Animating is hard

So, every once in a blue moon I get the urge to animate something, and yesterday evening I got the urge to sketch out a little walk cycle, to prove a point. I chose Penny because Penny is just circles and therefore should be easy to draw over and over

I started out with the head, torso and legs, and once I was kinda happy with that, I added the arms, tail and skirt on using different coloured lines to stop myself getting too confused. I thusly ended up with this;

This took roughly 20 minutes, mostly of me guessing where the legs should be and making sure it looped. I could see several issues with it, notably the fact that the stride was stronger on one step than the other, and that her head is made of jelly, so afterwards I went back to edit it again.

Soon I had this;

Much better! Especially on the legs. Looks less like she’s tripping over with every step. This is a Penny walking with purpose,,,

I then went to bed and came back to it the next morning, where I then got the smart idea of lining it in Clip Studio rather than FireAlpaca, which I’d been using up to this point. This idea had pros and cons.

The pros being that I get to use my usual brushes instead of the FireAlpaca ones, which don’t agree with my touchscreen and glitch out occasionally. The cons being that I had to sorta guess if the lines weren’t awful and needed redoing, and therefore found myself constantly redrawing little bits, resaving and then shoving back into FireAlpaca to preview the animation.

But I managed! And I got this out of it;

Which is acceptable, I’d say. Still a little jagged but I only drew 6 frames so that’s to be expected. I’d draw more but that’d mean colouring more and I have better things to be doing.

On the subject of colouring… It was a surprisingly simple task, despite the fact I’ve added a bunch of new markings to Penny’s design a few months back. It’s where Penny’s simple shapes came in handy, I tried to use the lines to measure where to put each marking. Overall I think that worked, though it again took some tweaking.

Have the final product in both traditional GIF and also APNG because it looks nicer.

(Oh, and I flipped her around so more of the orange on her face would be visible, I could’ve done the other side but it was looking a bit flat for my tastes.)

So yeah, there ya go.

My general belief is that animating is one part figuring out how to animate something, how the weight and physics and timing and all that jazz should go, and five parts just drawing over and over.

I also think that the sketching part of animating gets easier the better your grasp of anatomy and 3d shape gets. This is because you’re basically using the same skills you develop to draw in order to animate. Easier to decide where the arm should go when… you know where the arm should go.

Starting an animation? Is fun. Finishing an animation? Super fun. But the bit in the middle is a chore, I tell you. If you’re in the zone and pumping lines and colours out, it’s fine, but if you’re not into it? It feels like a ridiculous amount of work.

Respect your animators, I tells ya.

2 Responses to “Animating is hard”

  1. Cammy Says:

    Ayy, good post >>:3c

    Godspeed, good animators–I couldn’t do it. Even simple stuff looks,,,,mildly frustrating. Cammy needs to work on his patience first. Maybe in 20 years, who knows,,,

  2. caby Says:

    I’d say stopframe is more your style