For the past two months I’ve been working primarily on an animation for the Quarmby Lab. It’s finally finished and ready to share.

As expected I learned a great deal working on this project. I used Flash for the animation and After Effects for the editing, motion tracking and compositing. I used to think Flash was decent for animation, but I now realize it’s bad at everything it does. The vector line optimization on the brush tool can give a great feel for static drawings, but when tracing over lines for classic animation, it makes a smooth transition impossible. For any further animation projects I’ll hopefully be able to get a copy of Toon Boom’s Animate Pro.

After Effects on the other hand was quite a pleasure to work with. Scenes with many characters would get fairly bogged down if I didn’t hide the characters I wasn’t working with, even after doubling my RAM, but otherwise it ran well enough. The few videos I’ve edited have always been fun to do, and this was no exception. I even managed to make a trick edit which changes the actual space and defies physics. See if you can spot it!

Directing a shoot without having ever even stepped foot on location was interesting, too. I got all the shots I wanted, but there were some subtleties I would have had more control over had I been there in person.

The motion tracking worked out well except when the markers were obscured, naturally. In those cases I basically animated it frame by frame.

All the characters were drawn from reference photos, meaning this was great practice in creating cartoon representations of people.

Now I’m inclined more than ever to work on a Nihilist Dominos animated spinoff. I’d probably make the locations in 3D with painterly textures, and insert the flat characters into the space.

You can read about the process involved here.