Welcome to the world of Motion Comics! This is a specialized form of animation using portions of original artwork to animate a story rather than individual drawings for each frame or cgi characters. By animating in this style, we are able to keep the aesthetic of individually drawn panels with complicated foregrounds and backgrounds; we are able to make our comics into films.
Besides adding movement to our drawings, we’ll be able to create talking head characters that can be animated through your very own webcam- “live” animation using Adobe Character Animator!
This class uses animation techniques in Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, and a sub-program of After Effects called Character Animator, so you’ll need access to those to start with. We’ll cover the basics of each program so if this is your first time animating, this class is for you!
For my demo, I chose to use public domain Golden Age comics, so I'll show you how to break apart and clean up the artwork from these scans. If you need artwork, feel free to follow my example, or use your own illustrations.
This class is designed to work with flat, comic book-style illustrations.
This class is not for people who are more interested in fully rendered, realistic animation in the vein of Pixar.
Also, we are focused on the technique and not on a final, fully completed 30 minute film with sound and voices. The final stories and editing are so unique project-to-project that I have chose to focus on these animation methods.
See you in class!
If you don't have your own artwork to work with, it's easy to find some fun public domain material to work with. We cover one such site, the Digital Comic Museum.
This is the where we take apart the comic panels to make it animation-ready.
We are getting deep into Photoshop's Animation Timeline panel. This involves turning Layers on and off between frames and setting a duration for each frame.
We'll cover warping and transforming your individual layers so there's added motion between frames.
We cover "tweening", how animators automatically add extra motion between frame movements.
To create a full scene in After Effects, we need to export our animation loops with only the moving parts without a background. Here we cover how to keep the alpha channel (the "empty space") when making your mini-animations.
Here we talk about how Character Animator actually works with Photoshop layers.
Here we adapt our artwork for the Character Animator template.
Finishing touches in Photoshop to get a fully functioning face for animation.
Preliminary steps in Adobe Character Animator!
Here we cover how to make our talking head have additional movements such as dangles.
Once you have done your motion capture and lip sync, you'll need to export a PNG sequence (the frames) and WAV file (audio). We discuss that here as well as how to get it over to our final program, Adobe After Effects.
Here we introduce Adobe After Effects and how compositions work.
We have a brief introduction to effects and animation presets.
Here we discuss building up the full scene with more layers and having more lively movements between keyframes by changing their velocity (how quickly or slowly they change).
Parenting means linking one layer to another so that they move in unison. Here we show how to parent in a fuller scene with multiple layers.
We add placement of backgrounds and try to show more depth between foreground objects with effects.
Adding adjustment layers for special effects that cover all your other assets.
Want to add some additional depth and camera movements? Here we include some ideas for 3d motion comics.
Since compositions can be nested, we address pre rendering (creating animations a section at a time) and rendering (creating an animation with all of your assets in play).
David was born in 1977 in Omaha, NE. He graduated with his BFA in Photography from Arizona State University in 2006, creating portrait series that reflected both the hyperkinetic films, games and comics of the 1980s and 1990s, as well as more humanist documentary work with Indigenous communities in America and Australia.
After ASU he became a teaching artist as well as exhibing around the Southwest/ West Coast and been published in numerous magazines such as Orion, View Camera, B+W/ Color, and others. In 2014 he was named as one of the top 100 Creatives of Arizona by New Times Magazine. He currently lives in Chandler with wife Vesna and 2 children, Patrick and Magdalena.