2D: Seeing Sound (Pre-production)


Based on the music/research (previous posts) I did some quick drawings to find a mood or idea to go for. I wanted it to feel atmospheric, and since the music was very soft I felt something more abstract would fit better. I really wanted to use light in the animation but I wasn’t sure how hard it would be to make it look good (eg: How to make it not look static). I definitely liked the feeling of a flock of birds going with the music piece.

Colour wise I didn’t want to go over the top, because it would take too much away from the light and be too distracting from the figure/birds.

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These felt a bit too dark for my liking and I couldn’t see how I could animate it effectively.

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I preferred the airiness and lightness of these two, with open spaces / abstract or plain backgrounds.



I had numerous ideas but really struggled to find a ‘story’ in any of them. They didn’t feel like they had meaning.

The storyboard below was to the music mixed with the sound effect of rain/birds – I liked having different angles to play with, close up of his feet splashing in the puddle, looking up at the sky as it thundered – however, there was no real conclusion to the ‘story’ even though I could picture it being quite fun to animate.


My next idea involved the abstract floating island idea with a person sitting on one of them in a lonely pose. (See the painting above for an idea of what the island would look like). The idea was that he would see the birds flying around him, he’d stand up and a bird would come down to interact with him. Then, as the music reaches its height, the boy discovers he also has wings like the bird and spreads them to take flight. It ends with a feather on the ground, ambiguous.

I liked this story more because I felt like it had more emotional connection to the music, about feeling sad and hopeful.

Storyboard2 Storyboard3

This was just random idea scribbling, because I wanted to get something more creative/flowing.Storyboard4

This is the storyboard I liked the most and is similar to the island one (except without the islands and the character doesn’t grow wings).

A girl is seen curled up at the start. A bird (symbolising hope) swirls around her and inspires her to get up. As more birds gather, she becomes more excited and happy, dancing with them at the height of the music until they all fly away as a flock. The last bird lingers for a little while as if to say goodbye, and then she is left alone again, and she settles back into the same curled posture. I wanted this story to be relatable to people who feel like they are down in life, and really want to keep having hope despite how hard it is to hold onto it.

Storyboard5 Storyboard6


Character Design

I did not focus much on character design, but I knew that I wanted my character to be female (to fit the airiness/ephemeral quality) plus the overall theme of hope and loss feels more feminine in a way. I also couldn’t find any inspiration with facial features because it seemed wrong or out of place trying to draw a face. I felt that if the focus was on body movement, more emotion could be expressed.

The sequence of the girl with the bird (below) instantly felt right to me when I drew her. My main concern though is whether it would look too strange without a face, though there are many animations that don’t have faces so why not?

Character Design1

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