The creative process of animating a character seems like a straight forward process in theory. Design a character that you can redraw consistently and change its position based on where you want it to go, however it isn’t nearly as direct as it sounds.
The animations referred to for this project were Felix in Hollywood, Felix Goes West, Arabianatics, Ducks his Duty, and Switches Witches by Otto Mesmer. The reason Otto was chosen was mainly for the character movements and mostly static backgrounds.
After experiencing the daunting process of my first animation there are several problems that came up during my first 50 frame sketch. My first difficulty was keeping the proportions of my character consistent across multiple frames.
When I first designed my character, “Phil the Frog”, Phil was drawn with a rounded body with his main detail being his eyes, hands, and feet. Phil took some time to draw but each frame I would check over the spots I’d be likely to make a mistake in, those being his detailed features. Frame to frame my character would look fine maybe some minor alterations to his silhouette, but after finishing my first 10 frames I flipped through and it became apparent where I made my mistake. The small changes in his shape changed gradually from the first frame to the last, making him look mutant like. At this point I saw the other problems.
After my initial slides some of the movements that I intended to use ended up reversing and even had my character sliding on his feet at frames 15-16 giving it a jerky movement. The motion overall was smooth but could be improved with more nuanced detail. This may have been a result of how difficult this character was to draw consistently with limb movement, perhaps changing some of the limb detail it would be easier. Most of the action was clear in the animation however getting the shocked effect across was a struggle. The way my character appeared shocked was by leaning back wide eyed and hands out to his sides which was not entirely effective. Possibly by jumping straight up in the air with arms overhead would have been a more appropriate pose.
During the second animation I altered the walk cycle between frames 0-23 to keep a more consistent motion. The motion was indeed more consistent but the character had stiffer movements which may have taken away more than intended. All of these challenges made me realize how useful cel animation tools must have made the drawing process of the animation and convinced me that create a template would be invaluable for future animations.