chariot on a record wheel

Animation FAQ

Not annoying at all!! I used Photoshop CS3 for the bulk of it, and then my computer died so I moved to CS5. Still getting the hang of it, but luckily the animation stuff hasn’t changed much. I’ve gotten a few asks about my process, and even though I am pretty sure my animation process can be summed up by saying ‘draw lots of pictures in succession and hope they look good together’, I guess I will try and explain a little bit more about how I’ve been doing things. Mind you, I really, really suggest looking up tutorials online if you are interested in animation because this is barebones and it’s just explaining technical aspects of how I animate in CS5 rather than specific techniques. And also half the time I am animating I am mucking around practicing things I’ve just looked up on the internet. So here we go  ┌(;・ω・)┘

My animation screen set up in photoshop usually looks like this:

-On the left is the layer pane, bottom is the animation by frames (there’s a timeline option too, but I haven’t studied much about how to use it yet! I hope to sometime). To open the animation pane, go Window—-> Animation. If it shows up in timeline mode, right click and choose Convert to Frames. Princess Mononoke is playing because why not, and also animation ref. When I’m first starting an animation, I rough it out with 1 layer = 1 frame (you just toggle visibility between frames) and play with the timing from there. Beneath each frame is a time allocation selection, like so: . I draw key frames for scenes I definitely want in there, and set these scenes as placeholders with longer time allocation so I know to go back and add action. But the norm I use is .1 sec.

-When planning out actions, I’ll usually have the current frame and two frames back all visible at once so I can tell the direction the subject is moving in and to create smooth transitions. I have the opacity set to 40ish for the previous frame and 20ish for the previous previous frame.
I do a similar thing when I’m going back and adding frames between key frames by having the current frame, the previous frame, and the future frame visible at once (called onion skinning). Tweening like that is fun because it makes the animation look a lot smoother! But it is also a little grueling to match up movement after the fact sometimes. I added a lot of tweens in the Karkat: Do the fighting thing animation, and even though I was happy with the end result, it was super messy at the rough stage which made moving to the silhouette stage 10x more tedious. Most frames looked something like this as I went:

During the course of roughs I probably play the entire animation back a zillion times, and sometimes just flip between frames using the back and forth buttons to make sure I’m satisfied with given movement.

Those are the basic things I do when animating in photoshop! It is pretty simple and I encourage everybody to start with some small fun things to animate, like eye blinking or expression changing. I think the first thing I did was a walk cycle, and even that gets complicated really fast despite how fundamental it is. I hope this was even just a tiny bit enlightening, a tiny bit helpful. I’ll get around to making a more general ask pile as well, sorry to the folks who have sent me messages! I have gotten them, and I feel the love <3 Thank you everybody!

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