Motion Graphic – Phases 1 & 2: Launch and Brainstorming

This is perhaps the project that will require it all from me – the research, the preparation, and the big ideas. While the package design and promotional series are indeed major projects for the semester, the Motion Graphic assignment is a 2-point assignment that fills half of the required 4-point latter-half-of-the-semester system…

The mission: Design an introductory sequence for a classic children’s book…

I spent days, indecisive… What was I going to pick? There were so many great ones out there, many of which I grew up with. One of the runner-ups was the 1930 story The Little Engine That Could, but I kept thinking about it… I had finally decided on one whose illustrations have always stuck with me.

Berta and Elma Hader’s The Big Snow


I’ve always had a thing for drawing forests. When I was young, I had always liked the imagery in books like these. I’ve lived in a relatively rural area of Connecticut my whole life, so I had real-life inspiration at my side as well.

The motion graphic represents a real challenge for me as a life-long animation fan. I am working to get into that field, but I’m more into the writing/directing side of it, as I am first and foremost a storyteller. To do an actual 20 or so seconds of animation is something new… I have attempted stop-motion animation back in 2011, with middling results. So to take another crack at this, it’s a bit exciting and it’s a bit nerve-wracking!

Anyways, I felt that the motion graphic was great for an animation technique I’ve always liked.

Walt Disney’s multiplane camera.

Assembled in the mid-1930s and first used for the 1937 Silly Symphony short film The Old Mill, the multiplane camera was used to create environments made up of multiple objects, and bring more depth to them. This worked so well for the settings of his first few animated features, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Fantasia. For Bambi, his fifth feature, I feel the art department took the multiplane camera effect to the maximum…


I want to recreate this technique for the motion graphic of a book about a forest… Like Bambi, The Big Snow features deer and goes from autumn to winter. Here is an early sketch of my idea…


Basically, one plane on top of another… What we first see is trees during autumn, and then as leaves fall, we transition to winter, to a snowstorm…

My plan is to create the images by hand and digitally, with aide from SketchBook Pro. The hand-drawn quality of the book illustrations is I want to adapt with my own spin, so I’d like to go a bit mixed-media for this assignment. We’ll see where it goes from there.

Developing, developing…


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