December 6, 2012

Animation: Part 3

I'm working on the next round of watercolors, but this week I thought I'd delve a little further into my experiments with animation.

This time I actually had to start drawing!  After doing a bit of online research, I sent away for the Plastic Lightfoot Ltd. Round Pegbar which runs about $15, with shipping:

This model is nice for a few reasons: 1) Instead of weirdo rectangular animation pegs, it uses standard 1/4" pegs, which allowed me to just use copy paper and my office three-hole punch, instead of having to order custom-punched animation paper.  Technically the office holes are slightly bigger than 1/4", so it's not as snug a fit as it ought to be, but close enough for what I'm doing!  2) The pegbar can be taped down anywhere, so I did not have to buy an expensive animation drawing disc or table.  I just taped it down on my lightbox while I was drawing, and then taped it down under my camera setup when it came time to shoot my drawings:

You can see here that the lighting setup I was using was less than optimal.  The right side is much brighter than the left side (because I stupidly had an additional light on instead of just the two lamps I have on either side of my setup).  This wreaked havoc later on, when I was trying to put together the frames in Photoshop.  I had to mask off a bunch of different adjustment layers at the top of the document to try and get the pencil lines as dark as possible, while still eliminating as much of the paper "noise" as I could:

Anyway, enough preamble!  Below you can see how it turned out.  I originally exported this "on ones" (24 frames per second) but it was moving way too fast, so I re-exported it "on twos" (12 frames per second), which seems like the intention for an exercise like this.  

I started by drawing out the whole sequence on one sheet of paper, and then used that to lightbox the individual frames.  Is that cheating?  It definitely made things easier, but it meant I was only really thinking about the timing and spacing (and limited squash and stretch) at the beginning.  For the rest of the process I was just on autopilot.

Even though I could have drawn it once as a background element, I drew the base line on every frame to check my registration.  It wiggles around a little bit, but not enough to bother me!  Anyway, I learned a ton by working on this bouncing ball, and it is really fun to see my drawings moving around.  Animation.  Magic!

My next exercise is to attempt a walk cycle, which is a pretty big step up from this simple stuff.  I'm glad I've been taking it one step at a time though.  I'm slowly working out all the technical kinks so that I can hopefully just focus on what I'm trying to animate.  We'll see how it goes!

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