ratatouille, when Anton Ego recalls his childhood) and I finally have recorded own videoreferences in order to finish testing the various possibilities that shuffled.

Let’s remember the idea:

Two children happily look for breakfast, sitting at the kitchen table. The mother prepares breakfast and the following dialogue occurs between one child and the mother:

- Boy: I made a new friend
– Mother: Real or imaginary?

The boy looks at his partner surprised by the question, and then both understand that the second child does not exist (disappears or through his body when trying to touch himself)

- Boy: Imaginary


Once we know what we want to tell, it is useful to record a recreation of the scene with real people. Either yourself or with the help of somebody, the issue is to set in front of the camera and try to act like your character would.

Wonderful was the Acting for animators Workshop, given by Nerea Cordero and powered by Pepe School Land I attended just last weekend. Some intense sessions in which an accomplished actress taught us techniques to build characters from the physical and scenes by layers.

Thus, after school I kidnapped a couple of mates to help me with the scene. The aim was double: On the one hand it was not clear if the boy should know from the beginning that his friend was imaginary, or if he should discover it when the mother ask. On the other, needed references for the reactions of the two ‘children’ in the scene presented, in addition to explore spontaneous performances to finding new ways.

It worked out great, and from recorded material I built two animatics with the two best performances we obtained. Through repeating the scene and look for different aspects, there was a very interesting idea that was finally rejected as it was too complex for the limited time available. Colloquially we speak of “kill your babies” when we have to give up an idea that we like a lot but, for various reasons, is not the most appropriate for the project.

Here you can see the videoreferences I recorded with my fellows Toño and Victor (thank you again for the help, guys!) and the rejected animatic. Dani made me understand that this story, while interesting, generated questions in the audience that could not be solved in just the 10 seconds the scene takes, such as why a child creates an imaginary friend and torture him later pointing out that he is not real.

And this is the animatic finally approved in the school, from what I will work in the following phases.