The graphic novel animation proved to be very time consuming. I was importing the character sheets drawn up in illustrator into Flash and then animating them.
I began by creating folders on the timeline for the 3 characters and 1 for backgrounds and 1 for ‘other’. This was useful and I am glad I did this as it was helpful when trying to recreate the different scenes, as it saved time.
For me, the backgrounds, proved the most challenging. Trying to get them to work right, in the right place and not interfere with the next scene. I wasn’t that confident moving keyframes and I needed to learn to move from one scene to the next, this sometimes involved entering keyframes in the next scene/layer and then deleting the contents of the prior scene in that layer, before putting in my new images.
Animating the characters was easier and more fun. I mostly used different eye and arm animations. I would select the parts I wanted to change and deselect what was in the middle then add in my new eye or mouth shape. I also used motion tweens with the characters moving objects.Once the point of rotation was in the right place it was easy enough. I could then tween the object to match the characters action. Onion skinning proved useful when I was trying to match actions as I could then see where the object had previously been. I would have liked to have done more animation. I also would have liked the different scenes to last longer, as the clips go too fast. I tweened some backgrounds which don’t really look that well, I would have been better just putting in more animation instead, but I didn’t have time. I also included some text tweens. I redid the font a few times, and it was best just to make them in illustrator, make them outlines and import them to flash. I labelled nearly everything, which was useful. I tried to keep the library tidy as best I could.
Along the way I learned a lot about flash. I wouldn’t be as anxious to animate again. Although I would sort out my backgrounds and timing as best I could and then concentrate on animation. The process was time consuming but a good learning experience. My final export in quicktime movie did not turn out. I used ‘Swivel” to turn the SWF file into an MP4 and this worked well. Overall, I am happy enough with the animation. I really would have liked it to be a bit slower, so as the story being told could be seen better visually, but I am pleased with what I have learned. I feel I would be much better at this the next time.