Graduate Graphic Design Boston University

Tender Buttons

Chrissy Casavant



Motion Design.
Stop motion gives life to meaningless words.



Prompt: Select a short passage from Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. Develop a vignette that visually interprets the chosen passage. Use the words of the passage as a jumping off point towards a simple idea you wish to express.

My main goal for this project was to explore the Procreate animation capability. I love the look of stop motion text, but don’t have the focus or dedication to doing that in an analog format. As an illustrator, I’m still getting to know how Procreate works as a drawing app, but I had heard lots of good things about the animation assist feature, and wanted to see if I could make it work for me.

The passage I chose was: “Light blue and the same red with purple makes a change. It shows that there is no mistake. Any pink shows that and very likely it is reasonable. Very likely there should not be a finer fancy present.” When I chose the passage I did, I felt that it could be communicated through colors and words, which translates well to Procreate.

My initial storyboards started out very simple, because I wasn’t confident in the amount that I could get done in our allotted time, learning a new technology. However, I found that the format actually was very user friendly, although to get the look I wanted, I had to re-draw the same lines a number of times (in some cases up to 100).

The first week was mostly experimenting with the capabilities of the app, and I quickly learned that each animation had a maximum of 200 layers, which I maxed out pretty quickly with my first animation. I ended up creating each section of text as a separate document, then layering them together in AfterEffects.

After I got my first few words done, I had to think creatively to keep viewers engaged and interested in the work I was doing. After the second critique, I received feedback that when text stops moving at all it’s distracting, so I ended up drawing all the text so it As the video went on, I got more experimental by using washes of color and playing with scale. By the last frames, I was much more playful with the text and was able to give the letters more life and personality.

I chose classical music that seemed a little bit serious but also playful, because it looks like the letters were dancing on the page and dancing across the screen. I also layered brush painting sounds to make it feel like the letters were really being drawn out.

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