Creative Histories #3



-the first frame I tried for my hand drawn animation

⧫Before hand drawn animation⧫

Before I started to start hand drawn animation, I watched two movies which involved stop-motion skills when I was learning the origins of stop-motion animation.

It was so interesting to find out the discovery of stop-motion animation happened primarily by accident. “According to legend, French stage magician and amateur filmmaker George Melies was shooting a street scene when the film got stuck in the camera gate. During the process of fixing the problem, life continued on as normal on the street and, once the camera was fixed, Melies continued filming where he left off. In the final film, he was amazed to find that pedestrians and vehicles had instantly transformed from one side of the street to another. This experiment led to the idea of deliberately stopping the camera, changing elements of the scene, and starting it up again to create illusions of transformation. The ‘stopping’ of the camera to manipulate objects between captured frames apparently inspired the actual term stop-motion still used today. Melies continued experimenting with his this technique and incorporating his ‘trick film’ into his magic stage shows. His most famous film using the technique was 1902’s A Trip to the Moon.” (Priebe, 2009, p. 9)

A Trip to the Moon

The first science-fiction effects picture in film history


The Color of Pomegranates (1969) Sayat Nova (original title)

Directed by Sergei Parajanov

Stop motion short film

‘A super-stylized, surreal biography of Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova, whose life is depicted through non-narrative amalgamations of poetic images.’

In 1980, Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that “the film is elusive in any circumstances. However, anything this purely mysterious has its magic.”

According to Michelangelo Antonioni, “Parajanov’s Color of Pomegranates is of a stunningly perfect beauty. Parajanov, in my opinion, is one of the best film directors in the world.”


I updated my storyboard to fit more closely to the theme of this project, it is no longer a story about a city where people can pet clouds: A boy who is in the middle of his project until he came across a cloud flying into his flat and chatted with the cloud.

I decided to give a symbolic meaning to the cloud.

‘Clouds’ are the sudden inspirations in our minds.

For myself, it is quite hard to explain where these inspirations come from. I know it is based upon something we meet in our daily life: the poster on bus stop, the book cover you scanned, the doll hanging on the person’s bag who standing front of you. As the concept of ‘Project’ is very unfamiliar to me, I haven’t formed a development habit for when I am asked to create/make something.  However, recently, I found out there is always a sudden idea jumping into my brain when I was having a shower after work or sitting on the bus or looking at the window, rather than the time when I was sitting in the library and trying to figure out ‘what do I want to do’.



I watched some hand drawn animation tutorial before I started because I am not sure if using After Effects is the correct path:


Terry mentioned the timeline in Photoshop on class, and this this video developed my understanding much further
This one is not very relevant, but it is really interesting to learn how the animator designs the character.

However, I found most of the short animation video are made by Photoshop and the workflow of After Effects. I started to focus on watching the tutorials about using After Effects for animation.


Watching the Chinese tutorial is more helpful  when I am not familiar with this software at the beginning



I know making animation is a time-consuming process, but its still quite surprising all the frames which I spent the whole day making only make 5 seconds. (I know it sounds a bit too exaggerated as I am on the early stage, which means what I drew was still quite simple and I am just not familiar how to utilise the new software)

I tried two ways for the first part of this animation:

  1. Originally, I drew all the frames in Photoshop and imported them in After Effects as Composition, which makes the timeline in After Effects quite messy
  2. After I started to get comfortable with this software and the timeline of Photoshop, I am considering to import the Photoshop file as footage. (as the screenshot shown below, the scene of the cloud flying into the building is the first time I tried to explore this pathway, it is quite messy still). This way works quite well as it makes the timeline in After Effects less messy. The only problem is the time is limited if it is a footage. But I figured this problem out: once I made any changes at the original file (remember it must be the original one) and saved it, each frames in the After Effects would update automatically.


-The timeline in Photoshop-


-The first time I imported Photoshop file as footage-
(I changed the boy into a girl later for the theme of this topic)

⧫Next Step⧫

There are some questions I came across and wanna figure them out during the later process:

  1. How do I make the animation look smoother? Add more frames? Use the pin tool in After Effects? Use the animation or effects in After effects?
  2. How to combine the Photoshop and After Effects more closely?




Priebe, K. (2009). The art of stop-motion animation. Boston, MA: Thomson Course Technology PTR.


Paley, T. (2017). The Colour of Pomegranates: a chance to savour a poetic masterpiece. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 8 Nov. 2017].

Online videos:

Bloop Animation (2013). How To Make an Animated Movie. Available at: [Accessed 15 Nov. 2017].

IGNACIBILIS (2017). Sayat Nova (El color de la granada) / Subtitulada al español. Available at: [Accessed 8 Nov. 2017].

MooTV (2016). A Trip to the Moon (1902). Available at: [Accessed 8 Nov. 2017].

SidiceProductions (2015). How to Animate Photoshop Layers in After Effects. Available at: [Accessed 14 Nov. 2017].

The Art of Aaron Blaise (2013). Aaron’s Art tips 12 – The Secret to Creating Clear Expressions. Available at: [Accessed 9 Nov. 2017].


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