20 Years 20 Videos - Chapter #1 | Episode #1 - Drawn to Animate

I have always loved to draw.

data-title="Listen to Drawn to Animate Episode #1"
data-author="Bryan Schaeffer"


Bringing a vision out of a blank sheet of paper feels magical. 

To make that still image come to life is even more satisfying.



In this series I traveled around Montana shooting video footage and stills, and posted my favorite shot each week on Instagram @bryanschaeffer

I used my favorite photo compositions as a reference to draw from.  Drawing the scene takes me back to what it felt like to be in that place.

I like to draw on fairly thick paper with a little bit of texture, has a good feel with the soft 12B pencil I start with gestural drawing to get the basic shapes and composition on the page.

That is followed with a .07 mechanical pencil for the fine line work.

When the sketch looks like there are enough solid lines to follow I start with pen work.

The smaller micron pens 05 or 08 give work well following the mechanical pencil finishing with a wider almost brush pen 01.  This gives a thicker line edge that feels more like a wood cut and scans well for digital.

The sketch is then scanned at 300ppi then converted to vector art in Illustrator.



The vector art can be colored in Adobe Illustrator like this, or can be composited and filled in Photoshop for more detailed brush work coloring etc. Limiting the color pallet to a dozen colors or less gives a bolder more graphic look. These color swatches can be used in later compositions in the same series for consistency.

The composition is broken out into layers to create a 2.5d Parallax effect in After Effects. Think of building a virtual diorama of flat cut out layers in a 3d box

Subtle movement can be created by use of the puppet tool.  More sophisticated animation with joint articulation or frame by frame traditional animation is more time consuming involving character rigging or multiple pieces of iterative artwork.

The variations of line, fill and color are endless. 


Click to see examples of how we use drawn animation.



 Deeds rocking the edge of Big Sky Resort, Madison Range in the background Deeds rocking the edge of Big Sky Resort, Madison Range in the background