I’ve mentioned a few times about animating within Photoshop but I haven’t yet spoken too much about the act of animating within Photoshop without any sort of detail. Although I have not used Photoshop for animating before this project, I decided to go on ahead and learn how to animate within it due to its image quality, style and ease of use with other Adobe software. It wasn’t learning a software all over again though due to the amount I use Photoshop already but it definitely taught me more about the software and opened up a whole load of other capabilities.
I had practiced using the animating side before and had a peek at it, but the content that people put up about animating within Photoshop was efficient and didn’t feel as if that was all was capable within the software. The majority of tutorials and other programs that look into animating within Photoshop, look at the timeline as a frame by frame image approach, using each layer as a separate frame. This of course does seem logical but time-consuming as well as confusing as I’d want to work at 24 frames per second. So with Annabeth I looked using the other form of timeline but instead of thinking with just layers, we looked at whether or not you could create a canvas with individual frames. We of course knew this could be possible because in the other timeline layout it gives you the frame number and general timeline bar. The workspace resembled the ones seen within Flash and other animating software, so by looking within layer options it became clear that you could alter and add to this. From there it all started off and we had found the video layer options.
From here you can edit the frame options as well as of course creating a new ‘video layer’ which allows you to look at a piece of footage frame by frame. My personal guess is that this layer option would have been created for video footage and being able to do slight editing or any other image based work and looking at footage frame by frame, however what ever it was mainly for, it works very well with the principle of frame by frame animation. Now I knew how I could animate and knowing I could apply everything I’ve learnt within the last modules and dissertation into this animation, I could get on with trying to animate.
Of course this became a big issue and one thing I didn’t realise would be so easy to sort out. It took a few tests with Hannah, Annabeth and Sacha but we worked out simply not to mess with the timeline options for fps. If there was ever a change in frame rate, the frames would not work properly and this was turning out to be a real pain when trying to use other layer features like inserting a blank frame or duplicating. So we needed to find a way to get the canvas to 24 fps or something close, of course there isn’t an option for this that I know of yet. So we had to substitute and use the PAL layout which I could then change the screen size of.
PAL is a screen format and setting that is close enough to the layout I need to be able to later change the canvas size to fit HD format. The issue that was sorted out though was mainly looking at the fps. PAL setting is luckily 25 fps and although it is only one frame more, it is the closest I can get to the frame size I needed within the animation. From here I could animate just as would do within Flash or work with in terms of traditional practice of paper. I used each frame as if it was paper but utilised Photoshops helpful layer system and economically used the various layer options to help me animate more efficiently and in some cases more effectively.
At first I was simply animating the rough lines of the movement, something I had learnt to need to do a lot more of from advice from people such as Joanna Quinn and others, but this helped me get a rough idea of the movement and timing. From there I would then create more defined line but I still liked the rough animated feel to the work, the lines stayed but i took too long on the actual line work and animating still. I thought about my method and decided to take it even further back with general shapes and lines for the movement. I was then able to line everything up and work out all the animating aspect and focus on the movement. Once I had decided that was right I went in and tided up the animation and drew more cleaner line work and filled out the characters ready for Sacha to colour.
Even though the animating is all done within Photoshop, I still feel most comfortable with paper and a pen and this was more prominent when I was trying to test the movements or understand the shot. I always prefer to draw out something on paper before animating or doing any other work on it and I’ve been able to use quite a lot of scrap pieces of paper and notebooks to do so. An example of this is a scan of one of the pages in one of my sketchbooks where I’ve just jotted down notes and tried to break apart different movements. This is something I need to expand and build upon within my own time after the project and observe and learn other movements and try to exaggerate and animate them later.