Fortified, The Making of

| Short Animation | 2021 | Toronto | 00’10” | HD | 16:9 | Stereo | No dialogue
Directed by Ahmad Albarazi
Script, Edit, Storyboard, Animation & Background Drawing: Ahmad Albarazi
Music: Ahmad Albarazi
Software: Clip Studio Paint EX . GarageBand.
Hardware: iPad Pro 12.9”

A boy and girl competing to build big letters with rocks, although the girl managed to create a tricky letter s it turned out smaller. The boy calls her “loser”, that made her cry and awakened her telepathic powers, only to fortify herself with a mighty crown-like fortress.


I made this animation for the 15th Annual Anijam themed “Fortress” at TAIS.
Each year, TAIS’ Anijam features 10 second long animated films submitted under a theme, which are compiled and screened at the TAIS Annual Animation Showcase. The 2021 TAIS Animation Showcase and Anijam is scheduled for October 15ht-17th 2021.


On Timeline:
The beginning was a bit different, the girl was building the word Fortress using big rocks. A group of 3 boys pass by, bully her making her cry, and eventually awakening her telepathic powers.
I planned the timeline for 10 seconds which was the limit for the submission, and stared storyboarding. I finished the storyboard and imported them into Clip studio to test as animatics, it was a whole different story.

You see, after I placed the panels following the timeline specified in the storyboards, I was left with too little frames to draw and fit the in-betweens. I was doing 24 fps. The playback was fast and needed lots of drawing to maintain smoothness.

I had too much going on I had to edit right away asking myself “What can I cut out without affecting the story?” Panning the camera showing the line of rocks, and the 3 mocking boys needed at least an extra 6-8 seconds to present smoothly.

Here’s the storyboard and animatics:


I cut the extra two boys out, and changed the beginning placing the boy alongside our heroine, and made the whole scenario rotates around them.

Here’s the full animated frames showing only line work. And some selected sequences:


On Soundtrack:
I used GarageBand for making the soundtrack; it has a big collection of instruments and many other options I’m still familiarizing myself with. I used to play guitar ages ago so I have a basic sense of music. Another good reason for using GarageBand is that I’m playing the notes digitally directly into the iPad, so I don’t need to worry about sound quality or noise cancellation.
For this animation, I went with the traditional Japanese Koto instrument. I drew a horizontal graph that goes up and down based on the course of events then used it as a guide for composing while watching a replay of the animation on a second monitor.


After Thoughts:
All in all it was a better experience than before, I learned a lot more about compositing and editing. I have a clearer understanding of storyboarding and timeline.

I hope this post inspires aspiring independent animators and shed a light on making short films. If you have any questions please leave a comment and if you like to see more of my work please subscribe to the mailing list.
Thanks for reading!

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