Above is my final short animation of the anteater walk. I am really pleased with the outcome as I was able to convey a short narrative with the character in just ten seconds. He walks and then sees the ant on the grass – I paced it slowly so he is considering the ant’s existence before eating it! I love the look of the piece, as I experimented with the colour and brush strokes I think this works well. The walk cycle I think captures the strong stride of this creature – If I was to do this exercise again I would try to really push the walk cycle further so it wasn’t so normal, play about with the walk cycle and personality. I could later on if I have time. I have never animated an animal before, I felt a walk cycle could be a way to experiment and learn how to approach another creature of than a human. I learned a lot from this exercise. If I have more time I want to add more to the foreground such a foliage and insects to bring more life to the environment.
I created this animation in Photoshop. A software that I am familiar with – but I want to develop my animation skills. The animation and background was created in Photoshop but comped together in Adobe After Effects to move the background along with the character.
Here is a GIF I made with the finished look of the scene. The environment is inspired by South America (Brazil) and the lush green hills. I used a brush that had these strands, creating texture throughout the environment. I also have movement with the colour of the Anteater. I looked to my inspiration (Puffin rock, below) – and chose a colourful background. I am so happy with the look since it is bold and embraces the animation!
I wanted to make a walk cycle with the anteater. For two reasons, to try and add personality to the walk and to do a walk cycle with an animal (of four legs). It was a little challenging to begin with because there was so many legs to keep track of. However I soon understood the ways that the anteater walks. I looked at reference online and my own of the anteater. I wanted to capture the powerful stride that the anteater makes. I began with a rough outline and then cleaned it up and worked on the pacing.
Above is the collection of anteaters that I have created to experiment with the shape of the anteater. I wanted to push the look of the anteater. It was fun to generate so many different looking versions of the anteater – I didn’t feel the same restraints as with a human character. I could play around without the pressure!
These two anteaters were my favourite of the bunch – they have powerful shapes and I feel I have captured a sense of character well. The top anteater, has a large powerful shape – he would move slower to accommodate his size, he would be be graceful and a easy going character. The second character on the other hand looks more athletic and has a narrow shape, more streamlined. She could be more cheeky and move faster. They both look like peaceful creatures too! I used a palette tool to create the fur like brush strokes. I really am happy with the outcome – and this concept art.
The expression sheet was very fun to make as it let me explore the attitude of my anteater- and see how I could create expressions with such limited features. The tongue also made an appearance as an extra feature to show sadness of anger or just to show attitude. I really like how simple the face is yet it can share so much emotion. I hope to give the character such expression in my animation.
These were the first test I made in Photoshop, to see what the look of the character could be. I initially thought of making the character very sketchy like – rough brush strokes with a scratchy effect. However I later felt this didn’t work. The three pictures of the anteaters show an exploration into the final shapes I want to pick.
I created some observational sketched of an anteater on lined paper when playing around with the idea in summer. The anteater somehow developed from these sketches. Over summer I pushed these sketches further – I wanted to explore the character design of an animal. I did this through a fun technique I use, where you begin creating shapes and then add the character into the shape to play about with proportion and size. It’s a really useful exercise for pushing the drawing. I generated a variety of anteater’s that seemed to have different personalities and characteristics. I could make a series of these. I picked my favourite to develop further.
Cartoon Saloon is an animation studio in Ireland – I love the style that they create – and would love to potential work for them in the future. They created a children’s show on Netflix recently called Puffin Rock; about a family on puffins, exploring nature. The look of the show is stunning. I wanted to create a piece that was inspired by the show and company – I have wanted to make an animation about an anteater for some time and though this may be the perfect opportunity!