The Making of Crooked Cucumbers (animation)

Hoozaaah! Finally after 5 months of mini-grinding and procrastination my first animation is done! It has always been a dream of mine to make an animation from scratch with self-made drawings, own voice acting and own composed music. I present you Crooked Cucumbers:

1. The idea

I really like to eat cucumbers, especially the cucumbers in China are so crunchy and tasty, but crooked, small and hairy. In the Netherlands the cucumbers are fat and straight. And because they are fat, they have a lot of water-taste. I don’t really like that. So I was very happy when the Albert Heijn also started selling ‘buitenbeentjes’ cucumbers, not so perfect cucumbers, sometimes small and crooked. They have less water and more taste. I usually buy those now.

I went to the Albert Heijn in January 2021 and I saw that all the ‘buitenbeentjes’ cucumbers were sold out. Then the idea started in my head to ask Albert Heijn for more crooked cucumbers or make a video dedicated to my love for cucumbers.

2. The music & violin lessons

Last year I started learning the violin, because I find the violin a fascinating instrument. (Also I think it’s ‘cool’ to be able to play the violin :p) After watching ‘Your Lie in April’ (anime) and hearing the encouragements of E: “You only live once, you should try the things you want to do before you die.”, I started learning the violin with Çisem Uzkurt, a very sweet teacher. I told her that I wanted to make an animation and create the sound effects and music for it. She taught me about scales and how to compose music. And she also helped brainstorming the sound effects and how to play it. Very fun!

I used a Zoom H1 recorder to record my voice and the violin music. Sometimes I just recorded the music with my Sony RX3 camera, because the sound quality is not that important in this first animation. I edited the voices in Adobe Audition (paid tool) and composed the music with (free online tool). The first song that you are hearing is made in Bandlab with a clarinet. The sound of a clarinet was more happy and cute than the violin.

3. Script & Storyboard

So how can I put the idea of crooked cucumbers into a funny animation story? What if the cucumbers have a character and want to be sold? And the crooked cucumbers are not so loved by the customers. But then a girl comes and she prefers the crooked cucumbers. (Totally not based on me or something..)

dialogue and storyboard cucumbers

4. Voice acting

All the voices you hear are my voice. It’s quite hard to create a style of voice and then talk using that style. Also, I cringe every time when I hear my voice as the old guy. I was even afraid I couldn’t finish the animation, because of how ugly and cringe the voice acting is. But when the animation was added, the voices felt a bit more okay.

When I was younger I often made funny voices around my friends. Friend I. said once: “You should use your voice for in an animation.” That comment has always been stuck in my head and she also motivated me to do this. I think when friends root for you do something, it works better than parents or yourself. “Oh, someone élse believes in me? Maybe I can do it :)”

5. Drawings

All the drawings are made in Photoshop and a Wacom drawing tablet. Creating the drawings take a lot of time. Usually I work 1 to 2 hours per time on the animation. And creating one scene with all the loose parts takes about 6 hours. Because I first have to think about the perspective and what I will show on screen. Then what colors to use. How does a cucumber look like? How does a hand look like etc. etc.

6. So how was the process time divided?

The dialogue writing took about 30 minutes, voice acting about 20 minutes, editing and picking the voices 1 hour.

Creating the music was about 5 evenings playing with the violin and in Bandlab. And about 3 lessons with the teacher to brainstorm about sound effects and music.

Drawing the scenes and animating took the most time. Drawing about 20 hours. Animating the drawings about 6 hours? I am not sure. Drawing and animating was done side by side. I would draw a scene and immediately animate it.

But it took a long time to finish this project. I think mainly because I only spend 2 hours per time on it. It was a fun and a new process though. I learned a lot. Will I make another animation anytime soon? I don’t think so. I thought this ‘short’ animation would be done in a few weeks. But it the end it took 5 months.

I already have a lot of video’s planned that I want to make, so it’s time to film with Lazy Penguin again! Our next project will be: Yokohama Ramen Saitou part 2.

Have a good day friends! See you in the next one!

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