This week I went to the Van Gogh Immersive in NYC. The Immersive is a series of rooms where the walls are screens. Van Gogh’s work has been made into a moving animation. On the screens his paintings and elements from his paintings move and pulse and transform from one to another to music. The movements sometimes makes it feel as if you are riding in an elevator. You are surrounded by the images on all four sides and in one room the images are also projected on the floor!
The projection plays on a half hour loop. We walked in to a bizarre screen of illustrated flies buzzing around. I immediately thought, “Well this is trippy.” We watched the projection two times, from different rooms. My favorite scenes were the sunflowers, the irises and a brick wall, that was made up of a rainbow of colors.
I’ve been animating my illustrations lately and thought I’d share how I do it. My technique is similar to stop motion – I save an image for each point of movement in the animation. Then I put the images together in iMovie. When the time between frames (or images) is the right speed, it appears as if the illustration moves.
Here are the three animations I created recently – click each image to see the animated movie on Instagram.
Steps to animating your illustration:
Create your illustration. It is easier if the animated part is created separately from the non-moving part. For my reindeer animation – the reindeer is a separate illustration from the lights. The same is true for the elf. The background with the present is one illustration and the elf at the various stages of flipping are separate illustrations.
Create the frames for your animation. Save a separate jpg file for each frame. I use Adobe Photoshop to put the illustrations together and to create the animated element. For the reindeer it was the lights lighting up in different ways. For the candle it was the flame moving and changing shape slightly. For the elf it was the elf in different positions, in different places. See my frames below.
Upload the jpgs into iMovie. Place the jpgs in the order you want them to be viewed. Adjust the time between the frames so the animation looks fluid. Make sure “fit to frame” is selected so each frame doesn’t zoom in and out.
Select “Share to file” to save your movie as an mp4 file to post.
Some of the reindeer jpgs:
In the image to the left only the blue lights are “on.” The one in the middle all the lights are on. On the right only the red lights are on.
Some of the Candle jpgs:
In each image the flame is slightly modified. I wanted it to appear that the candle was flickering.
This year, I’ve started to explore animation. My interest was peaked by some really talented people, especially Rachel Ryle. Definitely check her out (all links below).
I first started playing with hyperlapse video and stop motion video and created videos that were a painting in progress. But keeping the camera steady while working was a challenge. And stopping periodically to film wasn’t any easier.
Next I played with adding motion to my illustrations by creating animated gifs. (Like the tire swing above and my skeleton below.) I was inspired by Illustrator Nancy Liang. (Check out her work in the link below.) I used Photoshop to create the “scenes” (saved as separate gifs) and then would put all the gifs together in imovie. This is a bit tedious because each and every step of a movement has to be a different scene.
I knew their was a better way! I found a talented animator, Emanuele Columbo, on Instagram and asked him what he used to create his animations (link below). How nice of him to share that he used After Effects. And I own After Effects! (It came with a bundle of other Graphic Design software.)
A twenty minute tutorial on youtube by Kriscoart Productions has given me the basics and I’m ready to try After Effects and create a new animation!
But first, as with any animation, you need the artwork to animate. I love the idea of animating my watercolor and ink drawings. My goal is to have an animated turkey by Thanksgiving. Since I’m not cooking this year, I should be able to pull it off!
Below are links to the Animators/Illustrators that have inspired me. What I love about these three is that they all have their own (very different) styles. I’m hoping my animations will be a reflection of me. Animation is definitely going to be a focus of mine in 2016!