Narrative 1

Introduction

I have had a deep love for stories and comics since a child, in the many many years we’ve spent at school, I have never had the opportunity to truly exercise that love until the visual narrative project. For our narrative unit, we were to write our own stories, incorporating story structure such as the hero’s journey, rising action, climax, etc.In my elective class of choice; animation, we animated a one minute short film. While I have always hoped to produce a short film, the workload meant I didn’t have the opportunity to until now. And I felt I learned a lot about the collaborative process of developing a film and splitting the work between me and my partners.

Animation

My elective class was animation. For the narrative unit, we largely used digital means of animating after doing a lot of traditional in the last unit.

Mood Scene

Our first assignment for the narrative unit was our mood scene. To create it, we first created two characters to walk across the screen.

Narrative Film

We were to produce a minute or longer animated film, of a short story of our creation. We chose Photoshop to animate the shots, and we pieced it together in After Effects. Due to our 3 weeks deadline, it was a grueling process but a fullfilling one.  The uppermost image is After Effects, what we used after piecing the clips we animated in Photoshop together (bottom image).

FINAL FILM

 

Illustrations

The illustrations I created for this website are mostly done in Photoshop. The site header was an old piece done in 2018, the banners were also done in there. I used one color scheme for continuity.

Here is a piece I created using Illustrator for the patterns, and brushed up in photoshop for more of a textured look. It is made to resemble a Tarot card.


 


This is a behind the scenes image of the banner done in Photoshop.

Story

For our narrative unit in English, we wrote a short story no longer than 5 pages with our own plot, setting, and characters. We were also to create a believable character arc where they develop in some way. When we first started working on the short story, I was very taken with the deep sea lore of Lovecraftian works and ghost hunting stories involving a team of rambunctious teenagers, such as “Oxenfree”. This became my main inspiration for the short story, but with arguably less fantasy elements.After revisions and writing a final draft, we created an audio version of the story. I first recorded the story, then moved it into Adobe Audition where we added sound effects and ambience to create a more tangible atmosphere.

Tide’s Lament

Fall had wrapped itself around the humble town of Innsmill like a thick, cotton blanket. The dense, humid air and smell of sea that circulated around the town almost year round, replaced with a crisp chill and the gentle aroma of burnt firewood. A girl, not quite past her youth, peered up at the leaves of the great cypress in the backyard; its boughs seeming to have shift colors overnight.Though untrue, Gwen found herself musing over the brevity of summer and the changing of seasons that seemed a stroke of magic. Like all things mystical, fall was good. Because with fall, came Eddie, and with Eddie, came the long, pleasant afternoons running on the beach. Playing till the streaks of dusk would first dash across the horizon, bathing the sky a fantastical gradient of colors. There, the two children would clamber their way into the damp caves lining the cliff side beneath the great lighthouse, falling asleep to the sound of the water that plopped and plopped with the beat of a pendulum. While her parents had expressed a firm disapprovement of their adventures time and again, it was but a distant echo in the girl’s mind. However, unlike fall, unlike those bothersome warnings Gwen could shove away, this day, one thought rattled around her head relentlessly. Another ship had gone missing, another few humble fishers seemingly whisked away by the sea – the few returning freights still carrying no news of her father. Mother was always an optimist, yet her faith seemed to burn away day by day like the candles framing his portrait in the living room. Gwen strode past the photo frame hastily, towards the door. She kicked on a pair of muddied sneakers and a plaid jacket that frayed at the edges, the miscellaneous array of pins and badges jingling as she zipped it up. Her mouth drew into a line as she inspected herself in the mirror, dragging her nimble fingers through her tangled mess of brunette hair, while half-heartedly attempting to tame it. Gwen and Eddie had agreed that she would meet him down by the woods, where the sandy beach first faded into soil. If she were lucky, she would get the sneak on him, scare the spirits from the timid boy.Rearing off the streets of the town, she trekked through the dense forests lining the northern parts of the beach. Her surmounting excitement bubbled up from within her belly, causing her to quicken her stroll into a hastened jog while the wind whipping against her face as she picked up speed. Leaping over logs and streams, hastily parting vines, Gwen imagined herself as an elf – no, a centaur, her dirty sneakers were shapely pairs of hooves taking great strides across the mystical forest floor, galloping with her mighty equine form. Tailing her, an assortment of faeries and sprites, illuminated the path ahead. Gnomes emerged from their hovels to investigate the commotion, and birds chirped at her ears joyously. She greeted all of them curtly. The winding, weaving paths of the woods were familiar indeed, comforting for a seasoned forest guardian. All around her, the sunset colors of fall tumbled towards her as she felt her right foot snag onto a stray root. Letting loose a string of curses, Gwen burst into a clearing, feeling a sharp pain ring through her skull as her head hit the ground; in an instant, the faeries were gone, and her jeans were filthier. She laid there for a while, reeling from the fall. As she squinted past her blurry vision, she noticed something was poking through the canopy of the woods, something looming over her. Gwen heaved herself back onto her feet after a good few moments. Once her head had stopped turning with every step she took, she focused her gaze. Right, it was the lighthouse. An old family heirloom that overlooked the docks. Her grandfather’s grandfather had built it. It was made to remind those of Innsmill that no one was truly lost at sea, as the beacon would guide them home. It had, but years of disuse had left the tower in a state just nigh of crumbling. Gwen would give herself more time to muse over the irony, if not for a shrill voice coming from the trees. “Gwen! Is that you? Are you alright I heard a-”, The owner of the voice was a boy, one with short curly blonde hair and a meek frame.“I’m fine Eddie, it’s me.” She dusted herself off. “What are you doing so far from shore, I thought we were going to meet there.” Still agitated from her fall, Gwen scolded herself as she watched him recoil slightly from her tone. “I suppose it doesn’t matter, come on, I’ve got something new planned for today.” The pair trotted down the forest path, shoulder to shoulder, the ice melted away as they begun exchanging small talk. It was not a long walk from the beach. Gwen made sure to dash across the sand at its first sight and towards the ocean, wetting her legs from knee down in the crashing waves. Tailing her was a content, albeit exasperated Eddie.The minutes dragged onto into hours. Eddie was perched on a log, having long spent his energy. He watched his friend frolick about in the waves, seemingly oblivious to the whistling wind and all the world. The sky was beginning to dim, though not only from the routinely setting sun. Tilting his head upwards, the gentle smattering of clouds had turned heavy and rolling. He hugged himself, noticing the soothing chill from the day had begun to turn biting. High tide was sure to come in soon, and from the look of the skies, so was a storm. Eddie cupped his mouth and called out to his friend. He didn’t need to hear what she said to hear her protests against going back to town. It was early. It was still early. Gwen trudged reluctantly upshore, as much as she wished to stay, she couldn’t deny the changing of weather. The unusual rawness of the breeze that shook her from the base of her spine up her neck. She met with Eddie, the worst part of her insisted she bicker incessantly with her friend. In the time that they spent quarreling, the weather had quickly turned ill. From the first shy drops of rain that hit Gwen’s head, came a downpour that soaked both children from head to toe within a matter of minutes. The gusts from earlier pushing against them as the pair clambered up the muddy path to the light tower. They had considered their options. A trek back through the forest would surely be treacherous with the threat of crumbling branches and trees, not to mention the cracks in the sky scored by lightning. Wariness prickled just under Gwen’s skin as she turned her gaze upwards towards the lighthouse. It was Eddie’s idea, and Gwen decided that was why she should never let him make any decisions. They squeezed through the door hung ajar at the base of the tower, shaking the water from their hair and shoes. It may be a refuge against the downpour, but the old rickety thing creaked with every step they took. From inside, their voices echoed eerily. “How long do you think we have to stay here?” “Hopefully not overnight, the ground looks awfully uncomfortable.” Gwen paced around the circular base, running her fingers across the brick walls, inspecting the dust gathering from disuse. She noticed few picture frames lining the stairs leading upward, equally dusty. Eddie had begun wringing the water out of his clothing, then draping them over the railing of the stairs. Gwen took off her jacket and flung it at him, before kicking off her shoes and socks. With a bit of hesitance, she began walking up the slippery stairs of the lighthouse, her curiosity overpowering reason. “I’m…not sure that’s safe, Gwen.” “It will just be a bit.” She gripped onto the railing firmly as to not slip, and began walking up. Leaning close, many of the men in the picture frames she did not recognize, one by one she inspected them. Soon, Gwen had forgotten what she was looking for. Higher and higher she went, until one image of a man with a long bushy beard and a boy no older than 10 caught her gaze. His open-mouthed smile showed off his one missing canine, while his eyes crinkled from it into little lunar-shaped slits. It was her father, younger, but unmistakably him. Gwen wasn’t prepared for the flood of grief that had seemingly seized her by the throat in an instant, emerging from some dark dusty corner she had shoved it to. It made her breath catch, and bile rise to her throat. Gwen’s knuckles were white as she grasped the railing, trembling with barely repressed rage and a sorrow that struck to her core. She blinked back tears, while her stomach tossed and turned, it made her feel sick. She hated it, how he wouldn’t stay home and for her mother, for her. She hated how even after multiple fishers had disappeared, the stubborn man headed out to sea without so much a word. Before she could so much as tear her eyes from the picture frame, a low bellow came from the top of the light tower. What Gwen thought was a trick of her mind repeated itself, this time louder. It was the sound of a ship’s horn. Her father-! Gwen had little time to wipe her tears before scrambling up the neck of the light tower. No longer caring for a grip on the rusty railings, she sprinted up two stairs at a time. When she finally barged into the top of the tower, she was momentarily blinded by the blaring light emerging from above. Curiously, the light tower abandoned for so many years had lit its beacon once more, once more to guide the sailors home. Gwen could not ponder the implications, for the light had scored across the surface of the sea and parted the heady fog of rain and clouds, and that was all that mattered to her. Running up to the windows, Gwen squinted, looking for any silhouette of a ship, any sign of her father. She had about collapsed to her knees and begged the heavens to bring her father home, when Gwen noticed an odd patch of sea. Its waves were serene, a contrast to the rolling tides all around it, and behind the fog that had risen was a silhouette. When the ship finally parted through, everything had drew to a deathly still silence. The figure that stood at the bow of the deck waving at her. Gwen felt the warmth of a hearth rising in her chest, felt his embrace, and heard the gentle lullaby her father had sung to her still ringing in her ears as she closed her eyes. No one remembered that reunion on October. Yet Gwen recalled vividly, that one punctual moment of magic. Even as she was woken up to Eddie shaking her shoulders fervently. They would gathered their belongings and depart, but before the lighthouse could disappear behind the woods, Gwen spared it one last look. The new sunrise had bathed the structure in gold and red, but nothing had shown brighter than the beacon that Gwen had seen, and nothing else brighter than the pride she felt. Glorious and proud, perched at the edge of the little town of Innsmill. It was sure to fall soon, one of these days, but she was ready to see them go.

Behind the Scenes

This is a behind the scenes screenshot of my adobe audition file for the short story audio. The uppermost bar of audio is the base recording we did of our voice, and the segmented audio are sound effects and ambience. The lines scoring through them allows them to fade in and fade out.