We can build on this.

IMM at TCNJ Senior Show 2020

May 18, 2020 | 7:00 - 9:00 pm

Lock and Key

Courtney Voorhees


Hello! I’m Courtney Voorhees. Welcome to my thesis project!

So what is Lock and Key? Is it about a locksmith? Are we talking about the new Netflix horror? What’s going on?

Well, Lock and Key is my senior thesis project: a three minute 2D animation centered around a young protagonist named Loccs. Loccs is a precocious and curious girl who, at a young age, stumbles upon a magically locked door. Her curiosity gets the better of her and she searches the cave for the key. When she cannot find it anywhere nearby she doesn’t stop. At the age of 14, she sets out on her lifelong trek to find the correct key. Over the years she collects thousands of keys from all over the world, and along the way she finds independence, confidence, and meaning.

The Project

How was Lock and Key made? It was made with blood, sweat, and tears. Well, no. Maybe some tears but it is 100% blood free. I used ToonBoom Harmony Pro, the software of shows like Archer, Bobs Burgers, and the Simpsons. The first 3 months of the year was spent figuring out the plot and setting for the project. This time was spent on concept art, story boarding, and putting together an animatic. By November I was ready to start on the animation. For the first half of the year, I used a cheap bamboo tablet that was hardly responsive. The project was slow going then as I fought against my tablet and taught myself ToonBoom. But by the end of Winter Break I was working on a nice Huion tablet and had figured out the quirks and qualities of ToonBoom Harmony. The project kicked up speed and I was able to really hit my stride with it.

The Struggle

But then, right towards the end of the year, Coronavirus hit. Everything had to change. I was still able to work on my project, but I found that some software I need, like Photoshop and After Effects, are slow on my weak laptop. I, just like everyone else, had to start working from home. I had less space and less time to work on my thesis. You would think I would have more time, but this was not the case. We as a society also have to deal with the stress and trauma of being surrounded by a deadly virus. So the stride that I hit on the project slowed and suddenly it became a question on if I would finish in time. So I had to make some changes.

Is it Ready

The short answer? No. The long answer is I put together a trailer for this showcase, and while it doesn’t show everything I’ve completed for the animation, it will give you a taste of what is to come. And it is to come. By June 15th the project will be up and ready on YouTube and on my portfolio. I have not given up on it just because I’ve graduated. I’m very passionate about this project and I’m dedicated to finishing it as soon as possible. So keep your eye out for Lock and Key, coming soon.