Your Animated Short


    Here is where you show us everything you've got!

    If you really enjoy modeling, now's the time to create the best models you've ever made.

    If you like animating, this is where you 'WOW' us all!

    If you like rendering, texturing, or anything's time to shine!

      finish by June!

    Challenge Yourself ...  Be proud of your hard work!

    You are required to FOCUS on these three elements throughout the project:

    The Story

    The most important part of your film is the STORY! 
    • You are required to come up with a story based on one or more of the following scenarios...

      • Your story begins with a very awkward or embarrassing situation for someone.  Another character steps in and helps.  
      • Your story begins with the main character being placed in an impossible, unlikely location.  There is a way out, but not without difficulty.
      • The main character has a secret crush on another character.  It seems that everything gets in the way of them getting together.
      • Two very unlikely characters are put in a difficult situation.  They must work together to help themselves.  
      • Something is taken from the main character, and he wants it back.  It won't be easy.
      • The antagonist is really cruel.  He does something horribly mean to the protagonist.  In the twist at the end the protagonist has a happy ending, without turning bad himself.  Maybe the antagonist has a happy ending too.

        The Twist Ending
        Regardless of what type of story you pick, it must have a twist ending, something totally unexpected.  Begin with the ending.  What strange ending would be cool?  What would it look like?  Then, work backwards until the beginning is nothing like the ending.

        Time Frame
        Your story depends greatly on the length of time allowed.  Your film must be no less than 2 minutes, and no longer than 4 minutes.

    • Create a Beat Sheet.  A good range for number of beats is between 12 and 18.  If you need more, that's fine.

      The beat sheet is DUE March 18

    • Create a Script.  Type using 'Pages'.

      • Write descriptions in italics
      • Write dialogue in bold
      • Write camera transitions and movements in normal font style
      • Use a space between EVERYTHING  ---  This is NOT in paragraph form.
    The script is DUE March 22

    • Create a Storyboard.  At a minimum, each of the beats from the beat sheet should be illustrated for the storyboard.  Below each illustration, make sure you include any dialogue, sound, camera movement or transition.

      The storyboard is
      DUE March 24


    • Character Models - You may use models that you created earlier (the robot or biped character).  However, you must create at least one new character specifically for this movie.  It does not have to be the protagonist or antagonist, but it could if you want.

      * Model your characters with a relatively low poly count.  Only create edge loops when you absolutely need them.  Not too much detail, please!!!

      * It absolutely does not matter what kind of characters you choose.  Animal, robot, human, problem.  They just have to move and be rigged.  Regardless, KEEP IT SIMPLE!

      * Do not use nHair, paint effects, or nCloth.  Just regular polygons for every character.

    • Character Rigging - Do not rig any of your characters until you have finished the cartoon cat rigging tutorial from the individual projects.  Use what you learn from that project on your own rigs.

      The most frustrating part of this project may be rigging your new character unless you follow the technique and method used with rigging the cat. 

    • Style - The only style restriction is that you cannot model characters and your scene with 100% realism.  Don't take a photo of someone and try to recreate them perfectly.  Work mostly with sketches.  A few realistic objects in the scene are fine. 

      Also, everything MUST BE YOURS!  Sorry, you can't put Spongebob or Mickey Mouse in your film.

    • Environmental Modeling - This time, no 'physical sun and sky' render setting.  Create the sky by creating a huge sphere around your scene and texturing it.  Model the ground as simple as you can.  Model trees and grass by following a similar style as your characters.  If your characters are really cartoony, then your environment should be as well. 

      Make sure you place very simple geometry off in the distance as well, to complete your environment.


    I will be looking for examples of the following types of animation in your film:
    • Plenty of exaggerated movements with characters and objects

    • A few instances of emotional appeal with your characters. What this means is...the character displays an emotional reaction that we can all relate to, which makes it appealing.

    • A lot of believable animation.  I expect you to act out your own animated movements yourself first, or watch reference videos on YouTube so that you can be as accurate and believable as possible.  There is a lot of physics involved with animation sometimes.  Even if it's a little off, it will show. 

    • At least one simple walk or run cycle

    • Pick up at least two objects (DOWNLOAD THE ZVParentMaster plugin!)

    • One character must speak at least a few sentences.  Use the Blend Shape deformer for this.  DO NOT OVERDO IT!  You don't have a lot of time. 


    • Title Sequence - Make the title sequence of your movie as interesting and appealing as possible.  Watch the following title sequence as an example:

    You certainly won't do something as complex as this, but you get the idea.  You don't need a separate scene just for the title sequence, but you can do a lot with some good transitions and effects in iMovie.  Let's aim for 8-15 seconds for a title sequence. 

    • Mention 'Sherman High School Animation Studio', like Pixar or any other studio will do at the start of their film. 

    • Make a cool, interesting title graphic.  You are really limited to what you can do with the fonts in iMovie.  So, use Photoshop to create a great-looking title graphic.  Download a font that you like from, add color and any adjustments as you wish, and make the background transparent.  Save as a .png file.  Import the image into iMovie.

    • Sound and Music - Sound effects and music should enhance the quality of the filmBut if it is too loud, or not loud enough, it will only be distracting.  Spend the time necessary that it takes to make it work.

      Ask others to preview the movie in iMovie to see if the sound is okay.

    • Dialogue - You are required to have at least a few sentences of dialogue in your film.  To do this accurately, you must record your voice, or someone else's, in a sound-proof room.  Just ask....I will give you the microphone, computer and tell you where to do the recording.  Don't be quiet and shy with your recordings.  Now's the time to BE DRAMATIC!!!!!

    • Closing credits - You know how this goes.  Make sure you give credit to everyone in your group, and let us know exactly what each person did to make your film.  And, SPELLING COUNTS!  Be professional.  Your film will be posted on YouTube, on the SHS Animation channel, so make everything professional.