What was the task at hand?

During the second week of the first semester, we jumped into the Animation JAM, which carried on directly from the from last weeks Character JAM with our created characters. We were instructed to take our created character, and make an animation which would be able to meet up at either end to make a loop which would then be turned into a GIF rather than a video. I started thinking about things my character would do in their normal life, or perhaps outside of their daily routine when (referring to backstory) trying to find the person that framed him for a crime he didn’t commit. it would be difficult to do something like this with a repeating animation, even more so when I’ve only ever done it once in the past with moving images.

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Final Animation from my FMP Project from college

My initial idea was to have my character standing over the corner of a building on the roof which was heavily influenced by the typical image of a superhero looking down on a crime ridden city. The animation would be set during a type of storm which would flash lightning making the screen white, then revealing that Azazel had disappeared in an instance. It would then change to an alley way with two ‘goons’ with moon halos walking through, before Azazel appearing in front of them with a fight proceeding to break out amongst the three beings. The fight would continue before a final flash would reset the scene with it starting atop the rooftop once again, essentially allowing it to loop without having to meet the start and end up perfectly. I began to realise how much of a task this would end up being, simply because of my lack of experience with drawn animation, which is why i decided on doing another more manageable animation instead.

Second and Final Idea:

After consulting with Kieran (probably spelt wrong…) who suggested that i simplify the my animation as we just need to create a looping GIF rather than a feature-length film. He put forward the idea of having mt character walking down the street which the ‘camera’ trailing behind, before zooming in a doing a 360 degree rotation around the mid section of Azazel. This would not only make it simple as i would only need to rotate Azazel but it would also have the reveal of there being no face once the camera was placed in front. The animation would then continue on before doing the reverse in terms of zooming away from Azazel before a flash would reveal his wings which are concealed to the average person.

I preferred this idea to my previous one as i would only have to focus on the character movements and camera rotation rather than factoring in the movements of other characters. Not only this but I only had a week to complete this animation, and to do something as complex as my original idea i would need to include the surrounding environment, as without it it wouldn’t make sense to the view with regards to what was happening. I also liked the idea of it being a basic reveal that the person in focus wasn’t all what they appeared to be at first glance, and instead there was another side to him that constantly remains hidden.

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Application Used & Drawing Animation:

I was initially going to use traditional animating techniques with regards to hand drawing each frame onto a piece of paper over a light box, to which i would then collate and photograph. After considering this course of action, my main worry was not having a viable way of combining each picture digitally into a file in order to turn it into a repeating GIF. With this in mind i decided to utilise my tablet and pen which would make digitising the images easier, and set out about finding the top recommended apps around the subject that i wanted to do. I came across sites such as Bloop Animation, AppAdvice and AppsPicker, in order to get a rounded idea of what apps came up more frequently than others. The two i chose to test were Animation Creation HD and Animation Desk Classic which both were similar in ways but different in others, however AD Classic had more options to choose from whilst creating my animation.

I initially started the animation by drawing the character and the surrounding environment at the same time, however quickly dismissed this plan once i realised i don’t know how to draw a person walking. I soon began looking for images and videos to help me in learning how to complete this task effectively, as i didn’t want it to look out of place or even appear as if Azazel was floating towards the screen. I came across a video that was uploaded to YouTube by ShasonTakiyo which clearly shows an animation of a person walking from a rear view camera position. It allowed me to clearly view how the feet and legs act during a walk cycle, which in turn enabled me to create my own walk cycle with just the feet, before moving onto the rest of the body.

After recreating these two videos i am now at the point where i no longer need the visual aid when creating a walk cycle from behind, however i would need to follow the similar steps if the point-of-view were to change. I then started to draw the actual animation starting with a zoomed out drawing from the back of my character, using the same techniques that i learned from previous examples. I continued to use the storyboard created previously to ensure what i had to do and what i had to aim towards, as opposed to doing guess work and hoping goes well.

Once my animation was finished the next task was finding something that would enable me to convert it into a self playing GIF, without needing to do it in a piece of software. I first looked at IOS apps but to no effect, as many of the ones i looked at only allowed me to create a GIF from a video that was 10 seconds or less, which was troublesome as my animation was 16 seconds. My only other option was to look online to find any websites that would allow me to create GIF that was longer than 16 seconds, but came across Imgur which did.

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Final Animation GIF

Header was taken from: https://pixabay.com/en/angel-dark-dark-angel-gothic-goth-2665661/ on 23/12/2017