Watcha Doin? My Animation Process

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Some of you have been asking me on Tumblr how I make my GIFs and what program/s I use to animate, so here's a post showing you guys my usual animation process as I make my Sassy Cat GIF!

Sassy Cat is now up on the Line & Giphy Sticker Shop Contest website!

If you want more Sassy Cat (and possibly see this as a real sticker on the Line app) then
Please help me get into the Top 20 by voting for this sticker HERE
You can vote AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WANT until NOVEMBER 16 2014
I'd also love it if you could spread the word!

EDIT: Thank you so much to everyone who voted and supported Sassy Cat!
You guys helped me reached over 100k votes! Unfortunately, my entry didn't
make it to the Top 20. It was still a good try though! :D

1. Find References - The first thing I like to do is collect video references, especially if the movement I'm trying to do is tricky. I import them to Adobe Flash as GIF or FLV files, then go through each frame so I can study the movement.

For Sassy Cat, I used this GIF I found on Giphy:

2. Sketch It Out - With the video reference as my guide, I make VERY rough sketches of the main poses of my animation:
Then I space them out to estimate the timing of the whole movement:
QUICK TIP: It's better to sketch your animation with the Pencil tool instead of the Brush tool because the line stroke stays the same even if you zoom in or out of your sketch. You can also click the Outline View button to see your lines much thinner and clearer:

3. Refine, Refine, Refine - Next, I make a cleaner version of my initial sketch on a separate layer, and add more frames in between the poses.

From here on out, it's a LOT of trial and error as I polish my animation til I get it just the way I want it. Below are just some of the MANY passes Sassy Cat went through:
(a) Animating the body first

(b) Then the hair and face

(c) I changed the way the hair fell for this last one to get a better silhouette on the final pose.
4. Clean up and color - When I'm happy with my sketched animation, I start to clean it up and add color. My process for this varies depending on the art style I'm going for:
a) For a no-outline style like in Dear Mother Nature, I block in the colors by tracing over my sketched animation using the Brush tool (or Pen tool if I want a cleaner look)
b) For a really sketchy style like with Gangnam Gopher, I export each keyframe from Flash, import them in Photoshop, then color each frame using various Photoshop brushes.
c) For a sketchy outlined style like for my Sassy Cat GIF, I trace over the outlines using the Brush tool, then use the Paint Bucket tool (or the Brush tool on a separate layer below) to add color inside the lines.
5. Export - When I'm finally happy with how everything looks, I export the animation and I'm done!

If you've got any questions, don't hesitate to ask me!

And don't forget to KEEP VOTING FOR SASSY CAT!
Thanks so much guys!

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