Tonight I took my first stab at hand-drawn animation.  It was tough!  It was a very enlightening experience though.  I did a walking sequence.  I could have just done a stationary walk cycle but instead I decided to have him move across the screen which made it extra tough for me.  I scrapped my first attempt because I had designed a character with too  much detail in the face that I found it almost impossible to draw it exactly the same as it moved across the screen.  I started over with a simpler character.  The guy you see above.  His face was simple enough that I was able to redraw it fairly consistently as it moved across.
The other aspect of this test that was particularly challenging was the medium of dry-erase markers.  I was truly learning something new frame by frame.  There is a reason that most dry-erase animations commonly present the line itself animating to create a static drawing.  Every time you re-trace over a line that’s already there you end up creating a white line within that.  The hardest part was erasing the lines from a previous frame after I had drawn the next.  I found that if I used a Charcoal Stump Shader I could erase the lines from my previous frame with more precision and keep the lines that I wanted to save untouched.  Without it I would’ve been lost, honestly.
It’s kind of tough to see while it plays but in the first few frames I animate the arm movement incorrectly.  The left arm follows the left leg rather than the inverse which is what we naturally do when we walk.  Halfway through the walk, I fix it and finish the rest using the correct movement.
It took me two hours to draw 15 frames!  The one encouraging thing is that I found myself getting better as I got closer to the end.  If I were to redo it again I’m absolutely positive that I would do it both better and faster.

5 Replies to “Day 122 / Animation Is Hard!

  1. The B-Roll

    Thanks for the comment. The animation is just hand drawn on a dry-erase board. But I did take the pictures into Adobe After Effects to actually create my quicktime. After Effects isn’t pertinent, though. You could use Quicktime Pro to do the same thing.

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