Saturday, 17 October 2009

I'm an Animator now!

This is my first "proper" animation made in After Effects, thanks to some tuition by Ian Macklin of the who was kind enough to spend some time with us and teach us the basics. Although Flash looks to have some advantages over AE, you cant knock the simplicity of it and the familiar workspace but this isnt the animation I had planned. Originally I had ideas of grandeur featuring 8 different characters and scenes... but i greatly under estimated the ammount of time it would take jsut to try animate a character that could simply walk across a screen.



I spent the whole 3 weeks dedicated to this project designing the characters and creating a story behind them, to link them all together, i changed my mind tonnes of times on how they should look and feel until I realised they didnt have character/personality with nothing unique or distinguishable between them. Finally though I settled on the designs above, created in Photoshop but made to look like Illustrator (I just work faster in photoshop) and now I just need to get them all walking... it's just a little more difficult than I first imagined. I wasn't even going to do this, I was looking at animated comics like I posted previously but my story lacked any real interest apparently. I can't remember if I've already said this but I love comics and everybody assumes I want to draw comics for a living, but because I love them so much I wouldnt want a job in that area as it could destroy my passion for them... similarly I have avoided animation. I love cartoons... at 23 year old I am often criticised (by friends and family) for STILL watching cartoons before work and uni, from early Warner Bros and Hanna Barbera to modern Cartoon Network shows, and for this reason I feel I would lose any sort of passion for them... but still I've not looked at the positive... maybe because I love cartoons so much, I'd REALLY love making them and creating something fun.... hmmm....

Ian showed us all a piece of work by animator Carolina Melis ( ) who through subtle movements and nuances creates a wonderfully alive characters... in particular we saw her video for the song 'Go go ninja dinosaur' by Four Tet involving a colourful dino going for a walk across a changing background of patterns and shapes.... in fact... here, watch it...

The way the dino bobs up and down, coupled with the timing of the legs, their subtle raising and falling and the moment when a foot hits the floor gives him a bumbling/ambling along kinda feel and personality. Something so simple can have such a huge effect, and its these little details I often miss in my work, but this is why my epic animation is taking so long as I try to bring my cast to life. (check out the 7th animation on her website... 'Walk this Way' for Animal Planet, which features a menagerie of animals mimicing each others movements... but note the lion right near the end with his jointed legs and paws... such a simple idea but executed perfectly and precisely)... I have found an interview with her on the Computer Arts website, but am yet to read through it and extract what I need.

Melis' and my own idea for an animation actually reminded me of old school side scrolling video games, none of this fancy 3D environments :P, but more specifically Sonic the Hedgehog and the limitations of 16-bit computer graphics... but also the patterns in Green Hill Zone's landscape....

1 comment:

  1. nice piece man, was looking forward to the original concept but thats a top start...well played :)