085. Watercolor Animation #2: Mountains and Clouds

Can I just say... FINALLY?

It's been about a year since my last animation (which you can see here)... I meant to do this way sooner! But you know. Life.

Anyways, at long last, here is my second attempt at a watercolor animation!

Approx. 20 hours.
27 frames.
Hand painted.

This was a test in patience and water control. I had so many moments of... WHY AM I DOING THIS!?!?

Because it's cool. Just do it. 
My brain would answer. 

Ugh. Fine.

The result is always the exciting part, but I actually found the process to be interesting in itself. In order to create the effect of moving clouds/sky, I had to really pay attention to water dispersion. Controlling watercolors is like herding cats. 

So after my first animation, I realized my #1 priority was making sure the mountain stayed in one place. I decided to try out some graphite transfer paper and draw the same mountain on every frame.

1. I started out with a concept painting of the mountain, to make sure I REALLY liked the layout.

2. Then, I created a very simplified line drawing based on the main contours of the mountain. 

3. The line drawing became my template, and by using the graphite transfer paper, I drew the same thing on every frame. I used 4x6 watercolor postcards because they are a nice manageable size.

I then very carefully painted each card, trying to get subtle changes in clouds/sky in each frame. I kept the mountain relatively the same in every frame - sometimes I adjusted the shadows by increasing or decreasing the value of blue on the mountain.

After I was happy with my frames, I had to decide how to capture it. I wanted to do something more interesting than just scanning each frame, so I decided to set up a little scene, showcasing the handmade quality of the art. 

20171228_115913_HDR (1).jpg

The tricky part was making sure I placed each card in the EXACT same spot for each photo. This meant I had to have a little placeholder to assure that this happened. Can you tell how I did it?

Zoom in....

I placed a tiny ball of sticky-tack on the board, so that I could slide each card right up next to it and ensure that the cards would line up for each photo. This meant that the only thing to appear moving would be the paint on the cards.

It was tedious, but the effort paid off, and I really like the final result.

Finally, I used Photoshop to compile each frame and create the gif file. This was the fastest part of the whole process. Save To Web as a gif (128 dithered) and done!

Have you ever tried something like this? If so I would LOVE to hear about it, or your other animation experience. Leave me a comment :)