Make Mine a Mini

My first animated illustration in at least 7 years.



I made the video itself over a few days, but the artwork had already been through a storyboard, script, etc.  Honestly, I had too many ideas and now resort to watching my own video to avoid repeating my own mistakes!  The purpose of the video was to present our favorite lesson learned in the Make Art That Sells course.

Last time I did any sort of real animation was 7+ years ago through elective classes at RISD which I adored.  You can see it here if you're curious (the lady was my puppet).  And, while I'm parading my freak-flag, I might as well share my old animated .gifs which you can see here.  Those were done using Photoshop layers.  I blame my brother for that.  He got me into pixel art (you can see his work here & here -- he mainly works in 3D).  This time, though, after going through all the prep work: writing a script, drawing a storyboard, starting my illustrations, scanning them in, ready to start animating... I froze!  I psyched myself out!

I knew I needed to use something else to help me get the results I wanted because I wasn't going to do traditional animation.  I thought of using either Flash or After Effects, but it seemed like such a huge task.  I chose After Effects and started exploring it through various tutorials trying to chip away at it and taking the skills I needed to get the effect I wanted.

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Helpful Tutorials:

First, I started with the Adobe.TV tutorials here which are fine (a little dry, but efficient).

Then, I watched this tutorial series from Phil Ebiner on Skillshare called "Complete After Effects Course" to familiarize myself with the skeleton of the software.  These tuts run somewhat long and you can skip the first 15-30 seconds of each.  These could be condensed.  I recommend with reservations - pick and choose what skill you need to know more about.

Next, I watched Jake Bartlett's "Animating With Ease" Skillshare series and this is where the meat is.  He masterfully edits all the episodes into 100% content.  Have a notepad ready.  Have After Effects open in the background or separate screen.  Be ready to go.

For very specific tasks like the walk cycle or lip-syncing, I really like Fraser Davidson's tutorials also on Skillshare.  The "con" to the walk-cycle course is that he uses strokes to make the limbs.  This makes most people's projects from the class look very similar.  I do like his tutorial-style and he does illustrate the concepts clearly so they're still valuable.  Also, he's humorous and his tutorials are fun to watch which is often not the case with tutorials.

Also, I dedicated an entire post to sharing my workflow in detail in case you were interested!