If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'll have noticed I'm posting a lot of hand-drawn animated gifs lately. I can't seem to stop making them. I haven't illustrated anything destined to just be static since last week when I made my first gif. It's become an obsession.
I first took the plunge into animation a few months ago, via my accidental Skillshare subscription (note to self: remember to cancel free trials before they end and you're automatically billed for a whole year in USD. Before). I took a class in animation using After Effects, except I didn't really take the class properly because I'm impatient and skipped over important information and then got so frustrated with my terrible animation that would. not. work. that I just abandoned the idea of ever getting a handle on it.
Since then, I always kind of figured animation was beyond my reach. And though I love the appearance of scrappy hand-drawn animations, I found the idea of actually making them a little unappealing, since you have to manually draw each frame. From the outside looking in, it seemed like an insurmountable mountain of work to draw frame after frame after frame of identical but slightly different content. Which is why I thought I'd start with After Effects, to just manipulate an existing illustration with anchor points. Which was a terrible idea.
But the other day I saw a simple hand-drawn animation on Instagram and decided to give it another go, this time using Photoshop. I thought I'd keep it super low pressure with something really simple, so that I didn't waste hours of drawing frames if it didn't work, because when I'm burnt by something it's difficult for me to come back to it #notveryresilient, and I didn't want to destroy my interest in animation before it even started.
So I started with a simple gif of my dog, using a clip from my phone that I took of him running in our front yard. I drew 12 simple, scribbly frames that took me about 10 minutes all up. It was a low-risk gamble that paid off, because as soon as I saw the motion worked I was hooked. Though I did accidentally animate the sequence in reverse and posted it on Instagram before I noticed the error. The one below is looped in the correct order.
This one was my second ever animation, which was a little harder because I only had a couple of reference images rather than a video to work off. So had to kind of fill the gaps in the movement by making up a couple of the frames. It's a bit jumpy but I'm pretty happy with it!
Last weekend I saw Paul Kelly play live at Kings Park, and it was so excellent it inspired me to create this gif of PK playing the guitar, using a YouTube video as a reference. This one consists of seven individual illustrations, some of which are repeated within the animation to create a total of 10 frames.
My longest gif so far! This one's a whole 51 frames and five seconds, as opposed to the other looping ones which have from around seven to 12 frames and run for less than a sec. Admittedly, I only drew the hoop eight times, so they loop over and over, while the girl is an original drawing in each frame. I added colour to this one and experimented with drawing a background, which I didn't end up using #toomuchwork. Baby steps!
And the walking animation at the top is one I just made now, a kind of lame attempt at a gif to go with the lame title of this blog post (puns are not my strong suit). It's extremely scrappy and the painted colour didn't scan very well, but I really wanted to make an animation with a background and with more colour. It took much longer to make than I thought it would, and while it's really rough and rushed with obvious blurring from my dodgy Photoshop work, I'm mostly happy with it. Though I suspect I will look back on this entire blog post in a few months/years and shudder at my shitty work ¯\_(ツ)_/¯