Specialisation Project Post-Mortem

And for the last of my blog posts this trimester, I give you the post-mortem for my Specialisation Project. I wish that this had been the main project for this trimester, and that the group project had held less sway on our learning outcomes, then I’d spend more time researching animation techniques then worrying about how much time I have to complete a shot for someone. Though I will conceed to the point that many of our learning outcomes are all about following the project brief, going from pre to post preduction, and working with a team towards the final deliverable. Anyway, onto what this blog post is actually meant to be about.

My specialisation project this trimester focused on improving my 2D animation skills, and broadening my understanding of different techniques so that my animation look more believable. So in the end I endevoured to make this:

Night Scare

And this:

Mr Amazing Invinci-ball UPDATED

What went well, and why?

I think, in the end, what went well was my research. I found websites, articles and books that were able to give me information and recommendations that I could use and that I could easily read over several times to make sure I understood what I was doing. There were also plenty of sources of information to cross reference. The most helpful source was “The Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams, and I say that because it is a book, that I can physically hold, and bookmark. I can keep it open on the same page and not change tabs on my computer while I am animating.

Another thing that went well was the actual animation. I had a few problems with my laptop maxing out it’s memory usage, but that is such an easily fixed problem that it was merely an inconvienence. For once I didn’t focus on the look of my drawings and just focused on getting the movement right.

What didn’t go well, and why?

To continue off the animation part of the last question, there were some animations that I did focus on the look and not the movement, and the quality of these animations was blocky and very flat. This would be a case of I need quantity over quality, where I need to make more sketchy animation with good movement, rather than a few nicely lined animation with horrible movement. At the same time as having bad animation, focusing on the detail slowed down my work progress and I wasn’t able to do as much work as I had planned to do.

What else didn’t go well? My time management. With the Meet the Team project running past the due date, as well as cross-discipline work and my elective subject, I had a lot to juggle around my timetable, and I should have been able to do so, I just haven’t been able to. I haven’t worked out the right way for me to manage my time yet. I should listen to everyone who gives me a way to try out. My time management skills cut the time I spent on all of my projects, not just my specialisation.

One last thing that didn’t really work, was the study group that our lecturer had set up. Nothing happened in it, no one spoke after the initial silly chat, it was just dead, which defeated the purpose of the study chat group.

What would I do differently next time?

Next time? I would definitely start this project sooner, as to have some work ready by the time that we are starting to talk about it in class.

I would also make sure that I try and write down a to-do list, and some semblance of a schedule to follow. This should hopefully get more work done. With this, I shouldn’t feel like I’m stuck in a web of assessment.

One last thing I would do differently next time is ask for the opinions of my peers more, good advice comes from them, and ideas to improve your work. At least, that is what I have seen. If the lecturer sets up a group chat then I shall use it, ask for help and opinions, offer opinions and advice, and share the knowledge that I have aquired.

What I learnt during the project?

I learnt a few things during this project, such as lip sync and the beginnings of cloth animation. I also learnt the beginnings of facial expressions in 2D animation. But I also learnt different ways of extending my animation and making it shorter or faster. Such as giving key frames longer periods on screen, deleting some key frames that slow the animation down and are unnessasary for the movement.

One thing that I discovered was the limitations of Adobe Animate, where there isn’t a way to change the opacity of a layer. Or perhaps there is and I haven’t discovered it yet. There is no soft brush either, meaning I am stuck with hard lines.

From this I learnt about animating in Adobe Photoshop, where every layer is a new frame of animation. I didn’t get to test this myself, however I did watch one of my classmates doing this. It was very interesting to watch. Adding new frames to the animation also allows you to choose which layer is being used, so the layers don’t need to be in order. The order just makes the layers easier to find.

Future goals for skill development

My goal for future skill development, is to get to a point where I can have a few frames of smooth, coloured and shaded, finished 2D animation. To do this, I will most likely have to move on from Adobe Animate and find more animation software that gives me a greater range of tools to use, such as Anime Studio. I also want to get better at lip sync. I might grab some voiced lines from movies or cartoons that I can animate a character’s mouth to.

One last thing I learnt was the dire need that I have to learn how to draw a character that isn’t facing front on, I had much trouble drawing any character from any side view other than profile. I should do more drawings with characters in three quarter or around there side posing. It will make my animation better.

That’s all I have for this blog post. I enjoyed this trimester, and I hope to learn much more next trimester. Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I’ll see you all next time.



2D Obstacle Course Assignment – Part 2

About a month ago, I wrote a blog post about this assessment, detailing my research into the movement of Papyrus from Undertale and Obelix from Asterix and Obelix. During that month I have sketched, lined, blocked out, and finalized my obstacle course animation. It was not a simple task to complete, and there are parts that I wish were different, as well as the several mistakes that I have come to notice.

In the thumbnailing process I first was just simply sketching the characters on a blank photoshop document, trying to work out who would be the easiest for me to draw, and it became clear, quite quickly, that one character was simply impossible for me to draw.

Papyrus and Obelix sketches 01

As you can see, I was unable to draw Obelix, and as much as I would have loved to animate him, I simply didn’t have the time left in the trimester to work out how to draw him, so I had to abandon that idea. I moved onto trying to make the supplied rig work with Papyrus.

Papyrus and Obelix sketches 02

There’s what I managed to come up with. I am inspired to draw Papyrus now. Before I do that however, I shall finish this post. When I was interpreting Papyrus onto the Normi_ *hemhem* Norman rig, I tried to find the perfect blend between the two. In the end, I just kept the scarf. Had I of had the time, I would have most certainly made the animation solely Papyrus with no sign of the supplied reference.

After the sketches came the thumbnailing of Papyrus across the course. We were supplied with two courses and told to do both. So here they are:

Rebekah B Obstacle course papyrus 1

Rebekah B Obstacle course papyrus 2

This consisted of a lot of copy and paste of the march frames. Ultimately I chose the first one, I felt that I could do more with it, and there were more unique actions in it. From this came the block out of my animation. A few differences from the planned course, but still mostly the same.


I particularly like his start/end pose, and his jump animation. They are quite cute. My lecturers told me that Papyrus couldn’t clear obstacles with his bones as elevators because that was almost the same as him clearing the course by jumping over it and bypassing everything. Well Papyrus would hate to be that lazy! So I made him climb the wall instead. My father also suggested that Papyrus slide down the slope on his butt instead of surfer like, and it did make more sense.

Papyrus Line

Next we have the lines. He’s climbing up bones now, isn’t it cool! Anyway, there are a few timing issues in this, mainly the fall down after he hits the wall and then when he’s sliding down the slope. If you can notice the other mistake I made, I will applaud you, as I am told that it isn’t actually that noticeable.

Papyrus Finished

And here is the final gif. Yes, I forgot to colour parts of Papyrus on some frames. It is hard to fill colour when the colour you are filling is almost the same colour as the workspace behind the character you are animating. In this gif, Papyrus’ fall after he hits the wall is faster and his slide flows more smoothly into the stand-up and crouch for his first jump onto the poles. When I coloured Papyrus, I didn’t want to make him pure white, but I was restricted by the colour swatches of Adobe Fla_ *hemhem* Animate, so he is cream instead. And his scarf, of course, had to be bright red.

Next time I do something like this, I want to make the character likeness more accurate, make it look more like the character I am animating and less like the images of the supplied rig. If I had more time on this project, I probably would have gone and fixed the frames of the march cycle so that he is marching a full cycle instead of a half cycle.

What I learnt about animation during this assignment was a new way of animating a character. Instead of making each moving part a separate layer in the Animate document, I animated Papyrus on one layer as solid line. This was really hard to do, but also easier for me. It was hard because I couldn’t erase lines madly when I made a mistake or when I was getting rid of guides, so this made my progress slower. However less layers meant that I didn’t have to scroll through the list of layers to find the layer I was working on, and I didn’t have to pull my timeline up to see all my layers giving me a larger workspace on my laptop’s screen.

While doing this animation I learnt that copying all required frames is important, lest you make a cycle only half complete, that there are several different ways for different characters to traverse their terrain depending on their abilities and personality, and that there are no bones in bananas.

Okay, that last point was a joke.

I really enjoyed animating Papyrus’ scarf, and working out how it would flow behind Papyrus as he moved. It was certainly easier than animating the folded wings of my walk cycle in my second trimester, but still hard, none the less. This was a fun endevour, and I’m happy with the way this turned out.

See you all in my next blog post.


Link to Part 1