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...has begun!
For Christmas, I got a sketchbook that looked a lot like a flipbook. Before that, I have said that traditional animation is basically not achievable for me, but now that I have the tools, I'm intrigued.
  1. First test
  2. Cloud Whale (lightbox edition)

  1. As a test for myself, I made this little rat animation:
    I didn't use all the available space on the paper. That was a mistake. The flipbook isn't big - but once I figured out how to flip the pages to animate the details, I realised that drawing only on the far edge limits me severely.
    So, yeah, this is small. Making it bigger next time.
  2. So I made it bigger. Not with the sketchbook, mind you. I took DIN A4 pages.Flipping the pages was not practical yet, I don't really know how to do that. Instead, I relied on a technology many people in the comments wanted me to use. I'm talking about the lightbox, of course.

    But I didn't want to spend too much money on that. As luck had it, I gained my first experiences at my workplace. After that, I was hooked enough to try to make a cheap version at home. The first thing I tried was a glass cutting board, and a desk lamp shining underneath it. Its surface on one side isn't smooth and makes shadows everywhere, so it doesn't make the ideal lightbox surface, but it is the most available one I have.
    Less available, but way better: a fridge shelf made out of glass. I was able to use it for a weekend, before it was needed for something as trivial as food (can you imagine?) - but this weekend alone allowed me to work on in for quite some time.

    As hooked as I was, I made the mistake of making the animation more lengthy than it had to be. I initially wanted to make a simple swimming whale, but it turned out to be one with lots of frames and also an animated background that I needed to draw separately. Ouch.

  • Conclusions

    • Advantages

      Essentially, it makes character animation possible. I have learned how to use pencils over the years - a drawing tablet is great, but it limits me. Let's see how it turns out.
    • Disadvantages

      Inbetweening is not possible. Clean animations with continuously thick lines are impossible. Colour... well, let's not talk about that. Onion skinning only reaches 1 layer downwards (I will explore options like lightboxes and finding thinner or more transparent flipbooks). And I can pretty much forget looping.

      Unless you have a lightbox. The disadvantage here is: Holding the pages together, especially when they're way bigger than the sketchbook, becomes more difficult.

      Also, it turns out that tracing for tweening, gripping as hard as I do, can hurt my fingers. Also, while this is not an immediate concern right now, I can feel there's a certain strain on my back. Finding a way to inline the lightbox would be nice.

      But I noticed that it's really hard getting the same level of dark for the pencil lines on each frame.
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Submitted on
January 14, 2017


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