The Spark

November 2019  — 
 2D AnimationFairy TaleShort Film

Lina lives with her father Kjell in a small wooden cabin at the edge of the forest. While her father works in the forest, Lina loves to spend her time exploring nature. But when one day a magically glowing fir cone catches her attention, she embarks on a magical journey deep into the dark and mysterious forest.

This 2D animated short film (10 min.) was my bachelor project. The production team consisted of four people. Our intention was to create a visual narrative that not only takes the audience on an emotional journey but also carries a deeper meaning. Since we also wanted to tell the story without spoken word, we had to pay all the more attention to the nuances of the visual language.

Our protagonist Lina

The story was inspired by traditional fairy tales. Some parallels include a distinct distribution of roles, magical powers, and a challenge for the protagonist. Since our film still featured modern narrative elements and contemporary themes, we were clearly producing a modern fairy tale!

When curiosity awakens, you never know where it will lead you ...

After we only had one semester for the bachelor project, we decided to concentrate our efforts on the trailer. As we had already created the storyboard for the whole film, we were able to start the illustration and animation almost simultaneously.

Lina learns to walk

It turned out that Lina's hair was particularly difficult to animate as we wanted to avoid animating each strand of hair separately. After some experimentation, we found a clever combination of some After Effects scripts that allowed the hair to automatically sway according to the head movement. A real time-saver, as we were now able to focus primarily on creating detailed character animations!

Virtual joysticks in After Effects

Since we had a lot of layers to animate, we created a visual animation system using scripts in After Effects. That way, we were able to use virtual joysticks to blend between extreme poses. This not only reduced the number of keyframes significantly but also simplified the animation process!

What Lina must have just discovered?

Although we had all produced animated films before, this film was something special for us. As it was the last film project of our studies, we made special efforts to create a memorable experience. Even though we only created the trailer, we were more than happy with what we achieved. After more than six months, the trailer was finally ready to celebrate its premiere in front of 3000 people at the Cinecitta Nuremberg!

The movie poster
Magical fir cone