Sunday, 3 June 2012

Making an animated GIF from a pen and ink drawing

Cell-animated eye
A single cell grows into an eye.In the blink of itself, it’s extinct. See below for how this was made.
This was hand drawn using pen and ink.
Here is the original concept sketch. Pretty simple. Because this was for an animated GIF, it wanted to have a looping repeat feel to it, and have a beginning and end that worked together

I did not want to actually hand-animate this - far too long-winded. Instead the basic units of the drawing that would need to be animated separately were considered, and these were drawn more carefully using pen and ink.
These were then photographed with a digital camera and imported in Flash to manipulate them. Within Flash teh "Trace bitmap" function is used to create vectors from the imported image. The white areas are deleted, leaving just the ink lines, which can then be treated as any other shape in Flash. E.g. the blue iris colouring was added in Flash using a gradient fill.
It gets quite complex in Flash, but essentially each "thing" needs it's own layer, so it can be animated separately from other parts. This screenshot is a bit rubbish! 
Once I was happy I had recreated the design into a moving animation, it was exported using "Export Movie > animated GIF"

Animated GIF, made to upload to a public submissions space on the website for The Photographer's Gallery's Born in 1987: The Animated GIF exhibition.

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