Wow, this project turned out to be much more complicated than I thought it would be! It probably has to do with the scope of this animation and my limited access to what is being taught. I am deaf and need the class captioned. However, I am desperate to learn what Abbey had to teach about After Effects, so I went ahead and watched all lessons, paying very close attention whenever Abbey actually does whatever she was teaching. That approach was somewhat helpful, but I am sure I would have gotten a lot more if I knew what Abbey was saying. Regardless, the student assignments and pop-up text were helpful (critical to my ability to pull together this animation at all, really).
I wanted the hand-drawn feeling similar to Libby's example but I don't have a Wacom or Cintiq. I do have an Apple Pencil and Procreate, so I went ahead and did my drawings in there before exporting into PSD and following the rest of the steps outlined here (Libby VanderPloeg's Skillshare Animation for Illustration: Adding Movement with Procreate & Photoshop class was extremely helpful with that part).
I started by brainstorming what themes I wanted to go with by doing a couple rough sketches:
I liked the second option so went with it. When sketching in Procreate, I quickly realized drawing various landmarks would become labor-intensive, so I went with just decorative elements that suggest various biomes across the USA.
The rough sketch looked like this:
I should have done a color test, but I was impatient and went ahead with coloring everything - my thinking: light colors, foreground; dark colors, background.
I created my characters and animated them in Photoshop (kids are signing in ASL, one in striped shirt says "incredible!" one in blue shirt is tapping frantically on other kid's elbow and saying, "look, look, look!" while the kid in pigtails is saying, "whoooooaaaa!"):
Finally, I pulled together everything in After Effects and realized the seamless looping was the most devilishly difficult step. I think I pulled it off but I did have to go back to Procreate to redraw the edges a few times before I think it looked right.
I encoded the video two different ways and for some reasons, the second encoding process rendered the background black. I think it actually creates a fun unexpected twist, so I've included both versions here.
If there's anything I could have done to improve the workflow or the end result, feel free to share!!
If you'd like, you can check out my IG account @flowbirddesign for more of my work.