View Full Version : Cold Lady Final Project WIP

04 April 2009, 10:02 PM
EDIT: It's done! :buttrock:
Click to View! (


Hey guys! I'm an undergraduate animation major at UMBC. For my Expressions in Time and Motion class (basically Animation II) we just started working on our final project.

The professor gave us a bunch of short stories we were to choose from and create an adaptation. The final project includes a treatment, storyboard, animatic and then the finished animation. I would like to post my progress and hopefully get some feedback!!

The only thing I've completed thus far is the treatment for my animation, which the professor said she really liked. Here it is! Please give feedback:

Cold Lady Treatment

Tagline: “Helplessly lost in an ancient forest, two warriors come face-to-face with the heart of a hellish blizzard.”

Two warriors, identified by their medieval Japanese armor and weaponry, must travel through a furious snowstorm so as to regroup with their companions on the other side of an old forest. Violent winds rip and tear at mighty trees and carry with them a tumultuous mix of razor-sharp ice and bone-chilling snow. After hours of struggling with the disorienting, frigid waves, the older of the two warriors spots an abandoned cottage in the distance. Upon acknowledging the structure, an eerie voice is carried with the wind, but cannot be identified by the soldiers. They are more interested in the possible shelter than the anonymous, perhaps imagined whispers. A quick burst of shots establishes their entry, observation, preparation, fortification and subsequent sleep within the dwelling. Now the violence of the environment has been more or less contained and the protagonists are safe, reflected by a shot of their comfortable sleep, fading to black.
A strange sound awakens the younger soldier, from whose point of view the rest of the story is told. His eyes open to reveal a blurry scene of erratic movement and cold colors. As the room slowly comes into focus, he realizes a third entity is present—the form of a woman, though she flickers about the room as though not tied to space or time. The young warrior sits up as the beautiful woman stands over his companion, who screams then is filled with a deathly coldness. The boy struggles, but is approached and eventually touched by the Cold Lady.
A violent cut to black follows, and the woman speaks directly to the man’s mind. Once he is told his life will be spared, a still of the apparition will pan across the mind’s abyss as the conditions for his survival are explained:
You must never speak of me, nor of this night.
Not to father, nor mother, nor sister, nor brother, nor to wedded wife, nor to boy
Nor to boy child, nor to girl child, nor to sun, nor moon, nor water, fire, wind,
Rain, snow. Now swear it.
As the dialogue concludes, the eyes once again rip open to see an empty room with an open door. Snow blows in, and his companion has unquestionably passed away. Heavy breathing suggests the gravity of the situation as the credits begin to roll. The tension has been resolved.
Stylistically, the violence of the snowstorm will be communicated through a heavy light-dark contrast. The environment, as well as the characters, will be done in charcoal so as to give a unifying sense of life in its organic shifting of both line and value. The snow itself will be painted in acrylics on both the physical frame as well as on a transparent plane in order to suggest layers of the freezing chaos. Roughly the first half of the animation will be a collection of shots illustrating the fury of this blizzard, be it the men struggling to gain ground or simply the altering of the environment as snow is literally being dumped on and slammed into the area in a wrath-of-God-type manner. Grunting, coughing, branches breaking and yelling will all be washed out and overpowered by the heavy winds.
Inside the small hut, entire frames will continue to be illustrated using charcoal, but now midtones will be present so as to produce a sense of calm—a contrast with the energetic dark/light disparity of the outside storm. Effects required to create the illusion of a first person perspective from within the younger warrior will be generated using a combination of Adobe After Effects and Final Cut Pro, via basic footage key framing and inclusion of computer generated objects. The ghastly Cold Lady entity will be lacking in defining physical features for the sake of production simplicity but also to make her seem as eerie as possible. She will be painted with white acrylics to give her a texture visually synonymous with the snowstorm of the previous shots—allowing the viewer to identify her as related to the previous scene.


I'm working on a quick storyboard now and that will be up by the beginning of next week!

04 April 2009, 02:53 PM
alright I will tell you right now you bit off WAY more than you can chew. Unless you are in a team of about 5-8 dedicated people the you are not going to get this finished to any kind of solid quality. Frankly after doing all the pre production work, and then getting all the 3d assets ready you wont have anytime for animation. Not only that, the story you have is just so long, This thing is like a two or three minute animation. Here is a rule of thumb for you, it takes 25 hours to make one second of finished done animation, work under that assumption when planning any project out. I would say that you are trying to tackle a monster that doesn't need to be takled. If the class is about animation which I would guess from the name then focus on the ANIMATION. Come up with a simple no diolouge story between two characters in an innoucuous setting using free rigs you can get offline, then just focus on getting that done well. A lot of students get trapped in the idea that they can do everything under the sun in no time at all and up to quality and that just isnt the case. All I can say is that if you still want to do this then good luck you are going to have a lot of sleepless night coming up in your future.

04 April 2009, 05:09 PM
Hey AFightingPanda!

Thanks for the advice!
We were given four or five short stories to choose from, and this is only a section of one of those stories (about 1/3 of it). There is very little dialogue in it at all.

I know it will take a lot of work, but because it is not a 3D piece I'm confident I will be able to get it done. Also, I believe I've shown some strong time management skills in the past projects we've had in the class (I pull all nighters when they aren't necessarily required yet to make sure I have extra time closer to the due date to add bells and whistles).

If it turns out to be taking way too much time to the point where I either don't think I'll have it finished by the due date or the quality of the finished short will suffer, then I will shorten the story and reconsider the medium, provided the professor OK's my deviating from the original plan.

Thanks for the advice though! I really do appreciate it.

I'll have my storyboard scanned and on here shortly.

04 April 2009, 05:30 AM
Really quick sketches of the two characters, just to get an idea of what they both look like.

And thennnn my storyboard!!

Rushed, but that is the general idea. I'm hoping the organic quality and shifting of values of the charcoal will make the forms less definite--and effect I can take advantage of to make sure every drawing doesn't have to be perfect! (like I could do that anyway :rolleyes: )

Animatic is due next Tuesday and I'll have that on here as soon as I can!

04 April 2009, 07:06 PM
I just redrew the warriors so they are more detailed--I'll post that soon.

It also occured to me that:

a) Frames 15 and 16 are very difficult to understand what is happening, so I will also rework those. In 15, an apparition of a woman is flashing around the cot of the older man, and this is seen through the younger man's perspective. In 16, she walks toward him then touches the younger man.

b) I play with scale a lot in the first half of the animation when the two men are outside, but every shot inside is a medium shot. I will rework this to include some close ups to make it seem more intense!

04 April 2009, 07:33 PM
More detailed Old Character--
Didn't have scanner with me at the time!

More detailed Young character--

Redid Frame 15--
Here, the apparition of the cold woman is flashing about and the companion is seen on the ground, assumed wounded or dead.

Frame 16--
Here, the woman walks toward the younger character (first person perspective) and reaches for him. On contact, it cuts to black.

Also, before shot 15 will be a few really fast shots of the woman's lips, eye, hair and a moving hand to change up the pace from the quick shots of entering the hut into the stable shot of them sleeping, back to more speed! It'll be like a rollercoaster hah

I'm going to draw the interior of the hut to make it seem more like a hut, then get working on my animatic!

04 April 2009, 05:11 AM
I just finished my animatic for this!


04 April 2009, 04:37 PM
The final animation is due May 12th.

That's only FIFTEEN DAYS including today! OH JEEZ
I better get crackin' !

05 May 2009, 02:52 PM
UPDATE -- the animatic was well received. My professor really liked everything. The only area she would like to see changed is the pacing when the two characters enter the hut. I agree that they need to spend time ...more or less "chilling" in this new, safe environment before visited by the apparition in the night, so those shots will be a bit longer.

Production-wise, I am down to 12 days. This is getting pretty crazy. I have everything scheduled out as to when each shot will be completed and I basically gave up my life for two weeks. The "rough" animation is due on Monday, which I am hoping to have all of my shots done by then in sketchy pencil. That will give me a week to do all of the charcoaling and painting--should be enough time!

Thus far I've finished sketch/penciling the shot where the two men walk over the fallen tree, and I am finishing up the intrusion of the ghost shot in the hut today. It's being rotoscoped because I can't imagine figuring out how to show the depth I'm looking for with the little amount of time I have left.

If anyone has any crits of what they see on here so far, especially the animatic, please let me know! I would really appreciate them. I started this thread in the hopes of becoming a little more involved in the animation community. Thanks!

I'll post the video of my progress once I get the chance to get in the lab and shoot it today. :buttrock:

05 May 2009, 04:43 AM
Shot 15 Test:

Shot 7 Test:

Unfortunately it looks like you can't really see the pencil since YouTube converted the files :(

05 May 2009, 06:52 PM
Only a few more shots to do the rough animations of-- then I can start charcoaling!
I will upload a final compilation of the rough test shots tomorrow.

To be honest, I am a bit discouraged. I know I can get this done, but whether or not it will be done by next TUESDAY is a bigggg "IF." Especially when I have a jujitsu belt test this saturday which I need to prepare for haha.

Wish me luck! And as always, any crits are welcome.
Right now I'm posting to get my thoughts and progress out there on the web somewhere.

05 May 2009, 01:57 PM
I had intentions to overlay a frame with the character overtop a frame with the background, much like cel animation, and place it on my light box. Then, I was going to charcoal the character and the background into a single frame so the figures and their environments were in a constant state of flux.

Unfortunately, I spent 5.5 hours straight (no breaks) doing this last night and only finished 24 frames.

I've decided to charcoal a single background for each shot and then overlay the character animations like I had done for my rough animation (which I presented in class but did not post here).

I'm not sure if I can overlay a moving character with both light and dark values over a light and dark background without the background showing through (lighten, darken, multiply?). I'll have to experience, but someone please help!!

05 May 2009, 03:20 PM
Stayed up all night last night and worked (quite diligently) without breaks until about 8 this morning. I surprised myself that I was able to do as much as I did!

At this point, all of the backgrounds are charcoaled and painted where paint need be applied, and 3.5 of the animated shots are charcoaled. I expect to finish this either tomorrow or Saturday night (tomorrow is my last jujitsu class before the belt test on saturday morning, so i'll be busy with that!).

Anyway, just wanted to say this is looking very possible! I'll get everything charcoaled before Sunday, leaving me 2.5 days to work with it on the computer :buttrock:

In other news, going without sleep while inhaling small amounts of charcoal/pastel/pencil fixative will really mess with your mind. :D

05 May 2009, 06:14 PM
In other news, going without sleep while inhaling small amounts of charcoal/pastel/pencil fixative will really mess with your mind. :D

Hah, I bet. Good luck getting it finished!

05 May 2009, 09:04 PM
Hah, I bet. Good luck getting it finished!

Thanks stuartb!

I'm charcoaling the last scene, then I've gotta paint one, and then figure alpha maps out :thumbsup: .

Three more days!

05 May 2009, 10:21 AM
I finished painting lastnight!

So the charcoaling and painting is DONE!
Now it's 6.19am a day before the project is due and I am the only one in this animation lab. Time to shoot everything!

During my belt test I hurt my knee throwing someone, and last night I tried to do a trick with an empty beer bottle and accidentally crushed the thing and sliced up a few fingers on my left hand. So I'm limping and my left hand is all band-aided up hahaha. But that won't slow me down! Once I shoot this hopefully the alpha channels, overlays, sounds and titles will be smoooooth sailing! :thumbsup:

05 May 2009, 07:30 AM
This project is due in nine and a half hours.
I just wrapped up all the shots in After Effects--just gotta stick em all together, play with the pacing and add sound and titles!

I am so excited to finish this. It's the hardest I've ever worked on any project for any class, ever. And to think, all of the charcoaling and painting and computer editing was done in less than a week!

It'll be online soon!

In other news, I need a good name for it because "Cold Lady" was the name of the story and I don't want mine to have the same title as half the other kid's works.

05 May 2009, 05:12 AM
The project is complete and is being converted on vimeo right now!
I will edit the first post so you can click on an image to watch it momentarily!

The class liked it!
All the hard work payed off :buttrock:

05 May 2009, 03:17 AM
so that's where you've been hiding.


05 May 2009, 05:32 AM
haha Yeah dude!
if you didn't see it, here's a link to the final

Did you finish the fairy thing yet?
Get some stuff up on here!

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