The Life of a Microbe – Animation by Grumo Student Sonny Mickelson

Sonny Mickelson took the Grumo animation course and produced this awesome animation about the life and tribulations of a lonely microbe.

Sonny-MickelsonSonny Mickelson is a Sydney-based writer with a sideline in silly stories. On her blog’s about page she writes: “Sonny Mickelson is an enigmatic figure, shrouded in mystery and known to very few. Currently co-authoring a book for Allen and Unwin, the title, completion and launch date of which is also a mystery to all involved. To see more of Sonny’s work, subscribe to the Youtube channel.

Sonny shares with us a bit about the process of creating this unique animation:

Why did you make this animation?
It’s basically an exercise in skills development. You learn so much just by jumping in and “doing” you know?

How long did it take to put together?

It took about a week, squeezed in among other projects. It WAS taking forever because I started in Adobe After Effects, but then my computer started to demand things like extra memory, and my brain was starting to overheat because After Effects is such a steep learning curve. So I cancelled my subscription to Adobe and subscribed to Miguel’s course (How to make an awesome animation in Keynote). It was all much easier after that.

How did you record the voice over?

I used garageband – although in future I’ll be using Audacity.

What was the hardest part?

I had great fun making it. I guess the hardest part was the animating – every time I wanted to do something I had a learning curve to go through.

What was the simplest part?

Storyboarding. I wanted it to be very simple, so that part came together fast. The final edit in Screenflow was surprisingly easy too.

How did you create the illustrations?

I can’t draw, but I can kind of replicate what I see. I used a wacom tablet and used some footage of protozoa I found online as inspiration. I used Photoshop Elements to do the drawings.

Where did you find the music? as suggested in the course – great resource.

How did the Grumo course help you?

Every step of the way! I already had the sound recording and a rough storyboard when I signed up to the course, but it would have helped make those steps faster too. It’s a great course – really detailed. Even the marketing sections were really interesting. I never never would have considered using Keynote instead of After Effects without Miguel.

How did you find about Grumo?

I saw a couple of sample lessons on youtube.

What other places online have helped you learn to put together this demo video?

I think the course was the main resource. The version of Keynote used in the course was a bit different from the one I had, so I’d just google any questions I had if what I was seeing didn’t quite line up to what Miguel was saying.

Thanks sharing your work!

Thank YOU! I’m working on my next one now – it has human figures in it so that’s a steep learning curve! My friends keep asking for more about the microbe but I’m like: “I can’t. He’s dead.”

There is no doubt that our mysterious Sonny Mickelson has an amazing natural talent for storytelling and now animation. For a first time attempt this is the best animation from a student I’ve ever seen.

Congratulations Sonny! I can’t wait to see more animations from you.. we’ll miss the microbe though.. ;P

This microbe made the cover of Times... but was it happy?
This microbe made the cover of Times… but was it happy?

If you want to learn how to create an awesome animation like Sonny you can join our course at

You can check out many more Grumo student animated demo videos here:

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