KITES ARE FUN
(sorry this post has taken so long but I had to do jury duty for a week and also my computer died on me...well, enough with the excuses...)
After the animatic timing was locked down, I started on the layouts. This stage for me is still one that I draw on paper since it's the easiest and fastest way to do solid drawings. The layout stage is where I take the rough storyboard sketches and refine the composition as well as add poses to flesh out the basic movement. Essentially this is key animation, I have found that this is absolutely essential for doing "flash" animation to keep it from looking cheap.
After these poses are done in each scene I draw up the backgrounds. When doing layouts it is important to be certain that the characters and the background work together to complete the composition of the scene. Here you will notice that the action of the boy as he rises up into the sky is framed by the clouds and the action is mirrored by the line of the trees.
The next step once the layouts are completed, the key poses are inked in. Here's a brief step-by-step on inking process.
Since there were quite a number of BG's to paint for this video, I kept them relatively simple. I used large areas of flat colour, saving the textured and more rendered areas for clouds and trees. This gave the bg's a bit of depth without being overly complicated and also gave a bit of contrast between flat and textured areas. Also, a lot of the detail was simply linework over a flat area of colour or a simple gradient...like the grass for example. The lines help to give the appearance of texture or brushwork with out too much fussing around. As far as colour goes, I kept those simple as well. Since a lot of the action takes place in the sky, I went for a very deep blue. The rest of the colours I kept muted to help contrast with the relative brightness of the sky blue. The bg's themselves were done entirely in Photoshop to save time. I would have liked to have done them traditionally but time didn't allow for that.
The animation as noted earlier was all done in Flash. Using my layouts and my timing from my animatic, I draw all the extra poses needed directly in Flash. I rarely use symbols to get my movement. One main trick that I do is to be sure to animated entirely on 2's, which means every other frame at 24fps. This keeps the animation from looking floaty and gives it a little more of a handmade feel. This part is the hardest to describe since I didn't save any step-by-step examples as I worked...but basically I don't do anything new or innovative-I just make 'em move.
Anyway, I hope this is helpful to some of you...I wish I could go more in depth, but maybe I'll save that for another post.