The Orange Tree: Creating an Animatic in After Effects

The Orange Tree Animation by Christopher King

The first motion graphics project at the National Film and Television School introduced me to the basics of After Effects and how to create an animatic using simple key framed animations. I created illustrations based on the poem ‘The Orange Tree’ by Martin Galton, who also provided narration (later changed to the voice of a young boy). Inspired by vintage 1950s animation I paired a simple animation style with abstract shapes, patterns and textures, plus a hand-drawn line art look for main character.

An animatic is a timed sequence using still frames and basic animation set to narration and/or music. Animatics are used to check the general flow of a piece and help to illustrate an idea to others.

The project consisted of a drawn storyboard where particular attention was to paid to designing interesting transitions, a mood board that acts as a style guide, colour storyboard and fully illustrated key scenes to better describe the style of the piece. Placing still frames from the colour storyboard into After Effects, adding the narration and a music track, I could then see how all elements worked together as a timed piece and make adjustments based on the length of certain scenes and transitions.

First Draft Storyboards

Colour Storyboards and Artwork Elements

Basic After Effects animation was incorporated such trim paths for growing plants and trees, and a rigging system using anchor points was used to create a puppet for the main character.

My very first attempt at animation in After Effects and an introduction to it’s basic layout, tools, timing and designing a engaging motion graphics sequence.