I started studying lots of skateboarding gifs that other animators had done to try and get the motion of the driving leg right. Without doing this it simply wouldn’t look right.
I began with a lot of sketching, frame by frame if you like so I got the leg positions right and then traced this a few times in ink as I wanted to get the a wobbly line effect like my ink drawings had some life to them. I ended up with various sheets which looked like the below. These formed the various leg positions and were scanned sorted in Photoshop.
From there I added shoes, colour and texture and ended up with various limbs that when seperate looked like the below.
Animating in Photoshop
So I worked at 25fps (don’t know why but I heard it’s good) and used multiple video timelines to compile it all together, a separate layer per limb. My timeline and layers looked like this:
Now, unless I take you through every layer in person it would be a bit hard to explain how I did it, which doesn’t help I know. There are some links at the end to some tutorials so you can learn a bit for yourself about video timelines etc.
The above timeline of layers resulted in this motion:
It’s literally only a 4 second clip but enough for me to take into After Effects and add more movement and a bit of wizardry. Before I did this though I turned off the background layer and saved a transparent video. This would give me with more flex when animating in After Effects.
Animating in After Effects
To be honest, I’m not a seasoned vet when it comes to this programme so there was a lot of Googling involved. You hit a problem, just Google it is my advice. A list of what I did in After Effects is as follow:
- Added the jerk movement of the skateboard moving forward
- Gave our friend features using shapes
- Added movement to the eyes
- Re-scaled him at various points so he could avoid the cars
- Used time remapping so the skateboarding clip would last the duration of the timeline
- Added motion blur for a more ‘real’ moving effect
- Added in a moving background to give a greater sense of speed
So that’s about it for After Effects… as I mentioned before it would be easier to show in person how I did it but at least this gives you a good overview of what I have done. Remember Google is you friend!
Back to Photoshop
As with a lot of my illustrations I like to add expressive lines to denote movement the same is when I animate too.
So after rendering the video from After Effects I took it back into Photoshop to add in the expressive movement lines again using video layers to draw these frame by frame.