Bringing my own ideas and story to life

Back in the sixth or seventh grade, I had a random idea about creating an anime (which I’d prefer to be 3D). Back then, I had degraded drawing skills, and no way of venting my ideas.

It’s been six full years, and the idea is still fresh in my head. I’ve come a long way from my youth, and have developed many characters, a complex yet interesting and sophisticated storyline, plot elements, character bios and location backgrounds, etc. It’s all either on paper somewhere, or in some typed document. The document is close to one hundred pages of the above.

I haven’t begun the story itself yet, and it will be a while before I do, as the whole story is ‘organized,’ yet not solid as of right now. It’s basically six years of me spouting random ideas out of the top of my head and throwing them down so I don’t forget. I added a lot of stuff, took stuff out, etc.

I’m currently a senior in high school (yay for me), and I’m still developing ideas for my story. Here’s where the community comes in. I need to find ways to: develop my drawing skills, strengthen my visualization skills (I’m a great visualizer, but need peace and quiet for that to work), find outlets for me to express my creativity on (Blender is my main one, followed by ZBrush, Mudbox, and a few others), figure out how to storyboard and not waste time, specialize in computer graphics and animation (want this so bad), and much more.

Nobody else knows of my story, and I damn well don’t plan on releasing all of the details. As you may very well know, when you have an original idea, the universe has a strange way of bringing your idea into reality, be it under your creation, or, in many cases, by somebody else. Basically, if you don’t act to make it your own, it will become someone elses one way or the other. I’ve had that happen ALOT.

How would I go about developing and solidifying my story? I don’t have an army of developers, or programmers, or animators, it’s all me.

Where should I ‘start?’

Thank you Blender Artists.

Hi Blade_Rain,

How about starting with a vertex, or a cube :smiley: ?


Try to live your story in pictures. Make some simple scenes. Look at them. Ask yourself: What is the you like, what is the you don’t like? Add more things you like and delete those you don’t like. Look at your picture again. And when you try to sleep at night, think your picture, what do you want to add to it and what do you want to delete from it. You can even look at some reference pictures, and compare your own work to them, and try to find, what is different. Make some models from paper or sculpt them someway, but do it 3D not 2D.

If you are serious about it, then the first step is to figure out what you need to do and what you don’t need to do. Because it’s just going to be you doing this, then you can simplify a lot of the visual stuff to the bare minimum that you need to be able to organize stuff for yourself. Storyboards don’t need to be more than just stick figures and arrows, really. Blobs with labels. So long as you know what’s going on, and so long as they serve to tell you how you plan to frame the shots / work out the compositions, then that’s all you need.

You can really get as detailed or simple as you want with a lot of crap. The one thing that will be hardest is the actual animation and rendering. Animating multiple characters and timing a shot, pacing, all of that… it’s a lot harder than it seems. You don’t need to do a full animatic, but one thing that helps a hell of a lot - especially for more complex scenes with multiple characters - is to make a simple cube-based world (where a cube/rectangular shape = a character or set-piece) and do a quick animation just moving them around so you know where they’re all going to be at a particular point in a scene, how fast they need to move to get there, when they need to start moving to get there, where the best place to put the camera would be, etc, etc. (as an aside, instead of cubes I’ve used a lot of planes with images on them)

I dunno what kind of a story you’ve got, or how complex or long your animation / project is planned to be, but you should take that into consideration when you decide on how you’re going to model / animate / render everything as well. The more complex your characters, settings and armatures, and the more of them you need, the harder and longer it will take to animate them, texture them, render them, etc.

I’ll shut up now.

No wait… There’s a book: Timothy Albee’s “CGI Filmmaking
That’s an Amazon link, but you might be able to find it in a bookstore. I bought it a couple years ago, and while the author takes every chance to plug his lightwave books (mostly toward the end of the book when he talks about the actual technical crap like editing and facial animation stuff…), that book is full of really good advice. He basically says all the same crap that I just said, only a lot more. It’s not a “How-To” book, in the sense that it’s not a step-by-step sort of thing. There are no tutorials, no training, etc. It’s just a bunch of really good advice. It looks like it’s a lot cheaper now, as well. I bought it for $70 when it came out, and It was worth every penny. Looks like you can get it for < $10 now. Worth it.

Thanks to everyone who replied. I’m going to make a file containing all advice. Really useful advice. Like everyone else, I just want to be successful in the CGI, Special Effects and Animation fields.

Find a friend you can trust, or a complete stranger, and tell them the story.

When they start rolling their eyes and yawning, looking at their watch, etc., you’ll know what you need to work on. Chances are your first attempt to tell the story will focus on the characters and not the plot. That’s pretty common. The other common problem is running on and on and on and on about things that don’t really matter, like hair styles and backstory.

Spend some time cutting the story down to it’s essentials, and try again. Rinse and repeat, until you finally get to the point where you can tell a stranger standing in line at a bank or grocery story your story and have them enthralled.

Then you are ready to start with the concept art, character design, storyboards and other visual stuff.

Don’t be surprised to find that the stuff you’ve accumulated in the past six years was just to get it out of your head so the real story you want to tell could emerge.

Build something.
What is it? How does it interact with the things around it? What are the things around it?
The story is built into your head, eventually it will emerge.
And begin to tell itself.
All you have to do then is keep up!

SnifiX has a good point. My own ideas have been in my head for the last 15 years - a whole lot longer than your 8 years. Only now am I going to start to make this into “art” form. I intend to use blender and GIMP to get this into comic format and publish it into the webcomics for anyone to read for free.

If you want to bring your idea to life in a short, then sketching out the idea could help you get started. Also think of possible technical challenges and think like what they do at the Blender Institute.

What would be the chances of my dream coming to life? How long would it take?

Umm most sketch artist do may be 3 frames a day.

Stan Sakai (Miyamoto Usagi) - one of my favourite comic book authors does a book once every 3 months.

it could take a year or two,
i would start out just making the characters you already have concepts of, dont rush it though, spend a week or two on each, so that you can really focus on each character and get everything the way you want it, and dont spend the whole time blending, a lot of time should be spent just improving your concepts of that character,

then start making different scenes that will be used commonly in your story, and do what snifix said

then as you get better you can redo and make improvements to the stuff you make untill you are ready to put it all together

once you have all that stuff made its really just the animating/rendering you have to worry about, and you can just keep making more episodes from there


Holy crap that’s time consuming. Guess I have to devote myself to it :slight_smile:

yea, you dont really need to focus all your attention on it though, just so you dont get ovewhelmed by it and get sick of it you should spread out what you do

I can’t get sick of it :slight_smile:

This idea has been the driving force behind my creativity for a few years. I just want to keep expanding upon that idea, and then when I can’t expand any more, expand anyways. Does that make sense lol?

It makes sense. Don’t worry when you idea is out for the world to view, you will feel proud as a peacock.

well a great way to start is to draw blueprints of your characters and scenes.
then u can box moddel these in blender

It makes perfect sense, but never underestimate the power of burnout.
Just remember to take a break once in a while. (Blending is a LOT of work)

It’s my best guess that getting an assload (excuse me) of experience now will help when I’m job searching, or going to college :slight_smile:

It probably will. I haven’t been looking for a job, but I know I’ve gotten better while working on my own crap. I’ve actually re-modeled and re-done a lot of stuff, because after a couple of months of working on other things I’ll go back to an earlier model or texture or something and look at it and say “eww… that’s awful”.

The best bet:

Break it all down into chunks. Get the most bang for your buck (in this case, i guess time = $$… best bang for your time just sounded weird when I wrote it :P).

I know nothing of your project, so I’ll use mine: I’ve got a film that I’ve broken down to an episodic format. It’ll be 12 episodes at about 10-15 minutes each.

Take your story, break it down into manageable chunks. It can be episodic, or on a scene-by-scene basis. Limit your work to that scene. Make a list of all the assets you’ll need and what you need them to do. Do some sketches of how you want the scene to look, where everything is, how you want it to be lit, how you want the colors to be, etc, etc.

One common mistake that people will make when doing a short, or any kind of animation, is to make everything generic. A pot. A desk. A table. And then they just sort of dump all of that crap into a room. If you plan the room out, and put in all of the little details and such that you want, then it will be a lot easier to know exactly what you need for that room, for this shot, and you’ll be able to model it, texture it and set the scene up a lot faster. You won’t have to stop and look at the set and say “hmmm… maybe I need some drapes there”, and you’ll never have to kick yourself later when you want to add something that you end up having to adjust everything for.

Planning everything takes a lot of time, but it will make the modeling and animation stages go by so much faster than trying to just wing it. That’s why you see so much concept art for stuff like games and movies. I used to think it was dumb to have 20 different views of a scene with only a bunch of small changes in them all. Now I know why they do that crap.

Right now I’m not working on that project - it does burn you out to have nothing else to work on but that one thing - and I’m working on something else right now. Something smaller and more easy to sort of knock off. Once you get that kind of system in place, where you get used to doing all that planning and you have a definite goal for a scene or shot, then you will find your life as a 3D animator or modeler so much easier and you’ll find that once you have a definite list of things you need in a scene, then you will be more than happy to spend hours and hours of time tweaking those things so that they’re JUST right, as opposed to having everything end up just being some generic prop.

Anyway, I’m back to rambling. I guess there’d be more weight to all this crap I’m saying if I actually had a finished short to show off…