The right artist for my project LUNAS AWAKENING, a spiritual animated soap opera, was quickly found. At some point, the first sketches arrived with suggestions of what Luna’s face might look like. A bit like the daughter of a South American shaman, I thought.
Then, the dress was added, inspired by a photo I found on the internet. In the end, my first leading actor was colored in and drawn by the artist Rowyn in two different poses, once from the front and again at a 45 degree angle from the side. With 2D animations, we need a new character for every perspective.
And then the problems started…
Before Luna could take a single step in the two-dimensional, pastel-pink-purple world of my planned animation series, she needed bones and joints.
This process is called rigging in animation terminology. And because it is not exactly easy for beginners to get a reasonably acceptable and clean result, I originally wanted to hand this work over to a specialist.
That was at the very beginning, when I had planned a crowdfunding campaign worth around 2,000 EUR for my series, in order to be able to cover at least the costs for the professional development of the first three characters as a creative basic component. I didn’t want to get paid for my own work; it was far too much of a heartfelt project for that.
But when it turned out that the rigging guy wasn’t as trustworthy as I wanted to believe at first, I used the experience as an opportunity to rethink. So, that’s how I learned how to do the rigging myself. Not only did that save money, but I also learned a very important foundation in the art of animation.
There were enough video tutorials on the subject, but I still spent many hours and days trying things out and making mistakes to master the basics and help Luna take her first animated steps.
A big hurdle was Luna’s dress. Of course, I hadn’t thought before how difficult it could be if my first animated character wasn’t wearing pants, but a long dress. Then, where are the legs, what actually moves when Luna takes her steps in a long dress?
It wasn’t exactly beginner level… I was about to give up!
The dress quickly became a trouser suit. It only looked like a dress when the legs were close enough together. This solution worked, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted to show in the character of Luna. She is more of a rebel, and she wears her dress because she does not want to join the prevailing masculine dress code.
Then an idea occurred to me: What if I attach the same clothing material to her belt as an additional accessory behind her trouser suit? This hid the space that appeared as soon as Luna took her first step.
When I animated this additional clothing material a little bit with each intermediate frame, it actually created the illusion as if Luna was moving in a long, flowing dress.
The fabric could even swing back and forth slightly when she took her steps on the 2D theater floor. Brilliant! I liked the effect. Not perfect, but good enough.
It continued with animating Luna’s face …
(To be continued!)
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