Thinking of You
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Thinking of You

by arturoacevedo on 13 Jun 2022

A young commuter waits for news of her mother’s surgery. Life is filled with inevitable miseries we can't avoid, and those now manifest themselves in calls/messages. They can brighten up your day or... derail your life. That's what this little short is about.

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The mission

How does the inevitable miseries of life makes us feel? Now we have a communication device at hand, it becomes a reality that a message can brighten up your day or derail your life.

The process

Iterated the script, storyboard, styleframes and sound until we had a solid and viable foundation. Developed techniques to match the vision. Rigged complex shots for rapid changes.

The result

Created an emotional piece that relates to the target audience, adds to the team members' portfolios and formed new work relationships.

Roles — direction, production, management, non-character design, animation, distribution.

Software — After Effects, Photoshop, Cinema 4D, Substance Painter, Boords, ClickUp.

Timeline — 280+ hours from ideation to delivery.

Breakdown

Management

In a project of this nature, where collaborators are offering their "spare" time, adjusting the timeline and mitigating is critical to the project's timely success.

Early Storyboard

I started developing the script and the storyboard, exploring visual metaphors that fit the characters' emotions. I leaned towards darkness because of the negativity bias of the human mind and an overall high contrast ratio for tension and harshness. I explored several routes, but, a mixture of warm light & and cold blackness stroked the right balance for a foundation to build on.

Styleframes

Once the storyboard was tested and ready, Sarah and I started working on styleframes. We did our best to not hold back and be confident in my animation skills to make it happen.

Production

For example, I had to figure out how to animate a painterly bubble procedurally, which is a mixture of shape layers, fractal noises and C4D shaders. And I learned the human face muscles to make an eye rig in After Effects that resembles the subtleties that a complex 3D rig in Maya has, which a lot of rigging tools and custom expressions to make it happen. I don’t do characters but I accepted my own challenge.

Conclusion

My team was able to explore new things too, I made sure that this project could work for their portfolio. We stuck to the timeline or adapted the plan accordingly. It was a win-win for everyone. I'm eternally grateful for Valeria, Sarah, my mentor Victor Silva, my teachers here at VFS and everyone that supported me along the way.

Credits

Direction, animation, design and management: Arturo Acevedo (that's me)
Character design: Sarah Quintana
Sound design: Valeria Estefan


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