Thursday, July 28, 2011

Moving Comics


or, at least, comics that move are a subject that has fascinated me recently.

The last one I did got a pretty good response, with some questions about how I did it. Well, you should know that I'm almost always making things up, so I can't be considered and authority on this (or any) subject. Anyway, I'm sure there are a bunch of ways to get to the result that I did, but I will divulge my secrets (which are so simple that, upon their divulging, you will wonder why you even asked).

First, a new comic:


and in an alternate form:

Some Dads Give Their Kids Blocks from Anthony Holden on Vimeo.

Ideally, I think it would be cool to build in a Flash functionality that allowed readers to click on a panel when they are ready to watch the animation. That way, you could get the benefit of animating moments while maintaining a more traditional feel to the comic (one that doesn't distract from the other panels because of the constant movement). I might do a little more studying to look into that option. It may involve learning some code, so buckle up.

Some Philosophy:

There are advantages and disadvantages inherent to both animation and comics. Comics, similar to novels, have the ability to delve into a world rich with sensory experience via the words and images on a page. In film, ideas can only be conveyed visually or aurally. That said, film has the advantage of time-manipulation; a director can control exactly how long you see and hear things. You can't do that with comics.

Sure, comics employ some parlor tricks: filling pages with dialogue or stacking multiple drawings that depict an action in order to slow down the reading experience. But at the end of the day, a reader gets through a comic as fast as he or she wants. The author does not control time.

By animating comics, the author can cheat a little. I can manipulate small moments of time within a panel. I think this has tremendous potential. I apologize that all I've used it for so far is to make jokes about butts and handing bricks of hash to minors.

The point is that someone with more noble tastes than me could do something really great with this. Please, noble people of the interweb, I adjure you: make great things with moving comics!

The Tricks:

I use Flash (CS3) to make the comic. I'm most familiar with this program when it comes to animating digitally, so the drawing process is pretty intuitive. When planning out individual panels, I try to make sure that things loop in increments of 24 frames, so that if I end up with panels of different loop lengths, they don't hiccup (so to speak) when the loop comes full circle.

I've tried a number of methods for actual GIF file-creation. Flash's compression engine is sort of crummy, so I tried a handful of export options in After Effects (also CS3). After Effects GIFs had similar compression issues in my experience.

Then, my good friend, Eric Armstrong, showed me the light. Here's the deal:

1. Export Quicktime (.mov) from After Effects at full quality.
2. In Photoshop, File>Import>Video to Layers. Your animation will show up in a stack of layers.
3.Cmd+Option+Shift+S's a heck of a hotkey, please stretch before attempting.
4. Preview your .GIF, mess with the options, get it to where you like it.
5. Export!

Blogger has weird issues hosting gifs sometimes, so I have been using Photobucket to host the files, and then embedding image links in blog posts. I have noticed other gifs elsewhere on blogger that seem to work just fine--what are you folks doing to get yours to work?

Like I said, there are probably less convoluted ways of making GIFs, but this is what's been working for me. Let me know if you have any luck with this process, or if you have a method of your own that you use to make GIFs. I understand there are ways to make GIFs exclusively within Photoshop as well. Anyone with experience doing so, please chime in!

My thanks to you if you read this far. With any luck, I'll keep experimenting with these in the future. See you soon!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Doodle Book: Post 5

I think I broke Blogger by putting too many images in a post, so I'm splitting up the last giant Doodlebook post into a couple of smaller posts.

Next time I won't wait a whole month in between posts!

14 July

15 July and 16 July

16 July

17 July and 18 July

19 July and 20 July

21 July and 22 July

23 July and 24 July


Today's winner is:

(click to solve the mystery!)
Dear winner, please contact me with precise GPS coordinates so I can send you a doodle in the mail!

An ADDITIONAL free doodle to the first commenter to recognize the character above.

To Enter The Upcoming Raffle
for a free doodle-in-the-mail,
please leave a comment on Doodlebook post 3, 4, or 5!

Since it's been a whole month in between posts,
this time I will be selecting TWO WINNERS at random.

Good luck!

Let me know what your favorite doodles have been so far. See you in less than a month!

Doodlebook: Post 4

02 July
This doodle went to last time's raffle winner.
It looks a little different 'cause it's on bristol board. (I couldn't just rip a page out of the book!)

03 July and 04 July

05 July and 06 July

7 July

08 July

09 July

10 July

11 July

12 July and 13 July


Doodlebook: Post 3

22 June and 23 June

24 June

25 June

26 June

27 June and 28 June

29 June and 30 June

1 July

1 July


Monday, July 25, 2011

Watercolor wash

In other news, it was my wife's birthday not so long ago. I drawled up an ink doodle and put a watercolor wash over it. Kinda made me wanna go back over some favorites in the book with a little know, when I have time.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Feeling a Little Patriotic

The Comic-Con Season always brings a tear to my eye when I see that red white and blue.

Sometimes I find myself drawing characters I know nothing about. Thanks to this fellow, for the inspiration.

PS, I've got more Doodlebook drawings to post and the winner of last time's raffle to announce...I'll get to that this weekend, I promise!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Brief Lesson in Nutrition:


This is my first foray into the world of animated gif comics. It was super fun to make--sorry it's been so long; things just picked up at work, so I haven't had as much free time for fun stuff.

But I have been keeping up with the daily Doodlebook drawings, and I hope to get a post up soon. Meanwhile, if you haven't entered your self into the raffle for a free doodle, go HERE and leave a comment!

Hope everyone's good. If you live in Southern California and you need an excuse to avoid the 405 this weekend, leave me a message and let's go ride bikes somewhere fun.
The Illustrious and Illustrative Sketch Adventure Lifestyle of Anthony Holden. Cartoons, Sketches, Character Designs, Storyboards, Comics, Illustration, Animation, Silly thoughts, Intermittent Posting, and Arbitrary Capitalization by American animation artist, Anthony Holden. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look!
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