Children’s channel CITV runs a popular competition, ‘Share a Story’, where children are invited to create a storyboard for an animation they would like to see developed and professionally produced for television. Jack the Astronaut was one of the prize-winning animations, originated by six-year-old Isabelle Dumbarton, which won a Children’s BAFTA in the Short Form category for CITV in November 2013. In April 2014 Jack the Astronaut was also nominated for Best International Short at the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (taafi).
We were presented with Isabelle’s six-frame storyboard that told the story of Jack the Astronaut and his search for the perfect engagement ring. We were asked to reference Isabelle’s drawings when designing the characters and environments.
Isabelle was involved in feedback during the design process to keep the essence of her ideas alive within the animation. Drawings and mood boards were developed until the production team were happy that the creative look and feel reflected Isabelle’s original vision.
Our team produced a detailed storyboard based on the original design concept highlighting all the key frames in the animation so that it was easy to follow the story. Each scene was laid out against the relevant lines of the script.
A guide track voiceover was recorded and edited with simple animation and still frames from the storyboard. This gave a good indication of pace and duration. An animatic always helps us to see where an animation might feel as if it is happening too fast or slow or where a scene needs further development.
Isabelle recorded her own voiceover in a professional studio at CITV. This was embellished at the final edit stage, with sound effects, a music track and extra character voices to add depth and drama.
Using a combination of 2D and 3D animation, drawings and cut outs each scene was animated in After Effects with timings to match the voiceover. The contents of several party poppers were set on fire and filmed to create the blast off from the rocket. Each scene was made available to the CITV production team to view and feed back online as work progressed. The finished animation was delivered to CITV within its deadline for transmission.