Animation for Social Media : Create a Short 2D Animated Reel | Debjyoti Saha | Skillshare

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Animation for Social Media : Create a Short 2D Animated Reel

teacher avatar Debjyoti Saha, Animation Filmmaker

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Understanding the Basics


    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.

      Creating An Animatic


    • 7.

      Drawing A Rough Animation


    • 8.

      Finishing Inbetween Drawings


    • 9.

      Adding Secondary Actions


    • 10.

      Cleaning Up


    • 11.

      Filling Color


    • 12.



    • 13.

      Adding Audio


    • 14.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Unleash the magic of movement and create your own Animated Reel for social media. 

Ever since Debjyoti Saha was a kid, he lived and breathed all things Animation. What started as doodling in his school notebooks has grown into the creation of an Indie Animation studio with work on projects for Netflix as well as hip-hop artists like DIVINE and Prabh Deep. Now a full-time animator and illustrator, Debjyoti’s animated reels and professional projects have brought him tens of thousands of fans on social media.  

In this class, Debjyoti reveals the basic animation principles that helped kick-start his career, plus how to create and format animations for social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Crafted with the amateur animator in mind, with a focus on storytelling, this class will take you step by step through creating and sharing your first-ever animated short using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Audition.

With Debjyoti by your side, you’ll:

  • Discover the twelve most important animation principles
  • Design an animated character and jot your ideas down by thumbnailing 
  • Learn how to storyboard all while streamlining your animation process
  • Produce an Animatic from your storyboard and implement the 12 principles in your rough animation
  • Craft a final, 9:16 vertical animation complete with colors, compositing and sound design

Plus, as Debjyoti animates his own project within the class, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the professional techniques he uses to create realistic and emotive shorts. 

Whether you’re a self-taught animator looking for some guidance from the pros or have never explored animation before, this class will give you the fundamental skills you’ll need to make an engaging reel for social media or even take your creative hobby to the next level. 

You don’t need any previous animation experience to take this class, but some illustration skills will help you animate more easily. To follow along with Debjyoti, you’ll need a computer, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Audition. You’ll also need a drawing or graphics tablet and a stylus. If you don’t have a tablet, you can also draw within Photoshop using a mouse.

Meet Your Teacher

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Debjyoti Saha

Animation Filmmaker


Debjyoti Saha is an Animation filmmaker based in Mumbai. He is the founder and creative director of Goppo Animation, where they produce original animated content such as films, music videos and digital media with a strong focus on storytelling. Debjyoti went to the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad where he did his post-graduation in Animation Film Design and has worked with companies like Disney India and ESPN India before embarking on his Independent journey with Goppo. Debjyoti is passionate about all things Animation and has a wealth of experience in Illustration, Motion Design, 2D Animation, and Visual Development.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Every movement in the body has an intent and animation is the art of decoding the magic of movement. Hello, I'm Debjyoti Saha, an Animation Filmmaker and Illustrator. I started my animation journey five years ago, and now I'm the founder of my own animation studio, Goppo Animation. I've had a lot of fun working with amazing artists such as Prabh Deep, Divine, see and also have an animated title sequence for the Netflix film Looop Lapeta. All my life, I was very interested and fascinated with animation content be it in films, CDs or cartoon shows we used to watch as a kid. As soon as I got to know about the process behind animation film-making, I completely got hooked. Each one of us have very unique lives and unique experiences to tell and rendering this out in the form of animation when bringing them to life is what I strive for. In this class, I'm going to take you through the step-by-step process of making an animated reel for social media. Reels have become our primary source of consumption of content and effective storytelling through the medium of reels is going to help you catch those eyeballs and going to make your work stand out. When I was starting out, I would have really liked if there was a course that would give me concise approach towards animation, rather than giving me a huge overview. What I've done for this class is keep the process very concise and step-by-step so that it's easier for you to follow. I'm going to take you through the process of making an animated reel for social media, ideating, storyboarding, animation, cleanup color, and rendering with sound. This small exercise will help you gain confidence and more patience to set yourself for the long haul. You will not only know how to make an animated reel for social media, but also the understanding of effective storytelling and how to transform that amazing idea that you have in your head into your animation. I'm so excited that you joined this class so let's get started. 2. Getting Started: Well, my professional journey had started five years ago, but my creative journey had started since I was a kid. I remember during my childhood watching so many cartoons all day, all night, and playing with my GI Joe's and commandos and whatnot, and just making up stories in my head. I used to be fascinated by the effective storytelling of all these cartoons such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Tom and Jerry. Ever since I was a child, I was always drawing. But I never took it very seriously until, I think, in the year 2012, I stumbled upon this course in multimedia and animation. That was an eye-opener into the world of animation. Then moved on to pursue my masters in animation film design from NID Ahmedabad. The creative environment I was part of, along with my peers and teachers, helped me grow as an artist and figure out my voice as an animation filmmaker. In 2016, I landed an internship at Disney, India. It was fascinating to see what goes behind making of these animated cartoons that I used to watch as a kid and making these drawings come to life. The sheer amount of effort that goes into each of these processes of making an animated content, got me very excited. I've had a formal education in animation, but I don't think it is quite necessary for you to have one. If you think you have the motivation to learn, there are plenty of avenues on social media and of course classes like this that you can take to further advance your knowledge of the animation process and learn on your own. I've always been making the short animated content on social media long before the word reels was introduced. I was making these videos out of self-motivation and an urge to learn. Posting on social media has personally given me a lot of benefits in terms of understanding who I am as an artist and what I want to talk about. You can use social media to not only further your skills, but also to find an audience and a voice for yourself. Your social media channel also becomes a portfolio and helps people to reach out to you easily. Animation is a very long process, and this short animated drill will help you build on your patience level, build your confidence and storytelling. It is very important for you to find your niche audience. Your niche is basically a combination of what you want, what the industry wants, and what the audience wants. A good combination would be 50% of what kind of stories you want to tell, 30% keeping in mind what the industry requirements are, software proficiency, production process, and 20% of what your audience wants. This will help you connect to your audience and help tell better stories. What you need to follow along for this class would be a laptop or a computer, a pen tablet. The softwares that we'll be requiring are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Audition. There plenty of alternatives available in the market, either paid or free, including TV Paint, Clip Studio Paint, and even Blender. Adobe Photoshop is probably now the go-to application for making animation. I'm comfortable with the software because I've been working with it for years. If you're an illustrator like me, you know your way around the Photoshop software and you'll be able to learn how to animate on Photoshop much more faster than in any other software. Photoshop After Effects and Audition are all part of Adobe Media suit. I like to use this combination of these three softwares because it takes care of pre-production, post-production, and production altogether. I animate on Photoshop, take all these animated layers on After Effects and composite them. I record and mix my sounds on Audition and bring them back into After Effects and finally render the animation. Before getting to the basics of animation, I'd like to talk a little about the importance of storytelling. Your film has a story and the story has a message that forms the integral part of what you want to say to your audience. In today's day, because of social media, content has become much more bite-sized and consumable in the form of reels. In turn, this has led to the evolution of storytelling in the digital space. Social media is also very forgiving, which is why you get to experiment with your storytelling, make a lot of mistakes, and also learn from them. The student project for this class is how to create animated reels for social media. Wherever you are in your animation process, feel free to share your project in the project gallery below. Let's move on to the next lesson, basics of animation. 3. Understanding the Basics: We see a lot of different kinds of animation in today's world, including 2D and 3D animation. In the aspect of 2D animation, we can look at 2D hand-drawn traditional or digital animation, paper cut animation, and all things that are two-dimensional. In the case of 3D animation, we get into stop-motion, puppet animation and 3D software animation. My personal favorite is exploring 2D animation frame-by-frame, only because of my love for drawing and animating. The 12 principles of animation is a concept that Disney came up with. Don't think of these principles as rules set in stone, rather, think of these as ideas you can take off your animation and make your animation much more believable. The first principle we're going to talk about is squash and stretch. Squash and stretch is a concept that is very important to understand for the believability of volumes, say for example, we're seeing an elastic ball that is bouncing in its place in a loop. Now, without the squash and stretch properties of the elastic ball, we would see that the ball is just moving without any change in volume, which is quite bizarre in real life. In real life, if you notice that an elastic ball, the moment it falls or hits the ground, it's hit by a force that allows its volume to squash in towards the ground. Squash and stretch properties help you move the volume of an object believably when a force is applied to it. The second principle that we're going to talk about is anticipation. Anticipation is the action before the action, say for example, you want to throw a punch in the air. Of course, you need that energy to build up somewhere here so that you can pack a punch properly. You need to go back, wrist your elbows, take that energy from off your elbows and then go punch. This part of reaction is the anticipation. The greater the anticipation, the more is the suspense that is building up to the action. This brings a lot of credibility to your animations. The third principle that I'd like to talk about is staging. Staging basically means choreography of a scene, say for example, in a scene, there are two consecutive actions that are happening simultaneously. Your eye doesn't know what to look at or where to draw your attention from. Rather, if you time and space these particular actions in a certain way so that one follows the other, the eye exactly knows what to look at first and what to look at after this, and that is how you lead the eye. The staging is a perfect principle to help you direct the audience's eye to wherever you want. The fourth principle is almost like two ways of animating. One is pose to pose and the other is straight ahead animation. Pose to pose refers to a type of animation where there are two poses that we have already drawn. That are the two extreme poses, basically we're going from Pose A to Pose B, filling in key-frames in the middle of these two frames. This is very relevant when you're animating actions that you know the course of, say for example, you're swinging your feet while hitting a football Point A would be your anticipation pose where you're wiggling your knee and going to hit the ball. Your second point is going to be the extreme pose where you've already hit the ball. These two points are your two extreme poses, and in-between, you will fill in these in-between key-frames that do justice to emotion. You're going from Point A to Point B and animating pose to pose. On the contrary, straight ahead animation is great when you do not have a particular course of animation or a particular part of animation, say for example, when we're looking at the motion of water and fire, we have a fairly good idea about how water moves or fire moves, but we can't really pinpoint a particular trajectory through which the animation of water or fire might move frame-by-frame. In cases like this, you go for straight ahead animation, where you tackle the animation one frame at a time. The fifth principle that we're going to talk about is follow through and overlapping action. Follow through and overlapping action always caters to a certain part of the animation of an object that is secondary to it, say for example, there's a bunny, and that bunny is turning its head from one way to the other. If you see this animation without any follow through and overlapping action, all of the elements in the bunny's face, including its whiskers, including its ears, are going to start moving at the same time and stop at the same time. Which is looking a little bit weird because we know that the bunny's ears are fluffy and they lag behind. If we add a little bit of lag behind for the ears and the whiskers, you will notice that there is a little more believability in how soft or how long the ears of the bunny are. The longer the ears, the longer it takes to come to rest. The sixth principle that we're going to talk about is slow in and slow out. A lot of people call this ease in and ease out. What this does is bring about a little more believability to the motion of the object. Say for example, we have a car that's starting from zero. Now if you examine the motion of the car, you will see the car accelerating at a steady pace until reaches 0-100 say. You will notice that the car takes a bit of time to accelerate. That's slowing in into the fast motion of the car. The same thing happens when a car comes to a stop. The car takes awhile and gradually comes to a stop rather than immediately stopping. This is because the friction between the brakes and the ground acts as a force that goes into the opposite direction and makes the car stop. This principle comes in really handy when you really want to enunciate the fast to slow and slow to fast movements of animation and make your animation more believable. The seventh principle is known as arcs. Every character or object doesn't move arbitrarily in space. It always follows some arc that helps the motion feel more believable. One great example for arcs is studying the motion of a pendulum, the pendulum always seems to flow in an arc, slowing in and slowing out at the both ends and going really fast towards the middle. This is because of the laws of gravity. The eighth principle is secondary action. Secondary action can be defined as a small action that enunciates the power of the primary action, for example, if we see a person want to pick up a heavy load, the person can either jump right into it and try to pick that heavy load up by himself. Or before that, he can actually wait and look at the heavy load and rub his palms together just to bring that little bit of more credibility into what he's about to do. It is important to understand that any secondary action never precedes or overpowers a primary action. It only helps enunciate or bring credibility to your main action. The ninth principle that we'd like to talk about is exaggeration. Exaggeration really brings out the best of your animation. In the animation world, we see a lot of exaggerated movements that help us register an action in the truest sense. Say for example, you want to take a big punch and you want to hit this guy really bad, what you do in reality would probably be something like this, where you go back and you punch. But you want that intensity to flow into your animation. What is possible in the animation world is impossible in reality. What you can instead do in animation is really exaggerate the anticipation of that movement and really go into a whirlwind of sorts, or while you're clenching your fist and then bring a huge blow onto your opponent. That is what we have the liberty to do in animation. We should make the most of it by using exaggeration in the right amount at the right place. The 10th principle or solid drawing, basically talks about a larger concept where we can involve two or three principles together. Say for example, we stage a scene where we have a baller with the ball and he's going to throw the ball really hard. What we need to make this action more believable is solid poses that have proper silhouettes in doing that action, say for example, while he's lifting that ball and going back and throwing it. The last frame would be to throw the ball right away. Each of these solid poses will help make the action much more believable. The 11th principle would be appeal. Appeal is not merely a principal, but also a larger concept. Appeal denotes what is appealing to the eye. This is a combination of staging, solid drawing, and exaggeration that puts your character audio action in the best way possible or to make something that is appealing to the eye. Now, I wanted to talk about timing and spacing at the very end. Because to me, personally, it's the most important aspect or principle of animation. Timing and spacing forms the basis of all motion. Timing talks about how long an action takes from start to end. Spacing talks about how in that amount of time frames are manipulated to form the magic of movement, say for example, we talk about the coin that moves from Point A to Point B if the coin moves at a steady pace, it takes one second for the coin to move from Point A to Point B. If you want the coin to act as if it's a car, you will want a little bit of acceleration when the motion starts and a deceleration when the motion ends. We have a little bit of ease in and ease out or slow in and slow out and the two ends of the trajectory. Now, if you compare the two timings of it, the timings match, but the spacing of each of these frames rapidly differ. I think since timing and spacing forms the crux of every motion or every action, it is probably the most important of the 12 principles of animation, and something that you should grasp early on. The student exercise for this lesson is practicing a few animation exercises, keeping in mind the animation principles that we just learned about. Especially a few basics such as bouncing ball, pendulum motion, and walk or run cycle. Now that we have an understanding of the basics of animation, next up, ideation. 4. Ideating: [MUSIC] The first part of pre-production that we're going to talk about is ideation. We are going to jot down the ideas that we have and see what makes for a good film. In this crucial stage, it is very important for you to make sure that the most important bit of your idea is the story and the message it has. It can either be personal or for a social cause as well. You should definitely keep in mind that you're telling visual stories and these stories should communicate to an audience. Let me quickly take you through my process. The first thing that I like to do is write down a few ideas that I want to talk about, and the idea that I want to talk about today is the monsoons. When I was a child, I used to really enjoy the rain. I used to enjoy jumping and splashing water all over the place whenever it is to rain, there's only one image that is coming to my head, which is me completely drenched in a yellow baggy raincoat or something to do with puddles and I think I want to make something like that for our animated reel. What if it is a story about this little kid who's jumping into puddles and probably something unexpected and magical happens at the end. Since the idea that I want to talk about is purely personal, I would look back into my childhood memories and use them as reference to cook up a fictional story. I just want to write one sentence or premise of what I want to tell the story about. The story is about a young little kid who loves jumping on puddles and in the end he is met with a surprise. I think with this little premise, we can dive into making thumbnails. Thumbnails are very spontaneous, rough drawings that you make to tell you a story. Do not worry if the drawings are bad, you'd want to focus on telling the idea and trying to formulate a solid narrative in your head and trying to put that out on paper. The first frame will probably have our little kid coming in. He's splashing around a lot in a puddle and this passer by is getting annoyed, and this kid is having a gala laugh here. Then he sees a big puddle, he gets very excited that he's going to make a big splash. He smiles. He prepares himself to take a big leap into the puddle and he jumps right into it. I want something magical to happen over here. I was thinking, what if this little puddle is not exactly little, and our kid disappears into it. That would be a surprise. I seem to quite like this idea, this is fun and has a little bit of magical experience and a little surprise and also the message is getting a taste of your own medicine. But at this point, with the kid disappearing and this is giving us a little ED or a sad ending, I'm pretty sure our story is not ending there. Let's see what else we can do. After a while I'm thinking I'll introduce the kid again. I think the kid will come out with his hands right up in the air, and then land up on the shore gasping for air, and I think this is a good place where we can stress upon our main message of the story. At the beginning, we saw him laughing at a random passer-by. Probably this time we're going to hear a voice off screen that giggles at the kid. I think that's a good place to end our little reel. Now that the shell of our idea is ready with the help of thumbnails, we're going to move into the next phase, which is character design. I'd like to make a few rough doodles off our main character over here, the protagonist of our story. My yellow raincoat was a favorite thing of mine when I was a kid, so definitely I want this guy to wear a raincoat. I used to wear the raincoat when asked to go to school, we can have a backpack and probably a cute water bottle over here. This design looks like a longish version so it looks like a teenage boy so maybe we need to play around a little with the shapes. Maybe we can have a triangular or boxy shape for the body and a pair of boxes for the boots. I think this hoodie is creating a little bit of a problem. The character is not breathing. It's feeling like it's a little condensed and probably in animation we won't be able to move around with it so I feel that the character should lose his hoodie and the hoodie should be behind him. Now if you compare both of these silhouettes, this feels like a more freer version and a little more animatable version of our character. Now that I quite like this particular silhouette, I'm going to add a little bit more detail into it, give him some blocky boots, give him a nice backpack, get the water bottle back, give him a cute little hairstyle and a nice smile. Once you're happy with your character doodles, you can take this to Adobe Photoshop where you will flesh out your character even better with the help of shapes and character design. This part of pre-production is one of my favorites, where we get to get inside the psyche and the mind of a character, built our character from scratch and see what works for our story and message. We'll go ahead and make a new document, we'll pick a New Layer. The first thing that you should keep in mind while designing our character is that it should design your character in such a way that it fits your story and your world. Say for example, you want to tell a story about this cowardly character who emerges a valid hero by the end of your story, you should keep in mind that the character in the beginning should be looking cowardly or shy. But it'll be quite odd to see a very muscular and heroic character play the role of a cowardly person so you should keep the story and your motive in mind while designing your character. We'll quickly try to understand what the motive of this little kid is. We want our main character to be nice and sweet, but also a little mischievous. He loves jumping puddles in the rain and doesn't care about what others think. I've also taken out some images that I can refer to for my character design and it is completely fine if you're using references in the right way to make your designs much more rooted and believable. I've given this guy a baggy raincoat, a pair of big gumboots and a big head with a sweet mischievous smile. I think this little of drying carries a lot of energy and motive that is great for our story. When you're designing your characters, make sure they're animatable. What I mean by this is a lot of times we get carried away in our character design process. Something that you should also keep in mind is the target audience and the platform that you're using to put out your work. You're making an animation for social media, you wouldn't want to spend a lot of time making a very heavily detailed character. The more the details, the more effort and more time it'll take for it to get finished. What I've done is make sure that I have limited my character to a bunch of basic shapes. We have our character's head as a circle, a triangle for his body and also big rectangular blocks for his gumboot. The silhouette that the shapes are creating is quite interesting. It's giving me a feeling of the character being clumsy, round, tubby, characteristics a kid will generally have. Taking these references and a bit of my childhood memories, I have developed character sketch of our main character and I'm quite happy with this, I think will develop this character a little further and get to know it a little more so I've prepared something that we call an action sheet. A character action sheet is basically a bunch of poses that our character is drawn in. Poses that gives an idea about the nature of the character is personality or probably a few shots even from the scene or particular action that the character is going to perform. It is a very insightful way of knowing your character better and giving life to your character. What I've also done is a character turnaround that we can refer to, which gives us a 360 view of what the character is, what are the prompts, what is the shape, what is the size of each area. We usually use these character turnarounds to know a character from all angles. Let's move on to the next part where I'd like to talk about the style of the film, the look and feel of the design of the film. Style is a very important aspect. I see a lot of artists especially beginners, chasing after what is called having your own style. Something that I also wondered about a lot, but I have one thing very clear in my head. Narrative always dictated style. Every story has its unique characters and unique messages, which is why it is very important for it to have its own distinct and unique style. I want to pull up an example from one of my recent projects and animated music video for artists Pradeep song, Cheetah. The story or the message of Cheetah was heavily lead and had a lot of political connotations. For the style of the music video, I went with a black and white approach, with yellow or gold being the central color that everyone is seeking. You'll see throughout the video that every word is after something and that something is always made of gold. The style that will be going for would be a very simple and minimalistic design. The reason being, I want to focus on two main elements of the film, our main character and our puddle. These are the two main things that I'd like to be highlighted and keep the background very minimal in design so that these two standout. To start with, I've a very rough drawing of our main character and our puddle over here. So we'll try and give this drawing a little bit of style. For this particular reel, something that you should keep in mind while coming up with a style for your film is that it really comes down to what brushes you're using and what way you're drawing. Everybody has a significant way of drawing something. For example, Da Vinci has drawn the Mona Lisa a certain way, and of course, if you're going to draw the Mona Lisa, it wouldn't be a carbon copy of it and that is what is unique about the choices that you're making as an artist. I also wanted to bring about a little bit of contrast between the styles or both domain elements of our film. We have taken a few poppy colors, especially our yellow raincoat that we really wanted to keep. I've also used a few complimentary colors that go very well with the overall design of the character and the film. It'll be good for you to have a basic understanding of foundation basics such as color theory and perspective. Our main character has very blocky approach with strong silhouettes and bold lines. On the contrary, our puddle is basically free and languid, and hence it is not bounded by bold lines. Since these two are our main characters and I want to put as much attention and focus on these two, I want the background to have a very minimal design. I just want to give a hint of where this is happening, which is a foot path and a few lines would do just the trick. I'm just going to add in some shadows and highlights for the character and now we have already style frame that we can refer to for our production ahead. Of course, having a good understanding of your basics or essentials, is important. At the end of the day, you are the artist and you'll decide what rules to make and what rules to break. Now that we're done with the process of ideation, we're going to move into the next step of the process, which is storyboarding. The student exercise for the lesson, is to pick an idea for your animated reel, make thumbnails, design characters, and finally, develop a style frame. [MUSIC] 5. Storyboarding: [MUSIC] A storyboard is a collection of frames which when viewed in a sequence tells a story. It's a very watered down static version of your final film. What we're going to do right now is bring our thumbnails that we did in our previous lesson and use them as reference for our storyboards. For the storyboarding process, what I usually work with is somewhat of a grid like this. But since we're making an animated real for social media, we will probably go with a vertical aspect ratio for the same. Make a new layers and zoom into our first frame where we draw our little puddle. I want the name or the title of this little reel to pop up somewhere around here. It's untitled, so I'm just going to name it this. The second frame would be what is exactly happening right after. Storyboards actually help a lot in the process of troubleshooting a lot of problems that you may face during production, including staging, what's the best way and most appealing way of showing an action? I think all of these problems can be sorted out during the board. We want our protagonists gunboats come in from top of the frame and make a big splash over here and the title disappears. These are very loose drawings that are really important during this phase. Do not go into making these drawings very neat and very rendered because eventually the main motive for this is to figure out continuity and see if all is making sense when viewed in a sequence. I wanted to introduce our little character in a very different way. I wanted to keep a little more of a suspense of sorts, and I wanted to show his personality before revealing who the character is. Here we see a little kid jump on puddle and a passer-by citing a remark. This denotes a little bit of mischief, a little bit of play in our young protagonists mind. Then we reveal the character in a long shot. While discussing the thumbnail phase, we went over what do we want to show and how do we want to show it in our thumbnail phase. A storyboard version is where you decide on the shorts and what shots you would prefer to best tell the story. This is a great playground for you to understand and figure out what is working and what is not, and if it's not working, well, you can just erase and start again. This saves you a lot of time during production because this is the place where you are figuring out and doing all your groundwork. Otherwise, you might end up animating something that you actually do not need, or if you see in the large scheme of things or while on the edit table, it doesn't really make sense. This little kid overhears of a passer-by getting annoyed by his jumping onto the puddle, and he does a little hehe, a little giggle, and he turns and moves on to the other puddles. This is a place where you get to do whatever you want and try to make a story work. In all my self-motivated or commission projects, this is the part I really enjoy. Also what you need to probably focus on is the breakdown of shots that you're using in your animation. I'll give you a small example of that. In the beginning, I have a close-up of a puddle and a close up of a pair of gunboats come in and there's water splash. We got to a long-short of introducing the character and long shorts the greater the establishing shots, very fair and square, very simple, and just straight ahead introduces our main character. From here, we are actually going into a horizontal pan. The camera is traveling with the kid as he is jumping from puddle to puddle. The camera at the end of the horizontal pen comes to a stop where the kid also comes to a halt in front of a big pool of water and the kid looks at this in all. Don't worry about the form or the volume, we'll have plenty of time to come back to it. Now I'm going to go ahead and finish off the rest of the frames. Here we have our finished storyboard. As you can see, in the first frame, we start with the close-up of a puddle, we have our title come in, and as soon as that happens, we see a pair of gum boots come from above and make a big splash on screen. We still don't know who these pair of gunboats belong to, so there is a little bit of suspense, we just know about this menacing, playful nature of this personality. From there we cut to a long shot where we see our main character or protagonist, who is a little kid wearing a yellow raincoat, he's just messing around, jumping around puddles on the footpath. As you can see, he's giggling to passerby's comments. Now the kid turns and starts jumping across the puddles. The camera follows the kid in a horizontal band. As soon as the kids stops in front of the big puddle, camera comes to a stop and we see a close up of the kid looking at something in awe. From here, we cut straight to a shot, reverse shot of this little kid's reflection in the puddle, and the reflection giggles and laughs. We have a POV shot right over there. POV stands for point of view. We suddenly see this little kid's giggle, change into a mischievous grin, still POV. From there, we cut to a close-up of his feet. Why I'm cutting to close-up of his feet is because I want that idea of suspense of what the kid is going to do next. Why was he graining? The kid takes two steps back, we cut to show a long shot again, which is known as LS, where we are seeing the kid take two steps back and push himself forward and sprint in full speed. The next shot is another close-up of the feet right now sprinting rapidly forward, just to build up that tension and that rhythm of that scene. Again, we cut back to a long shot where the kid is in front of the puddle and he squashes and stretches and takes a big long leap into the puddle. The time slows down over here where we see a moment of the kid looking at his reflection as it is falling down into the puddle, and right when you know it, sadly the unexpected happens. The kid falls all the way through the bundle and vanishes. There's a huge splash that happens, and after awhile, the bottle of water bloats up because it's buoyant. I want the audience to think what just happened right now. Just when they're thinking that, I want the kid to jump out of the water and gasp for air. In the last shot, we hear the giggle of a random passerby, and the kid gives him an angry face and reaction to that. That brings us to the end of the film. This is a very short and simple story about a mischievous kid who gets back a taste of his own medicine. I think what is very interesting to note here is the fact that the story can be told in 1,000 different ways. Everybody would have a different interpretation of the same story and everybody's story will be different. Also, storyboards can be short and simple like this or very extensive and very detailed depending on the length of your project or your production value of your project. As I said, there's nothing like a bad story, there's only good and bad ways of telling it. One of the ways you can get really good at storyboarding is watching a lot of films. Watching a lot of films helps you build a vocabulary of shots and sequences that you can refer back to from time to time. You get a very good idea of staging, of choreography along the sequence, and where to direct the eye and to what action. This will help you get better at storyboards over time. Now that we have all the frames of the storyboard ready, we're going to take individual screenshots of all these frames and keep them in a separate folder. [MUSIC] 6. Creating An Animatic: [MUSIC] Now you're going to move into the next aspect of pre-production, which is the moving storyboard or the animatic. An animatic is really a moving storyboard and you can really understand how the final film is going to look like, what is the pacing of the final film, what are the shots involved in the final film, and what is the final duration. It is in a way a blueprint of your final film. Here I have a folder of all these individual frames screenshotted from our storyboard. What we are going to do is select all of these and open After Effects. After Effects, we'll go into this composition menu and open New Composition. Usually, our formats are always horizontal, fitting into a 16:9 ratio. But for the purpose of this reel, we're going to make a vertical resolution of 9 by 16. Basically, we're going to switch the width and height and that will give us a vertical format video. Also, another thing that we need to keep in mind is the frame rate. We're going to go with the standard 24 frames per second frame rate. The duration of the composition can be a minute because the reel would be less than a minute. It's good to always keep a little more time here. We press "Okay" and we have our ready composition. First things first, we're going to hit this little button over here and create a new folder. We're going to name it Storyboard. Always name your layers because it saves you the trouble when things get really complex. We're going to switch right back to our folder and we're going to drag and drop all these images right in the storyboard frames. We don't need to worry about sequencing here because all these screenshots have been taken at a particular time interval. What we need to do is directly drag them into our timeline. We have something like this. Now if you notice, our main Canvas area is much larger than our storyboard frame. We'll just increase the size. Hit "S" on the keyboard and increase the size for scale just when we're happy with it. Another thing that we need to keep in mind is we don't need all of these frames to be so long. We're going to cut this out somewhere around here. The keyboard shortcut for cutting a layer somewhere around here would be Control Shift D or Command Shift D on a Mac. The moment you hit that, you notice that the layer has been cut and you press "Delete" or "Backspace." Now what you have is all the layers, one after the other. What you need to do is sequence these layers in an order. The best way to do that is select all of these frames by shift selecting from top to bottom and right-clicking on top of this layer or any of these layers going right into this option called Key Frame Assistant and this is where it is going to make your life really peaceful. The moment you hit on the only available option here, which is sequenced layers, and you hit "Okay", don't worry about this, you have all the layers in a sequence. You have a moving storyboard now. But wait, there is a little bit of an issue over here. No action or no shot seems to be timed well. Everything is equidistance and that is what we don't want and this is the place where the real fun begins. Firstly, I'm just going to hide this transparent layer because this hasn't covered up the layer properly. I'm going to create a new solid. The color I'm going to pick is white and bring this down all the way to the bottom. Now we have a plain fully white Canvas with just the drawings visible. Now what you'd like to keep in mind is trust your gut. Editing actually requires a lot of intuition. This intuition is not arbitrary. It has been developed over the years watching and learning how to edit. The shot is taking a while. I want the title to appear around here. It's just a matter of holding down the edges of these layers and pulling them back and forth to reduce and increase the time of the separate layers. Once you play it, you have the title somewhere around here and you want this frame to last only till this much. Here you want the next shot, which is the boots coming in. The boot wouldn't take so much time to come down because of gravity, so you can cut that down shot and immediately you have that splash on the screen. Somewhere around here we want to hold this shot a little more longer because we want to give some time to the audio that we hear offscreen of a random passer by getting irritated by this action. From here, we have the next shot, which is the long shot of the kid who giggles a little bit and then turns his head and starts prancing across all of these puddles. What we're going to do right now is go ahead and finish off manipulating the timing and spacing of each of these frames until I have something I really like. [MUSIC] That's the end of our film. I think the story and the message is coming across quite well. If you're not happy with any part of this, of course, you can go back to your storyboard and draw out a couple of more frames and try out different options and see what works best. Obviously, if you're not happy with the timing, it just takes a way bit longer just to manipulate all these extra frames simply like that. Now additionally, what I've done to this animatic is a practice that is going to help you a lot in your future projects. What I do is make a box somewhere around here at the end, any end of this screen, and I put down shot numbers. This is Shot 1, this is Shot 2, and the likes. Every shot along with the animatic is timed and we know which shot is which and cause no problems whatsoever in understanding what shot comes next. This will also help when you have bigger teams to take care of or cater to, you will always know what is on priority. Numbering these shots will greatly save you time and help you in the process of production. Once we are done with the animatic and we're happy with the timing and spacing of everything, we go into composition and we hit this button right here, which is Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue. Adobe Media Encoder is like a render engine for After Effects. This saves you a lot of time when you're giving all the rendering power to a separate render engine and you can continue your process of production in After Effects when you're doing certain things simultaneously. Here you have nothing to worry about. The basic default is Match Source High bitrate. Don't worry about that. We click on this. H264 basically means a codec of MP4. MP4 is the widely used and most common type of video codec. Don't need to worry about presets. Match high bitrate. That is completely fine. Don't need to worry about anything else except for the output name. Here you can say where you want to save your animatic and you hit "Okay." As soon as you're done, you go and hit this little green button over here to start rendering. Now that we have it rendered, we go in and see the render itself play out. Here we have a blueprint, which is the animatical film. I haven't put any scat sounds or voiceovers on this particular project because this is purely personal. But if you'd like to, you can definitely go ahead and make this as nicely as possible just to render out your story the best possible way. This marks the end of our pre-production phase. Now we're going to move into the next step, the production aspect of animation. Your student exercise for this lesson would be make your own storyboard for the story that you have in your mind. Another fun activity that you can try is watch your favorite film and pick your favorite sequences from there. You can study the shots, pause and draw the frames as storyboards and really understand how these shots come together and tell the story in the best effective way. [MUSIC] 7. Drawing A Rough Animation: [MUSIC] I hope you're having fun. Now we're going to deep dive into production. The first aspect of production is rough animation. Let's get right to it. What we're going to do is come straight back to Photoshop, where we're going to do our rough animation. Now, we open a new document which is of the same HD 1080 into 1920 pixels, create new document. First things first, we hit this little drop-down button over here and change the Photoshop from essential step to the motion tab. The motion tab is where all the magic of animation happens. Here, I'll just give you a brief overview of the animation tab. If you click on this little drop-down box, you will see two options, one is Create Video Timeline, and the other, Create Frame Animation. Both of these are used in their own unique ways to make your animation process smoother. For the sake of this project, we're going to go with Create Video Timeline, and the reason you will get to know in the process. What we start with is what we have. We have our basic background layers, and we have something which is also a layer over here, and we have a similar edit timeline, similar to what we are having in Adobe After Effects. This is your background layer, we're going to make a new layer on top of this, and immediately you will see that there is another layer forming right over here as well. The secret to animating on Photoshop is to imagine these layers as individual frames. If you notice over here, there's 30 FPS written in brackets, which means that the default frame rate of this particular project is 30 FPS. What we need to do is bring it down to 24 and animate on tools like we discussed. We hit this small dropdown menu, and there's an option called set timeline frame rate, you go into that and you hit 24 FPS over here, and [inaudible], you have a document that has 24 frames per second as frame rate. Now, we're all set to start our animation process in Photoshop. What I'd like to do in this part is figure out the area of work. Usually during the upper and lower aspects of the video, a lot of things go unnoticed, so we'd like to keep all the action and all the good stuff happening over here because we want the eye of the audience to linger around in this particular area. What we're going to do right now is open our folder and get our animatic, drag this into our Photoshop document and hit, "Okay." Four short is roughly of this length according to our animatic, so we're going to drag our timeline according to that. Now what we have is a layout of sorts with the animatic acting as the base on which we can do our rough animation. We have this puddle and we know that around this time, our pair of gumboots is going to come in and stash on screen, and we draw our first stream where we see the boots for the first time. We have both A over here and both B over here. Now we know, since this is a jump and we're ending the jump, we're already in the midst of an arc. If the art comes over here, we know the foot is going to fall somewhere around here, the foot is going to come in the same exact way. This is Point A and this is Point B. We're going to draw the in-betweens over here. The in-between would be somewhere, I'm guessing around here. It is not easy to do this arbitrarily, so we're going to switch on another option right over here that is going to help us a lot. We're going to go to the drop-down menu and we're going to hit, "Enable Onion Skin". What this is going to do is expose the frame before this and after this, for one frame. You can always go down to your onion skin settings over here, and manipulate to two, three, four, whatever you want. I keep it at one, so I'd stick to that. We have our first frame and our last frame, and the middle frame would be somewhere around here, which is going to go ahead and draw this. This is interesting because we're drawing on the basis of our knowledge of the arc and also keeping in mind a little bit of stretching before a squash that is going to happen upon impact. I've drawn something like this, very simple. Right ahead we're going to go into the next frame, which is going to be in almost the middle of this frame and the final frame. But here I'm going to play around with it a little, where I'm going to stretch the boots out nicely, at least the tip of the boots, and see what it does when we'll play this in motion. Just rough volumes right now, just to understand the motion. If we disable onion skin and we just cropped through it, we're already seeing a little bit of squash and stretch happening just because we have elongated the tip of the foot over here. Right now it's coming to a still, so we also need a frame that is our squash frame. We're going to quickly get this layer also inside of our animation group, and that's how the timing is playing out right now if you play it by Spacebar. If you notice, all of these frames have been dragged to be a part of this video group. A video group is essentially like an animation ledge where you have a particular number of frames that shows a motion on a piece of animation. When we play out, it plays out like this. We're going to draw a squash version of the same, but we're not going to draw another from scratch. What we're going to do is cheat a little bit, we're going to duplicate this layer below this, so this becomes your frame in front. We're going to hit "Command T" or "Control T" and hit this mesh icon over here, and what this does is allows us to manipulate this frame even more without actually having to draw again. This gives us a fair amount of freedom over here, of course we'll need to actually exaggerate the squash frame a little more so that it does make sense upon impact. Let's see this. We have a stretch frame right before impact and boom down and pop, it comes right back in action, this is interesting. Let's see how it plays out, let's see the timing of this, pop. Something I'd like to do, always make sounds of the kind of action that is happening so that I have all vocabulary in my head of how this might play out like, and try to have that as reference for what I see on screen. You see for example, if this was a piece of cake, we would like a little more jelly like motion just to give it that feel of that super soft fluffiness, but of course we know gumboots are not that fluffy, so we're not going to go ahead and do that extra squash and stretch on this. This is our primary motion of a character. Another aspect that we need to animate of this, is the water that is splashing. We already have a rough diagram of our water body, now we're going to go ahead and animate the splashes. We're going to create a new layer on top of this, we're going to reduce the time, of course for how many frames it's going to stay. Right about around here is the impact frame, so of course the first frame is going to be a big splash. Now we're going to draw these bunch of frames for the splash. What do you need to keep in mind here is that we're going to animate the splashes in straight ahead animation because there's no particular way we can do this pose to pose, and trust me, this is going to turn our way nicer in straight ahead animation. Remember when we were talking about animation principles and as I talked about pose to pose and straight ahead animation, and I had mentioned that elements like fire and water do not have a particularly defined way of movement. This is where our idea of straight ahead animation comes in. We have our impact frame and we know that a couple of frames later, I'd like this same water to spread a little more before being impacted by gravity. Again, we're going to cheat a little bit and manipulate this same exact frames, but creating a duplicate of it. We're going to stretch out these areas really nicely so that it creates that elastic, watery approach. Let's see how that plays, pop, boom. You're seeing it's spread a little more, that is registering fine right now. Next frame. Again, take the marquee tool, delete your Canvas. Now you have a new blank frame and you turn on your onion skin, if this is getting confusing, you switch off your animating layer because it's difficult to work with so many transparencies working at one time. The next frame would be where the water is digressing towards the side. I'm just drawing arbitrarily or where I think the waters next frame can be so that the motion is believable, blank new frame, and just draw this bit with as much fun as you want. You can also add in water droplets just to show how all of these streaks of water separate out into water droplets before falling. The next frame would be a continuation of that, we're reaching the ground, we're coming to ease again after the huge splash. I think we need one more frame over here where the water is almost come to a standstill, something like this. Great, perfect. We're going to disable on onion skin and we're going to play back. Let's see how that looks. I think there is a bit too much of a pause over here on the first frame, so this can really be there for two frames, let's try two frames. Exposure for the first frame, let's see. Better. This's interesting, but we can actually also play along a little more with this. Also, if you see the motion, the particular art the water is following is very small, and I really want to ending bits of the frame go out a little more. That makes the animation or the arc a little fuller, rather than keeping it concise because water is free, water can move. What I'm going to do is, for these frames, I'm going to just stretch this out a little more, we don't need to get the exact thing right, but just to get the motion right around here, this is great. I think also this frame is stretching out a lot more than intended, so we can actually reduce this bit, and also in this frame, this can go a lot more closer to the ground grid. Great as you've seen, that animation is quite intuitive. This process of back-and-forth is a very common thing in the process of rough animation. We have our main character that is animated in pose to pose, and we have our water effects animation or the water splash animation that is animated in straight ahead. That's the end of Short 1. This is the place where you mess around with the timing and spacing and also the drawings until it really clicks for you because in clean-up, we're going to focus on details and style and stuff like that. Feel free to just go back, make all these little tweaks and little enhancements that will help your animation really breathe life [MUSIC]. 8. Finishing Inbetween Drawings: [MUSIC] Now that we have a good idea about the rough animation of Shot 1, let's go into something a little more extensive. Let's take a look at Short 8. Shot 8, I think is a very good example of some extensive character animation that we can really have fun with. First things first, we're going to change the frame rate of the document to 24 FPS so that we are in line, and then we're going to make a new layer which is going to get the animatic in our document and just going to go to our final shot. If you notice, this kid is jumping and jumping into the water and there's a cutaway to this shot of this POV of the kid. Then again, we come back to our long shot where the kid is jumping inside. A smart way of going about this would be to animate Shot 8 and Shot 10 as a whole because it's part of the same shot and we're cutting away in the middle of it. We're going to go to the beginning of Shot 8, trim the area, and this is what we have. Just reduce the opacity of our animatic layer, what we want to do here is lay out what we're going to do in this scene. An animation layout helps you understand and plan what is going to happen in your shot before you actually get to animating it. What I'm going to do here is just draw out a few poses for our main character of what exactly is happening. This guy is going to come into screen. Notice that I'm making some differences in scale because I want the puddle of water and the character to be visible properly, and in the same shot, again, we're just going to bring this into this layer and now we have a video group, which we can treat as an animation layer. The first pose would be of our character getting into screen. The second pose would then be of the character getting ready to take a leap. The plan is basically all of these characters fit into the layout. Whenever you are having a little confusion in visibility, you can always switch the layers on and off and keep checking for errors or whatnot. Here the character comes into frame and takes a big long leap into the puddle. I want the character to come in squash a little bit. Probably the next shot is going to be it stretching out. Just planning the shot. I'm doing a cross-section of the head so that I don't need to put in details right now. Maybe I can figure that out later. What I want the character to have is an arc. We're tying back to our animation principles of squash and stretch and arcs so that the action is exaggerated. In this position, I want the character to be somewhere around here. Again following the arc. It's so much easier when you have a set arc that you have drawn and you follow that arc. These are great for beginners because in the beginning you are confused and draw or animate arbitrarily and these are concepts that will help you grasp and make your foundation a little stronger. Of course, when you get a little more advanced, I'm sure you won't be using these basic concepts because these will already be in your head. In the extreme up pose of our character, I want the character to squash a little more. Constant stretch, squash, and stretch when you're going up, really brings out the action very well. This is the idea. Our next pose would be somewhere around here where he's free-falling all the way into our little puddle. It goes all the way in. This is our basic layout that we have. This is our plan of action for this shot. With this layout already planned, I think we're going to dive right into our rough animation. I'm actually going to start with the second pose because the character I'll draw all the way in. I'm going to use a version of this as our first pose so that we already don't need to manipulate or draw again. The frame of a character coming in, it's going down. The next pose as planned would be somewhere around here. As you're seeing, I'm duplicating these layers, animating them instead of drawing because it's just saving me those little milliseconds and these milliseconds really count when you're meeting a deadline and you want to finish up what's the fastest and the most efficient way of working. We're moving on to the stretch pose of our characters. You see that immediate change in volume from squashing to stretching of that character and this really provides that punch or the energy that is required for the character to jump. The next pores would be somewhere around here, which is the top extreme pose. We're going to just manipulate it a way bit because I think it was taking a little less space. Now I think that space over here is completely fine. We still have a character's hands clenched up in our extreme pose and we see a little bit of squash in the up pose. From here, it's all the way down here. I want the character to really free up and stretch again. Hands can actually go like that, the eyes open up. We'll come to the little details of the face, mouth, and hands later. The next frame would basically be somewhere around here. Our final pose would be somewhere around here where it's almost submerged in the water. Probably we won't keep any more frames towards the end. Now let's just see with this equidistant timing, how does the actual layout. We're just going to switch off our layout layers for once, just going to bring out our paddle layer. Let's see how that works. You see the squash, stretch, and the arc being followed, but I think the arc is a little too steep for now. I think I'm going to push out our squash pose from where the arc begins to somewhere around here. Now let's see if the arc is being followed well. I'm also going to rotate this character a little more so that it fits the position of the arc. Don't want a very steep arc otherwise, the action looks a little weird, goes all the way up, I think this can come a little more down. Much better. Overall, arc is there, overall, squash and stretch is there. You have your main poses or key frames right over here. You might as well go down and draw out the in-betweens. Absolutely, you need an in-between right over here where the character comes in. What you can see right now here is the onion skinning of the first frame. What you can't see over here is the second frame. Whenever I'm doing in-betweens, I always expose the in-between frames for one frame. That helps me see both of these other two frames that are preceding and following. Now that we have our two poses, it's easy for us to fill in the in-between where the guy steps in and we want a little bit of a stretch over here as well where the guy is making contact to his position grid. We draw the little hands and I think we have an in-between. Let's see. Comes right in. A little more squash would be nice for this character around this frame. I am going to use the Mesh Tool, hit "Command T" and stress this character down even further. It is important for you to understand the consistency in volume so you do not squash and stretch beyond a realistic point. Our character does a little drop there and it leaps and the leap can actually be shorter and will have an in-between frame between this frame and the next frame. I'm purposely doing something that might be very important here. If we look at the arc in our layout, we know that we are going to have a shot over here, which is our squash shot. Again, in the extreme up pose, we also know that we have drawn a stretch pose over here. Our arc here becomes our timing chart to plot out the points where we're going to put the keyframes and the in-betweens. We know for a fact that whenever a character on an object is jumping, there is a force of gravity acting at all times upon it. At the most extreme pose at the top over here, it is going to get slower. Slower means more number of frames. Also to make a little more impact, it's going to get slower as we go towards the top. There's going to be an in-between over here as well. Similarly, when our character is coming out of its medial pose, we're going to have the same amount of in-betweens over here. Sometimes we can also make another in-between between these two frames just to make the motion a little more slower. Let's see if we'll need this for the character animation for this shot. With this in mind, I'm just going to reduce the opacity much further. Just open up our main animation. Shifting to our animation, we do have a frame around here, which is mid pose, and the mid pose won't be so stretched out like the previous ones so that the stretching has already registered and the volume cannot be consistently stressed out. It returns to normal and then again, squash. We know that we need an in-between between these two because if we follow our timing chart, we already have done there. It's easier for us to follow along. We enable onion skin so that we can see both and we draw the head over here. Something to keep in mind while inbetweening is that inbetweening also doesn't happen just like that. There is a science to it, and you need to understand a few laws of physics if not entirely, but somewhat grasp the concept of it to understand your motion better. While I'm inbetweening, I'm also keeping in mind that the knees need to curl up to fit the motion of the knees over here. Also, the hands need to curl up a little more. If you'll notice, inbetweening is also about focusing on all these little points of the animation that make it more enriching and more believable. That's nice. I think we can increase timing to double of this. Let's play now. That's nice. Like how it's inbetweening over here. We don't need so much of a hold on this extreme pose. We can reduce this timing and use it to fit in an in-between between these two. Again, we're going to switch on our onion skin and just going to take our duplicated frame and in-between them. Here, the feet are going to mostly be almost stretched out and the hands as well are going to be curled up just about to liftoff in the next pose. Once we disable onion skin, let's say that. I'm going to increase the timing of this a little bit to twos and the overall motion can be a little faster. This is looking a little unnatural. I'm going to manipulate the frames a little bit. Let's see now. I'm happy with the first part of the action. Let's see what we can change when the character is going down the arc. The thing is just a timing issue, reduce timing so that it doesn't look like it's caught up in the air or it's holding for too long in it. Let's just see now. In this phase, I want the character to really go all the way in. I want that impact. I'm not putting any more frames over here. I like that slow-to-fast motion grid. [MUSIC] 9. Adding Secondary Actions: [MUSIC] Now what we can do to enhance this further is actually what we call secondary action. I'm going to bring in secondary action and a little bit of follow through and overlapping to enhance this animation further. In secondary action, I'm going to use the head to enhance the motion of this. In this position, I actually want the head to tilt down further. Why? Because the head is aiming towards where it's headed. That will be interesting to see. Then you see immediately there's more of a curling up or more of a squash right over here. As soon as we did a little bit of that head turn. I'm going to enhance this further over here by tilting the head just a way bit more. Also, in the down pose, I think I'd like the character's head to tilt a little up. The moment it's falling, the head is doing a little bit of follow-through. We have this motion a little more believable. Same goes over here. The head is going to be tilted somewhere around like this. At the very end I want the kid to actually notice what just happened. That little frame, I want to keep where the head is tilting down and is looking at what exactly is happening. The kid is getting devoured by the puddle. Let's see this all in action. I think there's too much of a hold on mid air. We can reduce that by one frame. Let's see now. I'm quite happy with this. I think we can play around with the head of this character a little more in this pose, it's tilting down while it's preparing to jump. Also a little bit of follow through in the stretch pose after it slipped. I think I'm quite happy with the way it looks. I'm going to move on and get into some secondary action. For this we'll make a new animation layers or a video group where we'll focus on mainly the extensions and the probes that is carrying. We know that we have the water bottle over here. Yes, we want the bottle to actually not move along with the motion of the body, but follow through it. When the body is going down, the bottle is going to lag around a little more. We want the bottle to tilt up. Notice why I'm doing this just in a bit. I'm going to make one more frame somewhere around here. Animating in video groups also helps in animating and timing each element in your animation scene differently. When our character leaps up, the water bottle tags along this making up for some great secondary action. Next frame, almost when it's coming to a stop. Here I want the bottle to come closer to the body. As the character is going down, the bottle is actually going to move up. We're just going to continue animating our little water bottle. You will notice that the water bottle is also falling sort arc while it's going up and down. Now we're going to animate one more part, which is the bag and the hoodie. That is also going to have the same laws of physics that are applying to our water bottle. Say somewhere around here, we actually see the bag stretch, is stretching quite a bit and also following through our main characters primary action. Just when our main character starts descending, bag moves even more above. See a nice squash and stretch action on the bag as well. I think this kind of action works. Also we're going to animate the flaps right over here. Let's see the animation. I'm very happy with this. Now that we have a character animation ready, we can move into our water splash animation and I'll make a new layer. We go to the point of contact where the kid jumps right into the water. We know we want a big splash of water somewhere around here. Going to go enhance that. We want the splash to split form in-between and fall. For better systems, we open our onion skinning and we draw frame by frame. Even if we don't know about these particular frame positions, we have a fair fair about how water flows. We're going to go with our intuition about that. Now let's see how that turned out. Quite happy with this. I think in the second frame I'm going to reduce the time a little. If you notice when something falls in water, there's always a little bit of a delay block of sorts that follows in the water puddle. I'll just tell you what I mean in a bit. Make a new layer and start animating right away. As the volume of water spreads apart, there's another small body of water that rises to the top and then the entire volume comes to rest. Next frame. This is the point where it really goes like narrow because the force of gravity is constantly pushing it down. Again, a little bit of slowing in over here. Just going to manipulate these frames, spot it and this thing falls along. This stays and lags a little bit behind and following through. Gradually this water droplet also keeps falling along. Let's see how that plays out. This is good. You see that smooth motion towards the end, that is what is giving the idea of it being a deep body of water and something heavy falling into it. There we have it. This is how you can plan even the most extensive and complex actions and animate them. [MUSIC] 10. Cleaning Up: [MUSIC] Now we'll begin with the cleanup stage. In this stage, what we'll be doing is fading out our rough animation. What we need to keep in mind at this stage is line consistency, and volume control. To start out, we're going to delve right into the cleanup of our first shot that we just animated. We see the puddle, we see the title come in and the pair of boots jumped right after and the water splash. This is our rough animation of our first shot. Let's go ahead and clean this up. There are two aspects of cleaning this up, one is the character animation, which is the pair of boots and also the water splash. Let's just focus on the character animation for now. We reduce the opacity of this and make a frame right about here, which is obviously going to be the same length as the rough animation layer below. Here you're just going to keep in mind the consistency of line and volumes because right now you're going to fill in all the details. This phase is quite important because honestly cleanup can either break or make your animations. We're going to the second frame, similar line quality. We're trying to maintain these volumes. Cleanup really gets complicated when there are several aspects to a character. If the character design is complex with various secondary props that the character holds, say for example, a jacket, jeans, checkered hat or something like that, the complexity of it will keep on increasing. You might need to keep in mind how much you will need to clean up while you're character designing. For this simple exercise, we have a very simple character, but still it does have a few props including the water bottle and the bag, and also the hoodie flap. This stage of animation can also easily get a little monotonous because you're not making something out of scratch, because I've already done that in rough animation. But actually drawing over your rough bits. What I like to do is sometimes listen to music at this phase, that helps you tune in and focus on what is at hand right now. Also, a lot of care goes into this phase because depending on the intricacy of your style, you need to pay a lot more attention to keep the line quality as consistent as possible. There's a lot of fun in cleaning up on Photoshop because there are countless number of brushes that you can experiment with in your cleanup phase. Here you can also notice I'm not erasing the entire frame, but erasing only parts of it depending on what I need. The reason is that I want a certain level of line consistency, and starting from scratch would mean drawing something separately and it might create a little bit of jittering if I'm drawing every frame separately. A lot of times your style might demand a bit of jittering in line quality, having some bubbling of lines. But that is completely a stylistic approach, so I leave that up to you. I want to fill this up just to create that depth in the rain coat, for this frame, I think we can duplicate right about now so that we don't have to draw that again. Next frame we'll need to draw again. Almost there. I will choose to draw this instead of manipulating this little end of the raincoat simply because I'm confident that the volumes will stay consistent and line quality as well. You might see in this cleanup phase, I'm undoing and redoing the lines until I get it just right, and that is a very common thing to do. Leg goes up, your wrist position and one more time, this comes in. So duplicating those frames and then the feet come to rest. We're going to rename this layer as cleanup characters and switch off the rough animation layers. Let's see now how the cleanup has turned out. Very nice, very bold lines, very consistent. I'm quite happy with the way it has turned out. For the water splash, I think we're going to use something different. We're going to make use of not just the brush, but other tools that Photoshop offers. With the help of the Lasso tool, I have made myself a bit of a puddle and I have also gone ahead and animated just two extension frames of the puddle because as soon as the feet come and fall, the puddle needs to expand a little bit. What we're going to do is use the Lasso tool to animate this splash as well. We will quickly reduce the opacity of our rough animation splash and use our Lasso tool instead of our brush tool, just going to pick that color. Now that we have our area selected, we're going to hit Alt or Option and Delete, and that is going to give us a very neat silhouette. You can also keep using the brush and the Lasso tool together as in when it's convenient. Here I'm not going to draw any borders around the water body or any of the splashes. We are going for a very lineless style for the water and the water splashes, and just bold lines for our character animation. We're done with the cleanup of our first shot. I'm going to go ahead and finish the rest of the shots. [MUSIC] Now that we're finally done cleaning up all our shots, let's move on to the next step, which is color and compositing. The student exercise for this lesson is to finish all your rough animation and clean up all your shots. 11. Filling Color: [MUSIC] Now that we're done with cleaning up our shot, let's move on to color filling. In color filling basically, we're going to color our cleaned up animation. Referring to the style frame that I had created earlier, but let's just switch that on. This is our style frame that we had created. It has solid colors and a little bit of highlights and shadows on the character. It also does have a little bit of reflections that we can see in the water. Otherwise a very minimal design, very minimal style, just focusing on the two main aspects of this story, our main character, which is our kid, and the puddle of water. What we can do here, is actually pick color from this style frame for the character and the water so that there's no difference in color and we don't have to color pick from scratch. We're going to hit our brush tool and we're going to hit Alt or Option, you'll see this eyedropper or color picker tool. You just need to click on this and immediately you'll see your color change to yellow in the foreground. We're going to move back to our Photoshop file of the cleaned up animation, we're just going to make a layer below our cleaned up animation. We want to color the main character so we can switch off the rest of the layers and we can come back to them later. This is our first frame and we see the boots here, so we're going to pick the color of the boots from here and just paint it. The easiest way to paint in Photoshop is with the color bucket tool. The shortcut for that is pressing G on your keyboard. This gives us our color bucket tool. You can also find this in your toolbar with this icon. What you need to do is just click on it, immediately, you have your color filled. Let's move on to the next frame, duplicate this layers and bring this down so that it acts as an animation layer under Video Group. Now switch to this layer off, you don't really need this right now. What I'm going to do here is pick a slightly darker color for the feet behind so that there is no problem in understanding which one is in the front and which one is at the back. Since this process is taking a little while, I think I'm going to color each boot separately, but in the same layer so that I can come back to the second boot and fill that up when I'm done with the first boot. Now when I'm coloring this frame, you'll notice that the entire frame is getting colored. This is happening because there are gaps in the clean up lines in the layer above. One quick fix for this is just hitting your brush layer, picking the same color. You just fill in the areas that you think are not covered by the line art layer, and we're good to go. We're going to go ahead and do the same thing for the rest of the frames. Shortcuts really help, so you can use your keyboard to switch between these tools, so B for brush and G for color bucket. Now that we have already the frames in place, it'll be much easier to fill in. We don't need to create or duplicate any new frames, and it's just much more easier. We're done with the boots, so we'll go ahead and pick the color of the rain. This is also another part, just like clean up, where you can relax, listen to some music. Let's see how that plays out. Lovely. Now that we're done coloring up our character animation, we'll quickly go and fill in our shadows and highlights. For shadows, let's create a new frame right between our clean up and our color frame. Needs a little bit of shadow on this boots, so I'm going to pick out a gray that I'm okay with and moment I paint in, it appears to be gray. But there's a trick to this. Using layer modes or the multiplayer layer mode, you can change this immediately into a shadow layers. See how the shadow falls on the boots, and now we're going to replicate the same effect on the rest of the consecutive frames. For that, it might be a good idea for you to turn this into a normal mode. Duplicate this, so that it makes another animation layers. You'll fill in this area again and fill it in. Now what you can do is change the layer mode of the entire animation layers as a whole, so that you don't really need to get into the layer modes of each layer. Now, if you are painting with the same gray, is going to paint as a multiply layer. We're doing the same thing, which is figuring out any area where the shadow will fall, start filling in. I think we need to enhance this wave motion of this part of the rain coat a too more, it is out a little bit of the shadows from here, just so that it all flows well in motion. Now, we're going to add some highlights to the boots. This is our shadow layer, let's rename every layer so that we don't get confused and a new layer on top. We're going to use the same gray, but we're going to shift the layer mode from multiply to overlay now. Mostly, I work with multiply for shadows and overlay for highlights. Let's just go ahead and add in one highlight for our boot. Let's just add in a little gray dot over here for the shine on the boot. Let's just go ahead and try out a few layer modes to see what works best for our highlight layer. Let's go down to our layer mode drop-down menu. This is quite interesting, which is color dodge, overlay here is quite faint. Maybe what we can do is change the color to a much lighter gray and see how that translates in the overlay mode. This is quite nice. Depending on patterns or depending on the stuff that you want on your characters, you can always have animation layers that are set to different layer modes to give you the best results. You might be noticing that all these little details are also quite time-consuming, which makes animation a little tedious and also requires you to have a little bit of patience. But when all of these little details add up to your final animation, I'm sure it'll be worth it. Let's just play that out once, lovely. For the water, I've already filled in a layer over here. I'm also going to add in our splash layers and see how this flows. I think it is a good idea to take our splash layer and put it up above our character animation layers. Much better. Since the puddle right now feels a little flat, maybe we're going to go in and add some reflections texture into it. We're going to make a new layer on top of this and we're going to stretch out the entire thing to the end. Let's pick a nice texture brush. Photoshop offers a lot of fun brushes that you can experiment with. The brush that I'm using is a chalk texture brush. Let's go ahead and try painting reflections here, we're going to reduce the size of the brush slightly. We're going to put some paints on top of this so that it feels like there's some reflection happening in the water. What we'll do now, press Alt option on your keyboard and come in between these two layers. You'll see the change in this icon and just hit it, and it will create a clipping mask. Maybe I think I'll use a little harder brush over here just to exaggerate that reflection effect and we're good. One last thing that we're going to do, change the color of the water body and now we're done. Now that we have our color for the first shot done, we're going to dive right ahead and color the rest of our shots. [MUSIC] 12. Compositing: [MUSIC] Before starting compositing, we're going to take all these individual layers from Photoshop and bring them back into After Effects. That'll be easier for us to manage as layers. In the compositing phase, all the layers that make up a scene including background, foreground, midground, and character animation, as well as a lot of lighting and special effects, come together and make up the scene. Now, we have four layers. One is our character layer, splash layer, our water body, and background. For all static layers, we're going to save them as PNG because the file size is relatively low and easier to manage. We'll now go into File, and we'll go to Export. But this time, instead of Quick Export as PNG, since this is not a static layer, we're going to go all the way down to Render Video. Another thing that we need to change here is the format from H.264, which is MP4, to MOV, which gives us the extra option of rendering in Alpha. All of these, you do not need to worry about. Come right here at Render Options. You'll see something called the Alpha Channel. By default, it is always set to None. Go to the dropdown menu and always hit "Straight-Unmetered". This is going to help you render out your animation layers in Alpha. Now that we have all our layers here, for the first shot, we're going to drag these and drop into After Effects. We're going to hit "New Composition". Width and Height would be 1080,1920. Frame Rate, 24 FPS. Just like we did in the animatic, we're just going to hit "Okay". It'll be a good idea to drag and drop your animatic layer. Again, so that you just have a reference for your animation. You make a new layer over here called Shot 1. You might see all of these are a little jumbled up, but not to worry. Shot 1 BG. From here, you have your splash layer on top, then the character, then the puddle, then your background. First thing that we're going to try and do is bring the title somewhere around here. We're going to go into Text layer. Let's call this film Puddle. Increase the size. From here, we can change the color to somewhat of a dark blue. Also, change the font. I like this. For animating the title, I just want a simple faded. What I'll do is hit "D", bring out the Opacity properties, hit a "Keyframe" over here. Hit another "Keyframe" over here. Just reduce this to zero. When the feed comes in, we need to mask this out so that it feels like our main character just jumped on our title. Let's play that. Comes in perfectly. Lovely. After Effects gives you a lot of liberty in trying out and experimenting different effects that it makes your animation stand out or be more authentic. I'm going to duplicate this layer by hitting "Command D". This is our character animation layer. We're going to bring it on top of the puddle. We're going to hit "Right-Click" on our Shot 1 character, go into Transform properties, and just flip vertically. Now, we have a perfectly vertically reflected layer of the same. We're going to do some manipulations and reduce the size of this just a wee bit. We're going get this down to match the lining of our foot. Lovely. Now, we're going to just reduce the opacity of this layer a little bit. I just want a little bit of a haze on top of it, which is why I'm going to try using Directional Blur. We're going to increase the blur length. This is something that is not possible in Photoshop, and it's quite comfortably done in After Effects. We do not want the reflection to fall on the footpath. Just limit it to our puddle area. We're going to duplicate the puddle layer, put it on top of our character animation that we just put a blur effect on. We're going to go to this dropdown menu , which says None. We're going to hit "Alpha Matte". Alpha Matte is basically the same concept as a Clipping Mask. It allows you to move around your particular layer within the boundaries of the layer that it has been alpha-matted on. Now, you see that it is only limited to the areas of the water splash. Title appears, title goes. The puddle title is appearing on top of our gum boots. This is what we do not want. So we're going to go frame by frame and just reduce this. I think we're good to go now, yes. We also want the sides of the reflection to be a little faded and not go up entirely to the boundary of our water splash layers. What we can do for that is use a mask on top of this. We go to Pen tool. By keeping our reflection layer, select it. We're going to draw a little bit of a mask right about here. One more thing that I'd like to add is go to Masks, open up the Mask properties. Go to Mask Feather and increase the feather to 62 pixels or so. This is good for a nice gradient fade. We're good to go. Once you have composited all your shots, your film is ready. Well, almost. [MUSIC] We have reached to the final step of the process, which is sound design. The student exercise for this lesson is to fill colors for the cleanup animation and move on to composite your animated film. [MUSIC] 13. Adding Audio: Sound design is probably the most exciting aspect of making your film more believable. Sound lends a lot of credibility to your films. Since the actions in our animations do not have any real sound to begin with, the idea is to create the same effect that we'll hear in real life. With that being said, animated films have a lot of exaggerated action, which gives you the liberty to experiment with your sound while making your film. For the sound design of our animated film we want to create layered sound or a soundscape that best replicates reality. In reality, when we hear sounds we hear them in various layers. Say, for example, we're hearing some noise coming from the background from far away or we're hearing a bird chirping just at a distance or even the rustling of our feet. All these sounds play in our head in various layers, giving us a complete understanding of sound and the environment we're in. Let's see what all sounds we require for our first shot. The first thing that we need is to create a sense of environment. This is probably happening on a busy street on an overcast day so we probably need a little bit of rain sound and also some crowd chatter. Of course, we need a water splash and a little more splashes over here. We also do need a random sound of a passer-by who is annoyed with all this water splashing. The two sources that I use for sound are YouTube and Freesound mainly because these are in the public forum, which means there are plenty of uploads by various people so you might get what you want for free. I'm going to search for busy street sound effect, we're going to look for something short, something like this. Let's hear this out. Maybe I'm going to use this at a very low volume. Since I'm downloading the sound from YouTube I use a website that not only allows me to download but also convert this from MP4 to MP3. Let's figure out the next sound, I want a little murmur sound effect of people. I think this is creating a nice ambience and it is not too loud, there's not too many people. You download this file as well. We also need some water splash sound effects. Lovely. I think we have this. Now that we have these three sound effects to give us good idea about what the environment is like, we're going to drag and drop these into After Effects and level them out. So that we do not mess around with the animation one, it is locked. Maybe we can precompose this as layers. Think of pre-compose like grouping of different layers. We shift, select all the layers that we want then we go to our keyboard and hit Control or Command Shift C. We're going to call this SHOT 1. With that done, we'll get all our sounds and paste them here. If I play now, is just going to sound like a cacophony. But if you notice, it has already giving you a sense of environment. We're going to switch off our splash layers and we're going to mainly use these two layers of voice and traffic. Think the sound is starting to loud so you can hit this drop-down menu and click on audio. We're going to turn it down just a wee bit to about -16 decibels or so. Let's see. Is a little too low, maybe -10 would we fine. This back-and-forth is quite necessary and this will help you experiment. I think around here I want the splash to really come on. Let's find a good splash first. Let's try this. This is nice but it's just a little too much. We need a sound that is not as intense. Lovely. I think it fits in quite well here. It's hitting at a wrong time. What you can do is actually sink the sound to your action frame-by-frame and to To that you can actually drag your time indicator by holding the Control or Command key so that you can listen to the sound while it's coming through it. See me scrub through the whole thing and the moment I press Command you'll be able to hear sound as well. Let's push it a little back. Lovely. Now we're going to do this small little splashes as well. I think we have it. I really like this part of the sound, I think it fits in perfectly. Great. I'm very happy with this shot. Now that we have downloaded all the sound effects and put them in and we are happy with how it sounds, we're still missing the last voiceover of this random passer-by. Many a times, especially during voiceovers, you might not find what you're looking for on the Internet. Rather than relying on outside sources, you can very well record your own voiceovers and you can play around with it to best suit your animation. All you need is a quiet room and a cozy corner with your phone and you're good to go. We're going to take all the voiceovers and bring them into Adobe Audition, where we can experiment and modulate with various effects and see what works best for our animation. We open up Adobe Audition and we take our voiceover and bring them in. This particular area is where all the magic happens. You bring that in right here. You're going to try out all these effects that are present over here. Once you're done you head to File and you export. You can either export this as MP3 WAV file or various other audio formats that are available in Adobe Audition and hit "OK" so it is going to render out your audio file. Once you're modulated voiceover is rendered out from Adobe Audition, bring that back into After Effects and render out accordingly. Now that we have placed our voiceover, let's see how this looks. I'm very happy with the first shot. Sound is actually creating a very immersive environment. Similarly, we'll now design the sound for the rest of the film. Finally, we're done with the sound design of all our shots. I think we're finally ready to render this out. I'll just talk a little bit about the render settings you need to keep in mind. We need to go to composition add this to render queue. Once in the render queue we'll go into our properties. For the sake of the class, and just because we're uploading on social media, I think we're fine with an H.264 format or an MP4 format. Everything else is going to be matching source so we don't need to really worry about anything. We just need to change the name of this, figure out where do you want to see the final film. Just going to name this Puddle final and save this and hit okay. When you are good to go, you just hit the render button. Once you have the film rendered out, you can finally watch it and you're animated reel will be ready for Instagram. Let's see how the final thing looks like. Wow, that turned out to be just the way we wanted it. 14. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] Congratulations on finishing this class. Don't forget to share your project in the project gallery below. If you want to check out my work, you can find me on Instagram at Debjyoti.saha. Through social media, I've been able to become a part of the vibrant community of artists that India has. It has immensely helped me better my work, always stay inspired because I'm seeing so much of good work happening all around me. I promise that this will happen with you too as long as you keep practicing and keep creating. Thank you for joining me. It was so much fun teaching you.