The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Motion Design Genius?

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina sequence effectively utilizes a range of motion literacy fundamentals from primary motion to basic animation principles such as follow through/overlapping. The main observations that can be made about this sequence is the secondary motion (camera) occurring in between each segment of the clip in conjunction with basic animation principles. Through the camera zooming in/out or panning to the left/right of sequences, it communicates a new element about the tv show itself (figure 1). From the segments panning between the cast introductions to the executive producers etc, the motion design communicates the characters of the tv show to the storyline itself (images of demons and various other themes relating to the story).

Object motion is used in drastically moving downward on the y axis illustrates the effect of falling in this segment.Using velocity to their advantage, the speed through which the object ‘drops’ in animation communicates the illusion of falling (figure 2). Contradictorily, in the moments of which the segments are ‘paused’ to allow viewers a moment to take in the displayed information, the object motions creates a slow-motion illusion. Through anticipation and overlapping/follow through techniques the segments seem ‘slower’ in comparison to the animation occurring in between the sequence segments.

Similarly, basic design principles such as follow through and overlapping are used at the beginning and end sequences to communicate the effect of wind (Figures 3&4). Exaggeration in scale of object motion is used to dramatize demons in comparison to\ sabrina herself (Figure 5). Rotation is used to give the illusion of ‘tipping’ out the contents inside (Figure 6&7). Coordinating Relative movement is conveyed by zooming to one of the characters Agatha to make it seem like another character, Prudence, is moving (Figure 8). Lastly, all pause, timing and acceleration/deceleration effects are used in between the scenes segments to allow viewers to focus on both the illustrated-like images and information presented.

The movement in the illustrations in this sequence is reminiscent of early motion design techniques such as Choreutoscope in which images are drawn in a sequential order to give  the illusion of movement. This sequence mimics the dancing skeleton (1924) animation in which sequential drawings show movement when played after each other at a quicker fps rate. These initial experiences of optically crated motion design still show their effects on animation today to demonstrate an understanding of how motion design can be used when achieving a certain niche such as the drawn or illustrated look that Sabrina articulates. I believe this animation decision to create such an effect was inspired by the designers goal to reflect the cartoon, drawn-like vibe of the original Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic book (Figure 9).

Night of Demons (1988)

My first recognition was the nearly identical starting animation of the mouth stretching open and close in Sabrina’s animation with Zielinski’s animation of the mouth ripping apart to become the moon (figure 10 &11).

Similarly, the sequences of animation principles such as timing, pauses and zooming in and out between frames (Figure 15) are incredibly similar to how they are used in Sabrina’s animations. From the animations panning through one scene to another (figure 13 & 14), the sequences are constructed from a similar skeleton.

The text is another similarity found between the animations, the horror-vibe drawn typography (Figure 16) in addition to the miraculous likelihood between the drawn demons (Figure 17) in this animation and sabrina’s animation. They also use the same object movement techniques to communicate their subject paths from floating out of graves to turning into curtains. Correspondingly, the opacity technique used to convey this ghost into curtains sequences (Figure 18) seem to be one of the only differences that stood out to me between these animations. Sabrina’s animations used more camera panning and zooms, which Night of Demons also utilized, however they used opacity along the objects movement path to illustrate the effect of ‘fading away’.

Overall, Zielinski’s animation roots are clearly identified in Sabrina’s animation throughout the sequences, an obvious inspiration for Robert Hack was clearly Kathy Zielinski’s drawn animations.

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