A while ago I posted about Master Studies.
It’s something I still continue to do and usually upload them to my Twitter account.
I thought I would do a follow up post since I’ve made some changes to my studies but also would like to address the most common question, “how are you doing the animated studies?“.
In my previous post I mentioned I liked taking time to focus on detail. After a while you start to become more comfortable with your ability and found actually having a time limit helped me get through more and focus on the main shapes/ideas. Previously I would easily spend a few minutes on each sketch, now I have it down to somewhere between 30 and 60 seconds depending on my mood.
60 seconds each.
A mix of 30 and 60 second studies.
I then started to apply that time limit approach to animation studies. Here is about 90 seconds per frame.
And here going down to 30 seconds per frame.
I feel I got as much out of those as doing something more detailed, without time constraints.
Actually doing the animated studies.
I simply import a quicktime or gif into Photoshop and use the Animation Timeline to draw the different frames.
The animation timeline isn’t exactly the most user friendly. To make things easier creating Actions can help by automating steps.
F1 will set the start point of a frame.
F2 will set the end point of a frame.
F3 will create a new frame starting at the current position of the timeline marker.
If you need more information about that, check out Alex Grigg’s video explaining how he animates in Photoshop.
One question I’m often asked is “do you trace the animation?“. My answer to that is simply no. I don’t feel I’d be learning to understand the shapes, negative spaces, line of action nearly as well by tracing. I draw next to the original. To help keep shape, volume and positioning I will
– sometimes use Onion Skinning
– pay attention to background elements to help keep a sense of where things should be
– on harder studies I will use a grid. The problem I found with a grid is you start paying attention to detail again rather than the overall shape/pose. If you do go that route, the bigger the grid the better.
One limitation of all these studies is that I’m copying what’s in front of me and not necessarily applying what I’ve been getting from each study. As a next step I’ve started doing memory sketching. First copying the pose and then trying to redraw it simply from memory. By doing so it’s easier to see where I can still be pushing poses, shapes, etc.
The other limitation I’m seeing is that by doing the animation test next to the original I’m not paying much attention to timing. That’s something I’m yet to figure out a good answer to, will hopefully have more to say on that next time!