I recently worked on a very interesting project titled Dance of the Seasons. It is a 2 minute animated film that was (mostly) made in just 24 hours. Two fellow RIT animators, Joe Daniels and Jed Mitchell, have put together two similar 24 hour challenges in the past, but both were done in CG. Dance of the Seasons is unique because it is entirely hand drawn (over 1,000 frames from 5 animators in 24 hours.) Dave Suroviec was an animator on the piece and kindly lent us the basement of his apartment to go crazy in. We began the 24 hour period with no idea of what we were doing, but we did have the music handed to us by Joe and Jed. (Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Hours.) We began at 10 AM on a Saturday and spent a few hours brainstorming and sketching until we came up with some sort of coherent idea. This led to storyboarding and listening to Dance of the Hours on repeat for the entire day and night. Brittney Lee did the character design for “Petey” our main squirrel (I suggested the name we gave to the squirrel inside our apt cieling) and she cranked out some nice model sheets. While the animators began their work I sat down with Joe and the storyboards and figured out all the layouts we were going to need. (Thirteen total.) They went surprisingly smoothly, but somewhere around 2 AM I began working with Photoshop to color them. And apparently Photoshop loves me so much that it decided to crash on almost every background I worked on, often multiple times. I was drinking coffee (which I don’t often do) and feeling jittery and crazy, but it was fun! We had a video camera on and off throughout the night…I’m interested to see some of that footage. And it should also be said here that all of the people who worked on this film are students of Nancy Beiman, who inspired us to create a hand-drawn collaborative film. (I don’t know what she thinks of it yet, but hopefully good things.) Anyway, I’ve posted a few of my favorite layouts from Dance of the Seasons here:

Now! Go watch the entire film (Large or Small, Quicktime 7, H.264 codec) which Joe has kindly posted for everyone to see. And visit his blog to see the other two 24-hour films that have been made at RIT.

And here are some pictures from the making of Dance of the Seaons!

Jed and Joe survey story ideas. And yes, Joe wore the Goofy hat for the full 24 hours.

Brittney at the boards!

We’re messy.

Brittney animates!

Nathaniel works diligently.

Our pencil testing station.

This is where I worked all night. (I had a comfy chair too.)

RJ and Dave passed out around 9 AM.

Check out the blogs/sites of the other folks that worked on the film:

Brittney Lee
Dave Suroviec
Jed Mitchell
Joe Daniels
Nathaniel Hubbell

And that’s it! Hope you enjoy the film.