The Making of "Dry Fish"

I thought I'd put together a making of for my latest animated short as the way it came together was a bit different from other shorts I've done before. Usually I write the script, make a board or some style frames, record the audio and then animate to that. But not with this piece. Before the project became "Dry Fish" it started out as a little experiment in traditional animation in my sketchbook. I wanted to create little loops of animation that were very loose, quick but full of character. And once I started it became quite addictive.

I scanned them in, chopped them up in Photoshop and sequenced them in After Effects. At this point I created bespoke bits of sound to go with the animation. It became as much an experiment in sound as it was in animation, the results were instant and lots of fun.

I now figured I could make some kind of visual sound piece by combining the mini animations and building up a track with the sound it created. I did a small test and which seemed to work and then set about doing it properly. I found that some of the sounds didn't quite work as they were in the Mini Sketchbook Animations as the key was wrong and the tempo was off. So I adjusted these ones and re-recorded a new sound for them. I then used Garageband to set about creating the music with these sounds.

Once the music part of the sound was done I started thinking of a narrative to hold it all together. I decided that it would be nice to have a character singing about this odd world (which was now going to be full of falling pandas, robots self destructing, a massive rabbit head and spinning fish). It seemed to me that if you found yourself in this place it would be disorientating, intimidating and a little bit frightening. Especially as the main character I'd chosen was small, round and with weak little limbs. I recorded the vocals and set about designing the world.

I'd just recently been to Japan on holiday and came back with lots of new influences that I thought would be suitable for the world that these characters could be placed in. I had my sketchbook with me and started drawing landscapes that I fleshed out and coloured up in Photoshop.

At the end of the piece it turns from day to night so I also had to make a duplicate of everything for this section.

Now all was left to do was to take it into After Effects and put it all together. This was done during an intensive 3-4 week period. I started with my main character's lip sync and body movements, then build the environment and placed all my mini animations within the world. Finally I placed cameras in position and put the edit together. At the end of all this I was left with my little film...and if you've read this without looking at the finished animation, check it out on my previous blog post.