Hand Drawn Animations

So I tried my hand at my first hand-drawn animation. I used the gif above and took it apart frame by frame so I could trace each one. 
Since this was my first time I was just experimenting. I decided to start with 30 sketches and to save time and ink I printed each frame small and 9 per sheet. I was thinking that I would just make quick traces over it since it was only a test run but I ended up spending a lot more time sketching each frame. If I would have known I would end up doing that I would have printed each frame bigger and at a better quality because I could barely make out what was there. I had to use my handy (it actually has hands) magnifying glass. 

 This shows what each sketched page looks like. Since the background doesn't change there isn't a point in re-sketching each time. I could just keep it at the base for the entire animation - and only change it once he opens the door. I chose this gif partly because it hand a steady background - if the bg moved then it would have to be re-sketched every time.
This one shows it with a steady background and him being superimposed over it. Only 6 frames  - or sketches. It's the first test I did with a steady bg.  

This is the second test and I realized that for some reason he wasn't aligning with himself in each subsequent frame. 

This one shows what all of the sketches I made look like together without a steady background - exactly as I drew each frame. To make sure they are aligned or to align them later I realized it was best to always sketch a 'marker' in each frame - I used the pyramid next to the door.

This is the "final" version. I could have done it a lot better but it was just a test to better understand the underlying concepts. Experience is the best teacher and I definitely learned more by doing this than I ever had from reading about it. If I were to do it again I would do it a lot differently taking into account what I learned from what did and didn't work the first time. If it was more than just a test I would try and make each sketch better and more consistent, I could add color and shading. I could use my own videos or even sketch completely from my imagination - which would add a LOT more complexity. I probably should have used a much more basic thing to animate for my first time, but eh. 

It made me appreciate what goes into hand made animations like the older Disney Movies but also why almost everyone has switched to cgi. The invention and implementation of the xerox machine alone would have saved the animators hours of work. I could re-create the same animation on the computer more accurately, easily, and 1000xs faster.

It's kinda like comparing taking film pictures vs digital. There is absolutely NO advantage what so ever in taking pictures with a film camera over digital. The real reason to use older methods is to better understand the underlying concepts that are lost or over-looked with new technologies.

When I was taking a web site design class in college the teacher had us make a simple web site by writing the code by hand. Why do that when there are programs that automatically take care of all of that? So instead of clicking a button to "add a picture" you would have to type out the code *img src=blah blah blah" and then add in the dimensions you want it to be, instead of clicking and dragging. This could seem frivolous but it's helped me many times when I couldn't figure out why a web site wasn't doing something properly - I could look at the code and see what was wrong. If I hadn't learned the basics then I wouldn't even understand it enough to notice a problem let alone know how to fix it.

The same could be said of film and digital - if I didn't research how film worked then I wouldn't really understand what the settings on a digital camera mean. I've never actually used a film camera (only disposable ones)- but I learned the basic concepts of how it works so I could understand the advanced concepts that make a digital camera work. What is ISO or exposure? I knew what they did to a picture but I didn't know why, or how or where they came from.

The coolest thing about doing this is that I can remember the exact moment I realized how cartoons were made when I was little, probably 5. I was like, ohhh! it's just drawings -sketched over and over and only changed a little and then shown in order! I was so excited that I ran to grab a pencil and paper and started.. and was like. Whhat? This is a lot harder than I thought and I gave up in a minute and never even attempted it again for 25 years. It was something I've always wanted to do and have been fascinated by but I never took the time to even try.

 So while I learned a lot and got what I needed from it I also did something that I ended up really enjoying. The feeling of seeing something I drew, animate - and doing something that worked out exactly how I wanted it to - was almost enlightening - and at least inspiring to get that high again.

Here are some other quick animations I made!

Hand sketched animation of ballerina feet walking, backwards

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