This week I got some free time so I set out to make a few cel animation dancing gifs. I got 3 finished, ‘The Ballet Dancer’, ‘The Moonwalker’ and ‘The Pole Dancer’. All of the character animation was done in Photoshop with Animdessin and then taken into After Effects and composed into a short 20 second video.
This post will take you through my process from start to finish.
Here is the final video!
I started off in my sketchbook getting ideas down. I initially thought I wanted a separate dance to reveal each letter but the further I went the more I wanted to keep it just as the dancers in shot (although I did like the Pole Dancer jumping through the D).
Here are my initial sketchbook ideas for animating each letter.
The next step is to move into Photoshop and begin animating some stick figures. I start with the main poses and then fill in the blanks depending on the timing and feel of the animation. Once I have a stick figure moving how I want him to I take my blue ink and do a quick sketch pass of the character over the top of it. This can be quite time consuming so a shit tonne of coffee and some good music helps no end!
Here are the 3 dances after their second pass of animation. You will notice I paint their left hands and feet red. This is purely to help visually track the motion of the limbs when performing fast spins.
The next step is to do my line work. For my line work I use one of Kyles Photoshop brushes from his Megapack as they are the best I have found for everything I do. Once the line work is complete I will ink the characters. For this I will just use the paint bucket tool in Photoshop as I don’t have the time to hand paint each pose for this job.
Here are the animations ready for After Effects.
My final step is to add some background colour and some particle effects to give them a magical type feel in After Effects.
Here are the final 3 dances prior to adding the music and transitions.
And the finished video 1 more time. Any questions drop me a message.