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Nuff .

Designer

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6

A Cycle Cycle

First off, massive acknowledgement to Corby Ortmann, upon whose cycle animation mine is quite heavily based. Also, huge thanks to Fraser for putting this together and teaching a skill I would have though impossible to learn before taking this class.

INITIAL WALK CYCLE

While following the class, I decided to follow Frasier's illustration, as it seemed too much to make editorial decisions while also learning the technique. Here's the basic walk cycle I ended up with (almost exactly the same as the example):

BASED ON A TRUE STORY

The idea to do a cycling GIF was inspired by my very brave friend Rita, who will be riding 200k to raise money for cancer research. This is her first long distance ride of any sort, so I think it appropriate to commend her and wish her luck on these pages.

INSPIRATION ON SKILLSHARE

Before I started working on my animation, I had a quick look through the other projects that have been uploaded. There's a lot of incredible work up, and I've already mentioned Corby, but I should also acknowledge Josip Vranjkovic, Fernando Colares, Jason Perry, Trudy WE and Eduardo Viviani (and many more) for sharing their processes and ideas for taking this technique to the next level.

I have a tendency to do the bare minimum, and these examples, plus Fraser's "one more thing" adjustments to make the motion smoother and add a sense of personality and "deliberateness" to the animation have helped mitigate my laziness.

THE ANIMATION

(this version has less grain)

The character was built in Illustrator following the standard procedure more or less (except I added facial features.

The shorts are made the same way you would do a shadow. The shoes are just rectangles with one anchor point tweaked.

The line in the road is just a single path with a dashed line. One of the properties you can animate in a dashed stroke is "offset", which lets you shift the lines without ever physically moving the path.

The grain comes from HolyGrain, and I've just whacked it on top of the other layers at full opacity, Hard Light.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

As mentioned, I'm rather lazy, so there are definitely refinements that could be made here. I was a bit heavy handed with the grain first time around, and I find the more subtle grain gives the loop away less.

The motion of the legs isn't true to how a person would pedal (especially long distance), being a bit jerky, but I liked the exaggeration of easing in/out, and it made keeping the legs, feet and pedals in sync easier.

I gave up on making a moving background because the loop is so short, everything would have had to move quite fast to get back to starting point. It's a shame because you could do some trippy parallax stuff with a city skyline or some hills or something. Ideally I'd precompose the rider loop and drop that into another composition with the clouds and BG elements moving slowly, but that would create a massive GIF.

I probably could have paid more attention to the clothes (particularly the shoes), added some sort of detail that separates the arm from the torso, etc. I could have tapered the legs so they are fuller in the thigh and so on.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I seriously did think character animation in AI was above my capabilities, so this was a nice surprise. I'm aware there are features that haven't even been touched (I've watched a few puppet tool videos) but I'm learning that simplicity can be a vehicle for expression, as you can focus on injecting style into every ounce of a project.

Thanks again to Fraser for putting this together.

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