I've finally finished! It premiered today in front of a prestigious audience (my parents). I was very, very happy with it - mainly because I'd finished and it's such a relief - but the reviews were mixed. One critic (my mum) gave her valid opinion as follows: "wow, it's really good". However another (my dad), questioned it thus: "could she've turned her head? That wouldn't have taken much more work would it?" At which point I ended the event rather abruptly and went off to sulk.
I’ve got home from my holiday in Achmelvich, which is a small village in the northwest coast of Scotland. It’s an absolutely beautiful, remote part of Britain, over 10 hours drive away from here in the Midlands and only 30 miles south of the north coast. I went swimming in the sea off the northwest coast (for less than five minutes just to say I'd done it), and I climbed a mountainous rock called Suilven with my mum who is over 60! It took 9 hours and near the top we saw a Brocken Spectre - a rare(ish) phenomenon. It wasn’t all fresh air and fun however, I took my computer with me and every evening after a hard day’s climb or walk or row, got on with my animation project. For the past week back at home, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends trying to perfect it. I’ve realised that I haven’t updated my progress on my project since I got back, so I think that now is a good time to do a review on all I’ve learnt.
the creation of a Photoshop animation:
1. takes an awful lot of time - and tenacity – and patience
This might seem obvious, but to put it into perspective, I thought that with the design stage completed and the
story boards drawn up, my actual 1 minute (less actually) of animation would take three or four days to complete. It’s taken three weeks! Now my inexperience in the process will have played some part in that, and there were a number of set backs along the way, but four or five times longer than I expected, really?!
2. is really worth it
It’s probably crazy to spend three precious weeks creating one minute of animation, but there’s a huge amount of
satisfaction in seeing my own images moving, seeing it play right through for the first time and by definition, "coming to life”.
3. requires a good drawing tablet
Mine broke! It wasn’t a very good one and I relied on it heavily. I borrowed one from a friend but it really didn’t like my computer - I now know how frustrating it must be for people with nerve problems to draw. The cursor absolutely flipped. Fortunately after various tantrums about the impossibility of drawing with a cursor pad and the fact that there wasn’t time to go to Worcester to buy a tablet my dad kindly offered to get a new one for me.
4. requires careful Planning
I thought I’d done quite well in starting with a story board, and knowing exactly how I wanted my sequence to
go. What I didn’t consider in enough detail was how I was going to achieve what I’d drawn in the storyboard
and how long it would take.
5. teaches you how to use Photoshop
I’ve been told a number of shortcuts on Photoshop and promptly forgotten most of them. But there’s nothing like a looming deadline as an incentive and 201 frames of animation as practice to make them stay in your head.
The square brackets keys!!! Why did I forget that one before? The free transform option was a revelation in itself to me, but to find that I could do ctrl T was a celebratory moment. Ctrl E became important when I had to create one animated object separately because it was so complicated with a number of extra layers, and then paste it into the original frames.
6. requires some careful notetaking
Records of sizes and positions were something I did from the start and was glad that I had. I had to work out on paper how much to reduce my images by each time to zoom out evenly, which made it far easier when I wanted to add new images later on to know how much to reduce those by too! With a lot of moving parts to one picture I kept a record of how far or by how many degrees everything moved the first time so that I could keep the movements even each time.
My summary of the project:
I was absolutely terrified of this project and was reluctant to do an animation at all – I wanted to make a paper doll – but time management was a better unique selling point for Louise than fashion. If I knew what I know now, would I still be as terrified? Probably more. But I’ve learnt so much and actually really enjoyed the challenge (now that it’s almost over). It feels like climbing Suilven all over again. Seeing the “premier” of the final animation will be like seeing the Brocken spectre looking down from the ridge up to the final peak and getting the mark could be like reaching the summit – let’s hope it’s not in cloud! (Very shameful analogy, I know).
Well, that’s it for now!
End of review.
This picture below is a frame from my animation. Using photoshop to draw the pictures for the animation is something I've never done before. I've also had problems with my version of Photoshop which is very old so I had to use Image Ready which is all new to me. As you can see from my above screen grabs, my method of rotating the cogs wasn't the most efficient, until I convinced myself there must be an easier way, which of course, there was! It's a steep learning curve - which is great!