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Have you ever wondered if all the fairy tales happened in the different universes or they could happen in the same one? Just think of the possibility if they actually knew each other. There could be more interesting stories than we have been told.

My Once Upone A Time

2D Animation / 4:32 min / Jun 2012


While searching for a story for my graduation project, I found a picture of Little Red Riding Hood I drew. "Hey, instead of looking for something new, why not go back to the classic?". Thus, an idea began to take form.


At first, I wanted to link some fairy tales together into a story where characters interact with each other, kind of like "Into The Woods" or "Shrek". It would be like all the fairytales happened in the same universe but were just told separately. But since this is a one-man project, I only have limited time and resource to handle a long story. Therefore, I keep the original idea of the interactions between fairy tales characters, but this time, they all have something in common, a similar past experience. Then I found out that wolf has often been used as a symbol of evil in many fairy tales. So I gathered those characters who have encountered a wolf in their story. Somehow, they were forced to face their worst fear once again. It was really exciting to see the potential this story held.



Once upon a time, there were four friends playing in the forest. Just when they were enjoying their time together, someone from their past showed up. His appearance brought out the worst memories of their life. Will they be able to face their fear? Can someone change who they were? There is more than the fairy tales you have been told.



All of the characters' personalities are based on the original fairy tales with some alteration based on my imagination of how the encounter with wolf changed them. The interesting part of these character designs is to think beyond the parts we've been told as a child. What's going on after the big "Happily Ever After"? Is that all?



Freaky is the youngest goat of his siblings from The Wolf and The Seven Kids. He is a little bit jumpy and he suffers from serious PTSD. It's understandable after witnessing his siblings being devoured by the intruder right in front of him as a kid. I added dark circles on his face to enhance his psychotic condition.


Originally, I intended to make this as a traditional animation. Unfortunately, due to the lack of training and experience, I had to give up this idea and moved on to a different technique with a similar result–2D animation. To produce a fairy tale book alike atmosphere, I choose hand-drawn pictures instead of vector graphics.


First, I drew all the scenes on papers and scanned them into Photoshop and Sketchbook Pro to start the process. After coloring, I broke the characters apart into small elements so I can animation them later in After Effects. The trick about this part was that I couldn't break the outline otherwise it would be less like traditional animation. I also had to fill the gaps where the elements were so it would be seamless once it starts moving.


Considering the fact that this is a fairy tale before I imported all the graphic elements into After Effects, I made a recording of me narrating the story. To make it more like I was actually there with the audience telling the story, I talked to them from time to time and added some comments. It is very important to do the recording before moving on to the animation process so that the facial expression and the gestures of the characters will be more lifelike by following the timing of the recording.


Animating the characters in After Effects might be the hardest part of the production for me. I wasn't familiar with the software and the technique by the time so I had to learn new tricks one at a time during the animating. It actually turned out to be quite fun and I learned many useful skills from it.


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