Ross School - Senior Project 2007-08

Student: Michael Fierro

Mentor:  Urban Reininger


Title: Angel


For my project, I am making an animated music video using ToonBoom.  The video itself represents despair, then having the strength and will to rise from it.  I got the idea while riding the hour long bus ride home, listening to my Ipod.  The song "Angel" by Judas Priest came up on the shuffle, and as I listened to the lyrics I envisioned this video scene by scene as if it was already made.  At first I thought nothing of it, but as the time to pick a senior project came I was still clueless.  It would have been simple and fun enough to just write stories, but I wanted to leave the Ross School accomplishing something I’ve never done before (like making an animated music video).  So, I decided to make my image a reality, taking up a field of work I never done before to make the music video. 


Video runs a lot like a flip book.  When you use a flip book, you’re flipping the pages which makes the image look like its moving.  This is very similar, when played it goes through all the frames, and depending on how fast it is it looks like the drawings are actually moving.







For my senior project, I drew and animated a four minute music video.  At first I was going to write a story, but I wanted to do something that would allow me to leave the Ross School with some new found knowledge.  I got my inspiration listening to a song called “Angel”, by Judas Priest.  As I listened to the lyrics, I could see the video playing out, as if it was already made and I was watching it in my mind.  At first I decided not to, for it would be a very hard project.  But as deadlines came closer, and I was pressed to pick between a story or a movie, I choose the movie.  So after talking to Urban Reininger, my project was to make a music video based off the song.

I had three goals when I started this project:  Write a short story based on the movie, learn to use the animation software, and make the music video. This took four steps.  The first step was to get my ideas on paper.  Using the pages of my portfolio, I drew out my storyboard in panels.  This not only helped me get a basis for my final pictures, it also helped me practice my artisitic ability before the final pictures.  It was around this time I wrote the first draft of my story. The second step was to start on my final pictures.  In order to do this I had to buy an animation program called Toonboom, which helped me create 54 pictures and drawings with helpful tools and tutorials. In the third step I had to put the movie in sync with the movie.  I had the pictures, but at the moment they were only pictures.  I had to listen to the song and add in the pictures so that they played out with the lyrics (for instance, if the movie moved 30 frames per second, and I wanted four seconds of animation, that would involve adding 120 frames for four seconds.) My fourth and final step:  Export the file.  Now that I had the pictures in sync with the song, I had to export it from toonboom to Imovie so that I could better the movie with special effects and editing tools.  I had to export the files from toonboom to quicktime, from there I dragged the files into Imovie where I edited the scenes together.  When the clipping and editing was done, I had to export the final movie to quicktime, where it would be viewable through a CD or the web.

Besides making the video, I also wrote a short story.  I did this because despite my project, I want to be a writer when I go to college.  So I could express my creativity in writing, I decided to add this story which helps explain the story.  This was probably the easiest and fun part of the project, as I enjoy writing and it comes naturally to me.  Yet despite my experience in writing, it took four revisions to make it the master piece it is today.

Works Consulted

2D Toon Boom Animation. Viewed 12 Oct. 2007 <>.

Atkinson, David. "Walk Cycle Animation." Animation Notes. Viewed 18 Dec. 2007 <>.

Fierro, Susan. Personal interview. 17 Jan. 2008.

Miller, Kerry S. Personal interview. 7 Dec. 2007.

Raeback, Shelby. Personal interview. 2 Dec. 2007.

Reininger, Urban. Personal interview. 7 Dec. 2007.

Salvik, Scott. E-Mail interview. 26 Dec. 2007.

Salvik, Scott. Telephone interview. 6 Feb. 2008.

Wright, Amy. Personal interview. 7 Dec. 2007.

Community Member (Details)

The name of my Outside Consultant is Scott Salvik.  He lives in California, and he works as a screen editor.  I was able to get in touch with him via my father, who was good friends and roommate to him in college.  In accordance with my project, Scott willingly gave me tips and helpful advice to improve my movie and story.  He edited both the movie and story as he would a script or picture he edits in his day to day job.  He even got advice from his staff, getting a professional opinion.  For the movie he suggest different colors, for they could be misleading.  He also suggest different ways to arange certain scenes.  Although I didn't have enough time to do all these corrections I certainly did value his advice.  He also was very helpful in critiquing my paper, giving me a fourth opinion on how to write my story.