15 Second Animation – Stumpy

After a long day of debating and creating ideas and with a new member in our team, in the end we came up with the idea of this little stumpy piece of wood who tried to run away and ended up catching fire and turning into ash. The idea was pretty broad so we each tried to come up with a narrative mine is as follows;

  • The stump is wondering through the forest.
  • He notices a shadow in the background slowly getting closer.
  • He quickens up.
  • The shadow figure appears, its a saw.
  • He starts to chase the stump.
  • The stump starts to run.
  • He then realises there is smoke coming from his legs.
  • Then poof he is up in flames


When we all came back we all realised we had very similar narratives and settled on a final one which is as follows;

  • Stumpy is asleep among logs
  • He hears voices in the background
  • Door creeps open and a shadow appears
  • He tries to run away
  • His legs catch fire
  • In the end he turns into ash


We then met and talked about the timing of the movie. We decided the overall time is aloud to be 15-30 seconds. So we agreed on roughly 5 seconds for the intro 5 seconds for the credits and 20 seconds for the movie. But the full break down is as follows;

  • Intro – 5 seconds
  • sleeping in the logs – 2/3 seconds
  • voices – 3/4 seconds
  • shadows building – 4/7 seconds
  • escaping – 7/12 seconds
  • going on fire 12/16 seconds
  • ashes – 16/18 seconds
  • credits – 5 seconds

While looking at the design of our character we all agreed on him being cute. So I referred back to Chris Rynaik who does these unbelievably cute characters for some inspiration, we then went on to research different wooden characters such as Groot from Guardians of The Galaxy and also Pinocchio. I also went and researched a lot into trees and found out that you can tell the age of the tree due to how many rings it has within its wood and this became a main feature in our character, I also looked at different types of trees such as the Willow trees, Birch and Oak trees. I also thought about the season and are the trees ever greens or would they be deciduous. Personally I liked the idea that they would be deciduous and give the look of it being a cold harsh winter.

I then went to Lough Gall Park where I took some photographs to use as references to the scenery and surbery which are seen below.

I also tried to model our character but you can see how that went! not very well at all!

For the house which would feature in our animation I looked into log cabins which would give us an idea of what type of person the shadow may be? Is he a lumber jack? Is he at one with nature? Is he poor or does he have money? all this could come from a house. And I liked the idea of a log cabin, it fits into the environment, it hints at what the occupation may be of this man but yet doesn’t tell us to much either.

Because of the shadow in our animation, I researched the ideas of suspense and horror, which are my favourite type of films. I found that there is often 5 main features that create good suspense in films;

  • Give your character breathing room – the longer the character is on the screen the more anxious the audience will get especially when the steaks start to get higher
    Example: Lloyd Scene – The Shining 
  • Timing your reveal – Suspense is based round an upcoming event and how the story unfolds as it attempts to get there so timing your reveal is everything. Your cuts become a huge part as they can not be to hasty and music plays a massive part of the reveal.
    Example – The first appearance of Two Face – The Dark Knight

  • Lens choices – This is key to create cinematic suspense, how much depth you put in your image is important and having different lens will help keeping your audience connected.
    Example – Arbogast meets Mother – Psycho

  • Pull back revealed – Pulling back the camera to reveal the bigger picture is something that has been done time and time again to create suspense.
    Example – Alien

Long tracking shot – The tracking shot is great for any type of story telling, instead of constant cutting the lack of it will keep the audience engaged more. 
Example – Opening Shot – Touch of Evil


In my concept art i tried to create this type of horror and suspense, but I don’t think personally it worked well.

We then had to present our ideas to our class and tutors. However, it wasn’t the reaction we expected. Conann told us to scrap our idea and start again, keep in mind this was when we had two weeks to go. Under pressure wasn’t the word.

Final Presentation link : https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1O7ep1JJuMMM36q_He8f6-CnZSwWtXNyFXacubDH83Wc/edit#slide=id.g110139fa63_0_69

Artist References link :



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