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The Outwitted - Godstory

The Outwitted - Godstory

Danilo Wachsmuth
by danilowachsmuth on 24 May 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

The Outwitted is a story of strive and misunderstanding, where humankind seem like perfect beings despite all their imperfections. And where dark creatures devote their lives to humanity.

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"The Outwitted is a story of strive and misunderstanding, where the humans seem like perfect beings despite all their imperfections. We should be reminded of our imperfections from time to time."


"The Outwitted - Godstory" is the prolog to a storyline that plays more then 20 thousand after the Maer found mankind.

The three ancient gods Lyandaal, Heraborim and Xalith together created the universe with all its life. To ensure his eternal dominion, Xalith creates an army of dark creatures called "Maer". But the dark creatures were so powerful that even their creator began to fear them. A war with a fatal outcome breaks out. And finally the dark creatures meet the species that couldn't be more opposite to theirs: the humans. Over time, the Maer dedicate their lives entirely to protecting the humans whose way of life they deeply admire.  


Sample still images from the 2D animated short film.

Idea, Concept and Struggles

The Outwitted is a hobby project and my first 2D animated movie. The art style was heavily influenced by the original homeworld games that I played as a young teenager. What intrigued me when watching these beautifully handcrafted animations was the way that the story was presented, very calm and almost like when dreaming. I imediately fell in love with the artstyle and wanted to use a similar technqiue for telling the story of "The Outwitted".

With 2D animation it was not only possible to realize this project as a one-person team but also with a computer that was mediocre at best, during the time. The paintings where done in photoshop and then imported to after effects, where the layers where animated. During the process of designing and animating, problems had to be solved on the way (as there was limited time for the whole project due to real life constraints).

The biggest problems after finalizing the story was maintaining a shedule and work towards the completion of the project. Althogh there where people who helped me to focus, it was quite a challenge to stay motivated while learning, designing and animating over a longer period of time by myself.

Another problem that unfolded during the project was rendering the animation and layers because of the large size that reached 1GB in some cases. It took a couple of days to figure out how a larger project with a couple of hundered layers, images and animations could be renderd out. If you ever have the same problem to solve, spare yourself some time and stress and render in 30s - 60s sequences and combine those sequences in the end.

This helped to handle larger files and animation even with less optimal hardware.

How to start off

You have finalized your story, now how to start off with production?
The best way is to create a storyboard with notes to camera movement and how you want all the shots to come together. In addition to the story board it was helpful to create an "image board" of all the shots that had to be painted for the animation. This was most helpful while working on this project because you had a good idea what still needed to be done. Of course a couple of shots change, get kicked out and others are added but this can still help you to stay on track during a larger undertaking without getting lost. 

This is how one of the early image boards looked.
below, image- and story board:
 green = idea finalized, yellow = needs adjustment, red = no idea how to even do this

Thank you

Thank you to everyone that has helped me on the way creating this project. 
Thank you M3DS Academy for giving me the courage to continue the work on "The Outwitted", sharing your enthusiasm and advice. 

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