Procreate throws down creative challenge to SCADpro students.

Education May 3, 2023

Procreate recently partnered with the Savannah College of Art and Design’s SCADpro program challenging some of the institution’s students to create an animated hyper-short made entirely in Procreate. Based around a theme of ‘the future’ the students, some of whom had never animated before, were given 48 hours to concept, storyboard and create a 30-second, audio-free short utilizing Procreate’s Animation Assist feature.

SCAD, one of America’s top creative and design colleges with a strong focus on industry integration, began SCADpro in 2010. The pioneering program connects students with existing brands to work on real-world projects and receive first-hand creative industry experience. Professor of Foundation Studies, Emily Schmidt reached out to Procreate in 2021 to say, "It would be fantastic if we did some sort of a collaboration.” Keen to take up the offer, Procreate wanted to give the students the opportunity to do something a little different, and the Procreate Creative Challenge was born.

Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta.

SCAD provided 20 students from creative majors as diverse as Illustration, Graphic Design, Animation, Interactive Design and Game Development, Advertising, Sequential Art, Character Design and even Luxury Brand Management for the challenge. The students were split into six teams and given only two days to turn in a finished piece. With time being of the essence, the challenge was as much about team cohesion and time management as it was about flexing the student’s creative muscle. After an initial introductory meet, facilitated by Emily and SCADpro’s Helena Aidoo-Morrison, where the students got to meet the judging team from Procreate along with guest judge and animation industry luminary Danni Fisher-Shin, it was all Pencils go.

A theme as open as ‘the future’ meant the first challenge for teams to overcome was narrowing down an idea big enough to tell their story, but simple enough to be achievable in only 48 hours. A midpoint presentation at the 24-hour mark gave students the opportunity to share their initial ideas and how they were progressing. This also gave the judges a chance to use their experience and knowledge to feedback and offer advice.

A frame from the piece "The Future is a Dream" by The Big Bang.

With narrative directions as diverse as people’s anxiety about the future, to how a cat’s curiosity leads to it’s future demise, the range of creativity on display was impressive. Equally impressive was the character and background designs, along with the artistic direction deployed by all teams. It was clear that the creative talent of all the teams was up to the task of formulating brilliant ideas, but could they pull everything together into a coherent 30-second short was the question still remaining.

A scene from the team Game of Fours short "Curiosity Killed the Cat."

24 lightening fast and sleepless hours later, after each team had presented their final concepts, the judging got underway. Impressively, each team was able to turn in a completed piece. This in itself was no small feat considering that some of the contestants had never even attempted animation before. Emily Schmidt congratulated all teams on their hard work and participation, “This was a very quick turnaround, and a very difficult challenge, but you all did extremely well.” Emily then handed over to Danni Fisher-Shin to reveal the winners.

A selection from team Smart Tree's environmental design.

Team ChicaChimi took out third place with their retro sci-fi piece "Garage." A story based on Mr. Chimi, a hard-working but exhausted man, and his day after work at his futuristic tech-filled home garage. The animation featured so much visual story-telling, yet the clever use of the garage as a locked off single scene allowed ChicaChimi to concentrate purely on the action. The environmental and prop design was extremely polished, and the judges also appreciated that the team presented a, “literal sense of the future, and not some kind of philosophical view. Just a practical vision of what the future could hold for us and how it could help in everyday life.”

Team ChicaChimi's prop design from their short "Garage."

In second place was team 3I1A with their esoteric piece "What’s Next," exploring the theme of people’s nervousness and fears about what the future holds. Utilizing a series of clever transitions to give the piece a wonderful sense of pace and flow, 3I1A pointed out, “our direction was to use really simple shapes and forms because that was a lot easier to animate.” A wise and strategically smart move given the time constraint to create such a complex piece.

On this beautiful, well-designed piece, Danni noted, “The sign language and the color choices were lovely, it really told a story.” The judges also noted how seamless "What’s Next" was, and appreciated the clever use of Procreate’s textured brushes and gradient tool feature that enhanced the animation while reducing the workload.

The runner up team 3I1A evocative piece "What's Next."

The Procreate Creative Challenge winning team, Mirai had a take on the future that, “wanted to connect with how Procreate brings accessibility and new ideas into this realm of digital art and stretches out how far beyond our imagination the future will take us.” Leaning into how art has been at the crux of innovation down the centuries "Hollobun" looked at how in the future artists and their creations will interact.

Using a digitally drawn rabbit as the central character, Mirai captured the joy of creating art digitally as "Hollobun" comes to life and leaves the screen to frolic and play with its creator. A deft use of color saw the entire piece kept in stark black and white, except for the rabbit as it left its digital confines behind and became "real." Packed full of life and joy, the judges noted that the, “piece felt very cohesive, and finalized. It was a complete concept and the execution was lovely.” They also commented that, “keeping a simpler design that could lean more heavily into the animation.” was a winning move.

Team Mirai's winning short "Hollobun."

Team Mirai summed up their 48-hour adventure as, “Honestly, a really cool experience, streamlining the whole project throughout each team member. There was a lot of cohesiveness that we had as far as members, and it was a great bonding experience. Learning throughout the app, how to go through that [animation] process more efficiently. The solutions that we found for the feedback that the judges gave us yesterday [about how] to go about it. This was such a great opportunity.”

While the winning team of the Procreate Creative Challenge shared in $1,200, and $1,000 and $800 for the second and third places respectively, all teams were celebrated and rewarded with each participating student receiving $100 for their hard work. Every team turned in creatively inspiring and technically impressive pieces in an incredibly tight time-frame, proving that working within limitations doesn’t mean you can’t produce creatively ground-breaking work.

Procreate left inspired by the sheer quality of talent and teamwork displayed by the SCADpro students, and would like to thank Danni Fisher-Shin for lending her wealth of expertise and knowledge to the judging, and Emily Schmidt and Helena Aidoo-Morrison from SCADpro for generously contributing their time and offering us the opportunity to partner in such a rewarding and genuinely fun experience. In the end, everyone who participated in the Procreate Creative Challenge walked away a winner.

Discover more about SCADpro over at their Instagram channels @SCADpro, @scaddotedu and @scadfoundations.atlanta, and the SCADpro website.

Related articles