Though bugs can be scary to some, you’ll love the ladybugs in Suet Er’s animation LoveParty. In her animation, two ladybugs become the protectors and caregivers of the baby fireflies. Suet Er, who was involved in many children’s animation projects, had the chance to present different issues through stories and lead audiences into a world of fantasy.
Please tell the readers more about yourself.
Halo! I’m Suet Er, Hee from Malaysia, and I’m working in a Taiwan-based animation studio. My passion for storytelling led me to jump into the animation industry. I participated in various Taiwanese TV series and movie productions. I’m skilled in 3D texture art and have a keen interest in directing. I wish to bring joy and hope to the audience through my work.
How did you compose the storyline of LoveParty? Why did you pick insects as your main characters?
I usually develop my work from what I encounter in everyday life. I recently signed up as a firefly raiser, and my task was taking care of baby fireflies. From that experience, I got the inspiration for LoveParty.
This story is soft, interesting, and easy to understand. I selected ladybugs as the main characters because I thought it would be easier for the audience to get into the story’s setting if all the characters were insects.
Since it’s a short video, I planned the whole storyline at the very beginning. Then came storyboarding. When I was creating the storyboard, I gradually decided on the storyline and the overall art style. I also created an animatic storyboard. The animatic storyboard allowed me to contour the final work and the timing of action sequences.
I love to add transitions in my animations. A good transition makes the video fluent and delicate. I usually design the transitions before I start making the animatic storyboard.
What does it take to make a fluent animation? Can you share some tips with us?
I think a comprehensive plan is crucial. I try my best to confirm details in keyframes. I believe that well-planned keyframes keep an animation fluent and neat–even if I decide to add more action sequences later on.
I also like to observe the real world to capture movements. For example, I record reference videos, watch movies, and observe passersby.
You mentioned that stories give people hope and that drives you to take part in children’s TV series and theatrical works. Nowadays, there are also more illustration books for adults. From your point of view, do you think the power of stories works the same on both children and adults?
I think humans focus on similar things regardless of their age. For example, family, friendship, and love. However, kids haven’t got as much experience in life as adults do. Naturally, production for adults would involve topics with more dimensions.
Also, kids lose their attention easily. For children’s animation, I tend to go for cute, cool, and/or funny character designs, and faster tempo in order to capture their attention.
As an adult, I like funny and relaxing movies, too. One of my favorite directors is Edgar Wright. Not only are his works full of humor, but the editing techniques are subtle and detailed. I also like movie Malèna. The director creates a good atmosphere and emotional twist. Watching the movie characters grow brings me courage in life.
We noticed that you were working with the Animated Pop Book Studio, on their theatrical work The Little Prince. It sounds like an interesting project, can you tell us more about it?
I was responsible for the character and theme design. A lot of artists have presented The Little Prince in different formats. It became very challenging to be “innovative” in the project; thus I set a goal for myself that I wanted my works to be distinguishable.
In the preparation phase, I put my effort into understanding the story–like what’s the relationship between the characters and what is the atmosphere in each scene? I created a lot of sketches to visualize my imagination. The director preferred watercolor sketches, so I redrew the concepts many times in an attempt to find the best visual design.
Besides making the iAniMagic contest entries, do you use Animation Desk?
I got to know Animation Desk because of the iAniMagic Competition. Making animation on an iPad was cool. The tutorials in the app were simple and helpful, and I could easily acquire the knowledge I needed. There might be other features waiting for me to explore, but it would be great if Animation Desk offers enhanced copy-and-paste tools.
Are you working on any new projects? Or if you are looking for any new opportunities?
I’m working on an animation called The Mountain. It’s a story about the friendship between a genie who brings withering and a mountain giant. My dream is to create a puppet animation since I have already made both 2D and 3D animations.
You can find out more about Suet Er’s work on her website. During the interview, Suet Er talked about the importance of storytelling. Animation can help bring whatever you imagine to life. It isn’t easy, but with hard work, sharp observation, and plenty of creativity, it can be a great way to share your story(s)!
This post was written by Afra Chen, edited by Joey DiGangi III
Also published on Medium.