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Week 8: Animation Storyboards

Lily, Spencer, and I have created some storyboards for our animation project. We've compiled our inspiration, art, and references so far here.

Our first inspiration was the work of Josef Albers, an artist who was well known for his work studying and teaching color theory. We looked at samples of the Homage to the Square, a series of over a thousand square paintings that Albers used in part as an instructional tool teaching color experimentation [Source]. The square paintings reminded us of an infinite hallway, and at first, we thought we would imitate some of the examples we saw in class that created transitions through zooming into a detail of a scene. Resizing slightly different colored squares could also give the impression of constant movement. When pressed to think about how we would attach a story to such a scenario, however, we also had to confront the question, "How does this story end?"

As a joke, Spencer suggested "self-actualization", which reminded me of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a theory of developmental psychology often represented as a pyramid organizing universal and individual needs. The hierarchy is often split into five stages or categories: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. We thought we could treat these five stages as phases of a journey, while animating a character and background to demonstrate their differences.  

We agreed to work with a simple set of assets – our character is essentially a slime ball, and our setting a set of different colored squares. And for our first draft of storyboarding, we decided to split up the hierarchy, with Spencer taking physiological and safety, Lily drawing love and belonging, and myself trying esteem.

My "esteem" storyboard is included above. Colored bars on the right and left sides of the frame are border a box where our character and its community – all circles of different sizes – congregate at the bottom, in front of another smaller square. Our character appears to lead the group as they stir in agitation. Suddenly, they start to pile on top of each other, forming a chain of circles, with the smaller members on top. When they reach the top of the box, they suspend the entire chain and start to swing, not unlike a wrecking ball! The blob community-turned-chain-turned-wrecking ball launches again and again into the wall, when at last it shatters to their surprise and joy. Free from borders and rules they suspend in air throughout the entire canvas, even the bars that, until now, have kept them contained.

This storyboard was inspired by some explanations of "esteem" as described in the hierarchy of needs. Esteem grows out of respect from others, and respect for the self, and manifests as a need for freedom and independence. With the foundation of love, belonging, safety, and nourishment, our character and its community are able to question the boundaries that they had once accepted as truth.