Sunday, 10 January 2010


Firstly, Happy New Year! =0)
New years are great as it feels like we can go forward with new optimism and enthusiasm. Speaking of which, it's been a little while since I posted here but it doesn't mean I haven't been working on this project. I don't want to post absolutely everything I do or there will be nothing new to see when it's completed.

Well, I had this very short shot to complete that consisted of a door swinging open to reveal the robot just as lightning flashed which scares Granny for a moment as she looks on. I chose a fairly dramatic upward view (almost from Granny's point of view) to make the robot appear even more foreboding. The first step was to create the background, without the door, at the required angle. This was roughed out in Artrage then completed in DrawPlus.

Next I posed my robot character in Anime Studio Pro and tilted the layer using the Rotate Layer XY tool and moved the camera until I had the correct view. It's a bit of a cheat but the shot is so short that I think it gives the impression I wanted. I exported the image as a large .png to preserve transparency.

Next I imported the .png into ArtRage and traced the character on a new layer in black to create a silhouette.

The door was animated in Anime Studio Pro once the background and character had been placed on layers. At this point I needed to create the lightning flash. I could have just done a few frames of white or even over exposed a few frames in my editing software. However, when I was younger I used to study animated films on a Super 8 editor I had which was useful as the film could be wound through the gate by hand a frame at a time. I learned a lot about animation in those days. It was almost impossible to do that with the advent of VHS but luckily it's again possible with DVD or BluRay. I remembered that I was fascinated all those years ago by a shot from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. It's right at the end where the Prince is fighting Maleficient and as she transforms into a huge dragon there is a dramatic flash of lightning. It's not just a flash of a few white frames though. Shown below is what I noted at the time. The frames are listed on the left and then you can see that the character is lit separately to the background over 16 frames!

I created a series of white and yellow silhouettes of the character in ArtRage and a set of layers with coloured backgrounds in Anime Studio. I placed these in Switch Layers so it was easy to alternate them during the animation.

Here is the finished shot. I rotated the camera (canted view) in order to disorient the viewer further. The additiuon of a thunder sound effect and the illusion is complete. Created by me....with a little help from Disney =0)

All text and pictures (c) 2009 Dale Hemenway

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