The group

To start this project the class we split into two groups, a 2D group and a 3D group, I chose the 3D group which had six members; Nicole, Meghan, Michael, Sarah, Oisin and myself. We all introduced ourselves and did a few icebreakers to get comfortable with the group. We then talked about everyone’s main roles they wanted to do within this project and what secondary roles they were happy with filling.


Story Ideas and The Brief 

The brief is a humor based short, centered around ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. The target audience is 6–12-year-olds. As well as making the characters easy to draw. The initial idea was about a starfish that sinks down to the depths of the ocean to meet a scary deep-sea creature for dinner. The first story draft was written by Oisin based around this idea.

After discussing the idea with Sarah, we realised that it didn’t really fit the brief, so Meghan reworked the story to better suit the brief.

After another discussion with the group about the story, I reworked the story to better fit what was achievable withing the deadline. 


Scheduling and Communication 

Nicole set up a Gantt chart to schedule the project’s timeline, an overall to-do list and a weekly list to keep everyone on track.

I set up a Discord for communications and a Miro board to share mood boards and ideas. The group also discussed what systems we wanted to use for this project and the versions we all had to make file sharing easier.  


Gathering References 

On the Miro board the group complied different references of shows that were similar to our idea.

Since the age group is 6 to 12, we all tried to look at shows within that age range. We also compiled different shows, movies and games that we liked the styles of so we could discuss common traits and figure out which style to go for. All of us liked the idea of outlines around the characters to make them look more 2D as well as using shape language to show what the dangers of our world are like the fish from the Mairo games.

We all also gathered real life references of sea life and environments, I also made a list of possible props as an early guide as to what we might need and what was possible within the deadline.


We all immediately knew we wanted a starfish as the main character, however, for the main antagonist we looked into common evil sea creatures in kids cartoons and decided a squid would give us the most opportunities to interact with the starfish as it would use its tentacles as arms.


Concept Art 

Nicole was in charge of creating the concept art for all the characters and environment props. After finishing a concept, she would post it to Discord so all of us could vote on what we liked and disliked about the designs, she would then work on new ones based on the feedback. After finilising the concepts, she created turnarounds for the character and a height guide with the characters and the background.  


Storyboards and Animatic 

Michael drew the storyboards; he drew two different versions as the story was changed. The final storyboards were also shortened to cut out any unnecessary scenes to better fit the time frame. He also edited the animatic from his storyboards. 



Meghan, Sarah and I all worked on translating the animatic into a 3D previs. We split the scene equally between the three of us and used place holder models, we also all adjusted the camera angles to better suit the 3D space, the previs was edited together by Sarah.

Storyboards drawn by Michael 
Previs animated by Meghan, Sarah and Danielle


Pipeline Tests

Sarah, Nicole, Michael and I worked on pipeline tests. Nicole, using the rough models made by Oisin and myself added all of them together so we all could see if the art style translated into 3D. Sarah worked on lighting tests, she created a glow around the starfish and the light piercing the water’s surface. She also made an outline for the characters and background. Michael worked on creating a looping seaweed animation for the background. I created a bubble particle emitter using my previous assessments works as a base, I used a turbulence and a scale modifier to make the bubbles spawn more organically and added a nurbs curve to they would follow the line into the air. These sadly never got added to the final scene as I ran out of time to add them.

I also did a texture test using Nicole’s concept art and a rough model of the seaweed before it was changed for Michael’s. I tested the halftone idea and tried a gradient and painterly blended texture, the difference is subtle, but it helped to better understand what we were going for.

Concept art by Nicole

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *