~ Keeping Track of Ideas

Not sure how many people are like this, but I have ideas rattling around my brain all of the time. Some of them are me working out a solution to a problem and others are new ideas inspired by some thing I’ve just seen or heard.

Sometimes, this “idea vomit” is annoying because on more than one occasion, I’ve drifted off on a mental tangent during a conversation only to come back in when the other person has paused. I scramble to recall what was just said so I can respond. In my own defense, though, those mental tangents are usually pretty entertaining/funny, and I’ve had to suppress laughter knowing the person I’m talking with will think I’m nuts if I suddenly bust out the HAHAHAs.

Weirdness aside, what this REALLY means is animation ideas are constantly coming and for that I’m actually pretty grateful.

For example, this past weekend, I was hanging out in the living room watching a movie, and something on the blinds happened to catch my eye. I glanced over to see a perfect Crayola-green lizard scuttling its way across one of the slats.

Before I had a chance to do more than chuckle over a lizard being in the house, I was suddenly imagining it as the star of some Indian Jones-style animated short. In my mind’s eye, I set the scene. He gets to the blinds by climbing – one sticky foot over the other – up the wall to the lowest slat. He stops to take a breath and glance at the giant human reclining nearby. Then, on his belly, he begins to creep his way across the narrow slat while the nearby giant breathes a heavy sigh of bored discontentment and begins to look toward the window where our hero has only just made it to the center of the slat.

Ideas

When these animated short ideas pop up, I have to write them down somewhere, lest I forget them. I have a list of ideas, they’re my “eye-deers” (ideas).

But as an aspiring animator, knowing that the details for my eye-deers might get fuzzy in no time, I know that the best way to preserve them is to storyboard them.  Problem is…sigh…I hate storyboarding. It isn’t the idea of fleshing out a story idea, I actually like playing around with an idea – it’s having to draw and redraw the same things over and over. Yes, I’m an animator who gets bored with drawing the same objects over and over ad nauseam. If this were the 1930s and Snow White was in production, Disney, desperate for animators might have hired me, but I wouldn’t have made it after a single day of tweening. I start out good, but then after a short time when I feel like things should be further along than they are, I get frustrated and begin to resent tweening. It’s ultimately why I accepted computer animation with wide open arms. I can be a puppeteer instead of a tweener!

Plus, I’ve had issues, since school, with estimating the length of a short by looking at a storyboard. My instructors insisted, “Act it out!!” and I did. It helps some.

12-ChessBoard

If you ever came to an early iteration of Deidee Designs, I had the image to the left posted on my Homepage.

Creating two chess pieces was the mid-term exam for my 3d modeling class. I look at this picture now and shake my head. At the time, I didn’t know enough about 3ds Max to create a proper wooden frame to go around the board nor control where the black and white checkered texture went. It shouldn’t be hanging over the sides like that.

On the other hand, I guess these models are OK for having learned only 8 weeks prior how to navigate Max.

So, when I decided it was time to start breathing life into Deidee Designs, I logged into WordPress, opened my homepage, and saw that image staring at me. Don’t cha know, in true Amy-fashion, an animated short idea popped into my head. So, even though I despise doing it, in the spirit of animation and to not lose the idea…I storyboarded it.

ChessStoryboard

How do you handle and keep track of animation ideas, or for that matter, any influx of ideas?

Do you keep one list, two lists, 10 lists? Do you storyboard?

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