Thank you so much!
Welp it goes something a little like this:
Step 1: IDEA
We (me and my hubby Oren who writes along with me) try not to push it and let ideas flow naturally. When we got it, we got it, when we don’t- we give it time. It usually starts off with a terribly silly idea, we laugh about it for a while, and then actually write it. Frozen is the new black, quite frankly, started off as a joke of something we probably won’t ever make, but here we are!
Step 2: Writing!
We sit and write a rough breakdown: Scenes, jokes we had in mind, characters, rhythm, etc. Unless we’ve already written everything together, Oren (who is a professional screenwriter) then molds all that mishmash into a coherent script with dialog, and I review it. Make some changes, tweaks, removals/adds until we’re satisfied with the result. (Fun fact: in Mean Elves, Oren insisted we keep the “Stop trying to make precious happen” scene while I absolutely hated it. He won and it turned out to be the most popular scene in the vid. Good job husbando!)
Step 3: Voices/Sound editing
According to the script I find the right voice actors (I usually record all female voices unless I need something different for a specific video, and Tom Trager used to record all male voices. I then edit the sound in Cubase. Add special sound effects if needed (some of them I only add after animating), the result: A finished sound clip ready for animating.
Step 4: Storyboarding/Animatic
I sometimes skip this part with videos that are simpler to make. This is usually a tool that help me better understand and build the short’s pacing, shots and scene flow. According to the sound clip I now have, I sketch out the scenes. The reason I never ever upload animatics: NO ONE understands what the heck is going on. It’s EXTREMELY rough and schematic. When I create animatics for other filmmakers/animators I obviously keep it as clean and understandable as I can. But for myself? sketchidy sketch awaaayy. I shit you not. Here’s a terrible example
Step 5: Character design
Sometimes this step wriggles in before step 3, totally depending on my mood and availability of voice actors. I start with sketching out the characters on Adobe Photoshop (easier, free hand to sketch)
I continue to finish the design in Adobe Flash
Finishing the design not only means “inking” and coloring but also breaking apart the limbs and symbols for animating. Kind of like how you would build a paper doll with detachable movable limbs. I break apart as many symbols as I like in order for the later animation to be as flowy as I can but not pushing it too much so I won’t hate myself later! For example: Merida’s hair in FITNB has 9 different parts to it (!!!)
I also create different mouths for speech in this step, and use the plugin keyframe caddy to organize and later help animate the lipsync with
Confession: This is my least favorite part of the job. Sure it’s creative, sure it’s interesting, but it always takes longer than I think it would take and wears me down.
But then comes my favorite part which is:
Step 6: Animation
Woohoo! Here comes the tough yet fun part. Animating in flash in the cut-out technique in Adobe Flash. I usually start with placing the characters in their scenes, continue to lipsync and eye movement, and then full character animation. Sometimes I work character by character, sometimes I do lipsync for ALL the characters and then work separately, it all depends on my mood and what I think would be better work flow for each specific creation. weeee.
I either set the measurements/size to 1920x1080 or 1280x720.
After finishing the animation process I export it all as a PNG sequence.
Step 6.5: Backgrounds
While I complete these steps, awesome artist Inbal Ochyon slaves away on creating backgrounds based on notes, existing footage and photoshop edits I hand out to her. Usually around the time I animate she starts finishing them up and does a terrific job at it, What a pro! (honorable mentioning: In FITNB also worked on backgrounds Audrey Molinatti and Rotem Bloch, and up until a few vids ago Tom Trager created backgrounds too)
Background measurements are always 1920x1080
Step 7: Editing
SO! I’ve got my backgrounds, my animation, my sound design, let’s got to the finishing line by smooshing those all together in Adobe Premiere. I also add camera movements, video effects, some sound effects, and a tad of color corrections if needed.
(This is one of those steps I always think would be a piece of cake and then takes longer than I thought. Oh well! At least I’m at the finishing line!)
I export the vid as MP4 file, either 1280x720 or 1920x1080, depending on the flash file measurements.
Step 8: Upload to Youtube!
WOOHOO! time to upload, add annotations, tags, playlists, create a custom thumbnail, sit back and watch the trolls tell me how much they hate everything I do <3
Side notes and mentions:
Added stuff: During the whole creation process I also create different symbols, objects, and other tiny animations I add up later in the final edit
Music Soundtrack: In some cases I have personalized soundtracks created by composers such as Liad Mazor and Yoav Landau (The Living Tombstone)
(like snow white’s little birdies!)
Hope this has been helpful!