Dreams of Animation: Icescape

Back in 2001, the web was growing rapidly as a place for rich media to be viewed thanks to the ubiquity of Macromedia’s Flash. People seemed to be making money on websites like atom.com with short animated films.

I was fresh out of RIT’s Film/Video/Animation program and gave a go at starting my own online flash animation series, hoping to win a deal through an upcoming contest.

Well, it all just whimpered out and fizzled and gave off a little plume of wavering smoke. Confidence in the market model these sites were betting on was going south and the planned contest never went forward. I wasn’t web savvy enough to find a way to make money with it all, and I dropped it halfway through the first episode.

I had the first 3 episodes (5 minutes each) planned tightly and a large story arc to go on. 

So, take a look at the half finished episode of Icescape!

For large version click here.

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Copyright 2001-2009 Aaron Sullivan, All Rights Reserved. *

For this type of work software tools were scarce, but it was an exciting time to experiment with new techniques. In my basement there are still piles of drawings unfinished and/or unscanned. In particular there is an almost finished sequence of the polar bear coming over the hill with a rider(!) that has an AK-47. The fight is storyboarded, as well.

It was a great experience and I grew extensively as an animator, especially using Flash. I’d draw on hole punched paper on a makeshift light table, use Adobe Streamline to scan in the art and convert it to vector (eps?) and then bring that into Flash for touch up and coloring. I owned a Wacom tablet that I had used for my all-digital senior thesis, but at the time this worked much better for me. Now, Flash has a come a long way and all digital drawing could work, or an animation focused Flash app like Toon Boom.

* To give credit where it’s due, my brother Brian did some grunt work: scanning, coloring and roughing in the intro animation. I’m sure my wife, Amy helped in some way, too. She always does. I also used two snippets of copyrighted music as a temp track while I worked on the episode. One is a bootleg live recording from a tech demo by the game development studio Factor 5. It was to show off the audio capabilities of the Nintendo Gamecube. The next piece is from Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke. Joe Hisaishi is the composer.

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