Lin Xiaoman (林曉曼), also known as Aastalim, is the 2017 recipient of both an Honorable Mention and a Student award in iAniMagic 2017 with her submitted animation, Pick Yourself Up . Lin’s work is traditionally stylized with eye-catching colors and visuals, but in this competition, she chose to present the characters’ movements with minimalist black and white. Let’s learn more about her experience creating this work and some useful animation tips!
Hello Lin, great to have you with us! Can you start off by telling us more about yourself?
Sure! I am currently pursuing my Masters in Digital Media Design at Yunlin University of Science and Technology in Taiwan. I specialize in animations, illustrations and 2D design. My hobbies are very simple—b esides listening to music and watching movies, I draw.
Pick Yourself Up features the possibilities for a girl growing up. Why did you choose this as your theme? Does it correspond with your own life experience or is it a reflection of the current social values?
I have been very lucky throughout my life to have met people from various backgrounds and fields of work. Through personally interacting with them, I have learned that there are always people who once fighting and failed for their future.
I chose this theme because I want to convey this unyielding and determined spirit to my viewers, and also as a tribute to all walks of life. I hope my viewers can look at my work and think about the goals that they have been working hard toward.
Even though this animation only lasts for 30 seconds, the judges believed that you have portrayed the full story. When you were making this animation, how did you organize the transition between each section? What aspects of the story and visuals did you focus on?
When I was designing this short animation, I wanted to complete it in a clear and precise way, so I tried to use a set of movements to convey one message. I divided the animation into four pieces: at the beginning the girl runs then falls, showing the hardship she experiences. Her fall was followed by her climbing back up, demonstrating her strong will to deal with the challenge. In the last part, I showed that she continues running and exploring different possibilities. As the pieces of animation belong to a series of movements, in the designing process I tried to use simple black and white lines to illustrate the movements clearly. A lot of effort was used to ensure the transitions were all smooth, so that the viewers could focus on the performance of the girl.
How did you ensure the smooth transition? Any tips you can share with us?
First, I create a rough sketch of the whole animation. Then I created the key frame for each session and occupation, and between every two key frames, I added a new 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8 frame until the transition became smooth. Finally, I aligned on the speed and ensured that all sections are of the same speed. Below is my initial sketch.
Back to talk more about yourself, why did you choose animation and digital media design as your major?
It all boils down to my passion for animation and my desire to learn everything about animation. As I became a student of animation, I found out that there are many different ways to interpret animation, which was like opening a door to a new, different world.
Did your study turn out to be how you have imagined it? What were the toughest and the most interesting parts?
Every time I want to come up with a new animation, the process of implementation is very challenging. But if I finish an animation that I am very pleased with, I would watch it repeatedly. I would even continue watching it first thing in the morning when I wake up. This feeling of satisfaction is for me the most interesting part.
Do you prefer 2D or 3D animation, and why?
I like both 2D and 3D animation. But I especially like the 2D hand-drawn animations as you can directly observe the animator’s personality, style, and wrist strength.
What software and tools do you use for learning animation creation? Do you have a particular source you want to recommend to our readers?
The main tool I use to draw animations is TVPaint, Photoshop, and After Effects to help with completing the work. If you want to understand the concept of animation, I highly recommend Animation Box (動畫聖堂), only available in Chinese), where you can learn a lot of animation techniques.
Finally, can you recommend an animated film to our readers?
I would recommend Taiyō Matsumoto’s Ping-Pong. Besides the wonderful action, characters’ mood and thoughts in this work are always surprising. It makes you want to watch it over and over again!
Many thanks to Aastalim for sharing her story. We wish her all the best as she completes her Masters’ thesis!
If you are interested in staying up to date with her work, follow her on her social media!
Images in this post are created by Aastalim, and used with author’s consent.
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iAniMagic 2017 winner story – Beck Williams
Also published on Medium.