Tag: lesson

Personal Experimental Studies Class:Lesson 5, and 6:Photoshop Animation Tutorial

Finalizing your Frames and a Photoshop Animation Tutorial

1st Class: Krystof: Studio time working on your animated short. You should now begin to start photographing your frames in preperation for the finalization and post production process involving your work.

If you are using a small set for a photo based stop motion using real objects it will be important to figure out how you will use lighting to achieve the mood you are attempting. In the video below we can see a creative solution to light brick films (Stop motions made with legos) by using two adjustable desk lamps.

How you light a subject also will drastically change a characters image and can give a viewer a clear vision as to what mood is being portrayed.

If you are doing all of your sequences on paper then you will have the option of either scanning, or photographing them one by one. It is also important to keep the resolution of your pictures relatively low as they will be easier to manage in Photoshop later.

You should have all of your sequences finished and ready for animating for next class.


2nd Class: Final Class of studio time.You will now be shown how to use Photoshop’s animation toolbar to begin to animate the individual frames which you have created.

Photoshop Animation Tutorial

The reason why we use photoshop to animate our sequences is because it is a simple way to begin onion skinning your image. In the past onion skinning was commonly done on a light box, with the intent of being able to see a previous sequence could be seen and small adjustments could be made in order to achieve the illusion of movement. Now the reason why you will be onion skinning your sequences is because we want to eliminate any sort of bounce or shakiness that can happen from not correctly lining up your photos. In photoshop after you have imported all of your individual photos/scans onto layers, you can then see the previous layer quite simply by adjusting the opacity of the layer on top (or the selected layer). This is a necessary step because when you first play your animation you will see that there may be large jumps between frames. The easiest way to reconcile this is to pick a certain element (perhaps the eyes, or something else which would stay in the same position) and then onion skin each layer until one element is always in the same place.

Personal Experimental Studies. Lesson 3 and 4; Frame by Frame Animation


Frame by Frame Animations

frame by frame animation

1st Class: Krystof

Today we will be looking at various stop motion animated shorts using a variety of mediums, and begin storyboarding our projects. Now’s the time to start planning how your frame by frame animation will look and feel, and begin to document how you will be illustrating the emotion which you have been assigned.

If you are drawing, or using real object to make your stop motion you must begin to consider how your subjects will be lit. Prague College has lights available from their media center which can be checked out by students. These lights, and how to properly use them will be introduced.

If you are using a character in your piece then you must also look at different angles, and shots which can evoke certain feelings.

After looking at some examples of short animations will then finalize our storyboards in preperation for production next class with

stopmotion clay

2nd Class:

You will be required to bring your media to class you have been assigned. We will then be working with our mediums in class and I will help students individually. This is the production phase of the assignment and it is extremely important to be present during these classes as it is very easy to fall behind.

Personal Experimental Studies: Foundation : Storyboarding for Animation

1st Class: Introductions to the course. Expectations, and intro to mindmapping and sketching.

What’s a mindmap? A mindmap is a brainstorming technique which allows you to quickly generate words associated with a certain topic.

We will be doing mindmaps next class based upon your emotion, as well as the medium which you have been assigned.


Click on image to download Mindmap Template for a4 sized paper.

Storyboarding for Animation

2nd Class:

Today you will be  you will all be assigned the materials with which you will be working.

For this assigment you will be creating simple animations. Or loops which will combine the use of various media.

Each student will be assigned a traditional medium (Such as paint, ink, charcoal, clay, or photography). The student must then use the medium which they have been assigned in order to create a short sequential animation.

For example. If your medium which was assigned to you was Ink, and your emotion which was assigned to you was anger. Then you will have to make a short animation with ink which demonstrates anger.

Once all of the emotions and mediums have been assigned you will have the option to set up a blog for your research. If you would like help doing this then let me know and I will take you through the steps. If you have a Gmail account I would suggest just setting up a blogger account and using that as a place to compile your research.

Here’s a video of how to set up a blog in blogger.



After research on the medium has been finished we will begin to storyboard your plans for the animated shorts (Maximum of 10 seconds long). I will work individually with each student to help finalize these storyboards.

Storyboards are an important part of many different disciplines. Today’s lesson will involve an introduction to storyboarding, as well as give you time to work on your sequential animation assignment for Animation Techniques. Storyboarding Your Idea The first thing I want you to do before you begin drawing is to take time to evaluate your story and start to imagine which different shots you will be utilizing. Get a clear picture of what you want each shot is in your head before you start storyboarding it. Once you’ve got a mental shot list, you can start to draw each frame. Make sure that the frames of your storyboard match the size of the frame for the aspect ratio which you will be using in the production of your short sequential animation. Questions??? What’s an aspect ratio? An aspect ratio simply refers to the size of the frame which a film or video is created in. Think widescreen vs television.

What’s a shot list? A shot list is just a list of shots for a project. It would be a good idea to write down your shot list before storyboarding.  For this project you won’t need to create such an extensive shot list but it’s a good habit to start thinking about. Otherwise since you are working on such a short animation you can write your sound effects, music, camera angles, camera movement all on your storyboard.

As you plan your shot list, here are some questions to consider. What’s the setting? How many people are in the shot? Are there certain items which the characters need in the shot? Consider if you want it to be a close-up, wide-shot, establishing shot, or whatever type of shot you need. What’s the angle of the camera? Looking up? Wide? Low? Is stuff moving, if so, in what direction? What’s your lighting going to be like, and in which directions do you want your shadows to fall? Use the shot list as a guide. You don’t have to stick to it 100%, so as you storyboard don’t be afraid to tweak certain elements if you feel a change is justified. Choose a style of storyboard you wish to use. Here are some free examples which you can print out.
Storyboard 1 Storyboard 2
There’s a lot more to choose from. Just go to google and search for “storyboard templates” in images. Once you’ve got all of these preparations made you can then begin drawing. There’s no right way to draw a storyboard, in the end it should serve you, or others working on a project to understand how to shoot something. They can be very detailed, such as this one which made by Shane Acker for Tim Burton’s film “9”.

Or they could be very simple.

All in all the most important thing to remember is that storyboards are a tool which will be used by yourself in this project, however in the future you may have to be working with a group of people who need to take directions while you’re not around. This is where a good storyboard artist comes in handy, because he is essentially choosing many elements which could be very important to the overall feel of the film. Here’s a brief video tutorial from Sherm Cohen who is a storyboard artist at Disney if you’re still looking for inspiration and guidance.

Drawing Class Lesson 1

Today after a quick introduction to the course, we’ll get straight into the first assignment which is to create 3 views of a character which you will later animate in your Animation Techniques program. The first hurdle to overcome is to give our characters some 3 dimensional qualities.  Many times in the past these characters have come out looking quite flat and we want to avoid this. Therefore we will be trying a 3/4 view along with the frontal and side view.






Shapes often look flat when we use symbols, such as a symbol for a sun, or other early shapes which elementary school children use in the creation of their drawings. The first thing we need to understand is that drawings can have form, and more often than not, form is more important than anything else in the creation of a realistic looking 3d Object. Take a look at the eyes below, in the first drawing they appear very flat, whereas if we think of the eye balls as two large spheres we can begin to carve our forms out of the space.



So today we will be working with some very simple sketches of our characters, and attempting to add an element of 3 dimensional space to them. This is a required part of the assignment, so keep your drawings for later submission. In general it is very important to get a sketchbook or something where you can keep all of your drawings, because in the first half of the semester you will be creating many drawings which you will later have to compile into PDF files for submission.

This tutorial on how to draw Loomis Shapes can be helpful for review.


And here is a nice step by step about how Loomis suggest you make a head for a cartoon.



Welcome to Drawing Techniques and Processes.

During this year you will embark on 4 different assignments designed to make you better at drawing, as well as develop a better understanding of color and how it’s used.

So how does drawing relate to Interactive Media, and why is it important? Well, for starters, Drawing is involved in some way in every major program which you will be studying with perhaps the exception of sound. A better understanding of drawing will help you in virtually every area of study which you choose to pursue in Interactive Media.

If you have a tablet, and prefer to work digitally, then that’s fine. I have no problem with it. In fact, as you’ll notice throughout the year, all of your assignments can be completed in a variety of mediums and this class is much more open to experimentation than you may think.

While the technology and tools have changed over the years. The basic principles stay the same. That’s why I’m interested in what you want to create, and why you chose to study in the Fine Art;Experimental Media Program.

The important thing to note here is that while methods and processes of drawing have changed greatly over the years. That new programs, and brushes are simply just tools. If you are thinking that this class, or this program will merely teach you how to use certain programs (such as Flash, Aftereffects, 3dsMax, etc.) then you are sadly mistaken. Don’t get me wrong, you will learn all of these programs during your time here, but these are just tools. Tools which millions of other people know how to use, and which you can teach yourself how to use just by watching YouTube Tutorials. What I’m interested in in this class is how you plan on making your mark, and how that mark will be different from others. If you’re not sure about what you want to focus on then that’s fine too! This is a place for experimentation and discovery.

Drawing Class Lesson 3: Animating with Photoshop

Once you’ve finished your sequences I will begin to start showing you how to animate them in Photoshop. Now, you may be thinking, “Animating stuff in photoshop sucks!” and you’re kind of right. It can be a pain in the ass. There’s a lot of different ways to animate your hand drawn sequences and I don’t care if you use Adobe Premiere, Flash, or Imovie. But, and this is a big but, you’ve also have to be able to do some “Onion Skinning” which is a process where you can manipulate the opacity of each layer so certain elements stay in alignment.

So what’s onion skinning? According to Wikipedia “Onion skinning is a 2D computer graphics term for a technique used in creating animated cartoons and editing movies to see several frames at once. This way, the animator or editor can make decisions on how to create or change an image based on the previous image in the sequence.”

Back in the day this was done by drawing on semi transparent paper, or on a light box.

Now it’s done by taking down the opacity on layers which can be manipulated individually in Photoshop.

Take a look at this tutorial to see how to start using the animation window in Photoshop.

Now that you’ve got all of your frames imported into Photoshop I want you to manipulate each frame and start lining them up one by one. If you skip this step your animation will look bouncy and you won’t achieve a proper flow.

If you are still having trouble figuring out how to onion skin and animate in photoshop check out this great tutorial here.

The drawings can be scanned at school, however be aware that with 12 students, each of which will be scanning multiple drawings that this will take quite some time. If you’ve got access to a scanner then scan them at home.

Drawing Class Lesson 5; Squash and Stretch


Today we will be working on a quick series of keyframed drawing which will illustrate the principle of squash and stretch.

What’s a keyframe? A key frame in animation and filmmaking is a drawing that defines the starting and ending points of any smooth transition. The drawings are called “frames” because their position in time is measured in frames on a strip of film. A sequence of keyframes defines which movement the viewer will see, whereas the position of the keyframes on the film, video or animation defines the timing of the movement. Because only two or three keyframes over the span of a second do not create the illusion of movement, the remaining frames are filled with inbetweens.

Although this is most commonly known as “tweening” in Flash. Keyframing has been used in animation for over 40 years. This video, produced in 1971 looks at some of the early attempts at key framing for animation.

So. Since you are not going to be creating a full animation (although if you want to do a short animation you should). I want you to just draw 3 different key frames. This must involve changes in a character. So I don’t want to see 3 different positions of a ball. The keyframes should also demonstrate the animation principle of Squash and Stretch. One drawing will be of the ball (object) resting, when will be squashed, and one will be stretched.

Squash and Stretch was described in The Illusion of Life as being “by far the most important” discovery that the Disney animators made in their pursuit of excellence in animation. Only lifeless stiff objects remain inert while in motion. Any living object will tend to change shape, though retaining overall volume. One example is a flexed bicep, another is a human face – while talking or chewing it will tend to extend and compress. The principle is often used in conjunction with another principle of animation which is “slow in, slow out”

During the 1930s the Disney animators competed amongst themselves to exaggerate the squash and stretch in their drawings, making their poses ever more extreme. The important thing was to maintain the overall volume of an object so that it did not appear to change size as well as shape. To this end they devised the half-filled flour sack, showing that even if dropped on the floor or stretched out by its corners, its overall volume would never change.

The animators consulted the sports pages in the newspapers and found in the photography endless examples of the elasticity of the human body in motion. Using these poses as reference the animators were able to start “observing in a new way”.


The classic preparation for the training of Disney animators began with a bouncing ball. The ball would change shape, compressing (squash) as it hit the ground, then extending (stretch) as it bounced up again.

Here’s a video tutorial of how to squash and stretch a ball, and the dramatic difference it has on an animation.

And in these drawings we can see how squash and stretch is applied to a character.

Drawing Class Lesson 9: Color Theory

Introduction of Assignment 3:

What is the correct color wheel for painting? It has been hotly debated for over a century, and everyone seems to have an opinion about what the “real” primary colors are. In the following post I hope to educate you about some of the theories about just which primary colors are the best to be used for painting, and why. Of course I also offer some of my own personal opinion based upon my own studies of color as well as my experience as someone who loves painting in oils.

The first problem we run into when looking at the various color wheels which can be used for painting involves something called Tertiary Colors. Tertiary colors are created when one mixes a primary color (Red, Yellow, Blue) with one secondary color (orange, violet, green). Generally these are the colors located next to them on the color wheel.

They often have specific names which can get quite exotic such as Sea Green, or Azure. This is because often designers want to come up with a cool name for a color so they can market it better. For various reasons painters have been taught and told to use the RYB color wheel. A few reasons include the fact that artist materials which are available now used to have toxic compounds in them. Now with the advent of dyes it is easier to synthesize a color such as cyan. The one thing to remember however when using these colors is that dyes will fade with age, while real pigments (such as cadmium) have already stood the test of time for centuries.

First we will be focusing on the Red/Yellow/Blue color wheel which is most often used by painters. In the color wheel above the Tertiary Colors shown are Yellow Green, Blue Green, Yellow Orange, Red Orange, Red Violet, Blue Violet, and Blue Green. This was widely believed to be standard colors to use for quite some time, and is still often used in Art Education up to this day.

An RYB color chart from George Field’s 1841 Chromatography; or, A treatise on colours and pigments: and of their powers in painting
Back in the 18th century the theories surrounding color theory were cemented in the idea that the RYB (Red/Yellow/Blue) was the way to go. These theories have since changed over the years, however the RYB color model is still often used in teaching painting, and color theory up to this day.

These theories were enhanced by 18th-century investigations of a variety of purely psychological color effects, in particular the contrast between “complementary” or opposing hues that are produced by color afterimages and in the contrasting shadows in colored light.

During the 18th century the theory of the RYB model was furthered by two great thinkers. They were Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Michel Eugene Chevreul. They were both transfixed by what is called the Psychological effects of color, and obsessed with how our eyes perceive color. One of the main things they observed was how complementary colors (that means they are opposite each other on the color wheel) created afterimages in our brains when they were “burned” into our eyes. They were also interested in why shadows in colored light would create contrasting shadows. You can download Goethe’s The Theory of Colors here as I’ve uploaded it to this site. It is in the creative commons so there it has no copyright and is in the Public Domain.

After Goethe and his treatise on color, scientists moved away from the RYB color wheel and shifted towards a color wheel which most everyone sees every day. This is the Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) model which still dominates a lot of media to this day (Hint: It’s how your TV works). To understand how this color wheel operates we need to go back to the previous lesson, and further examine how different lights makes different colors as opposed to how pigments (or physical mixtures of color) differ.

In the previous lessons we have talked about Additive and Subtractive colors. Forgive me if I wasn’t clear enough before, but these lessons are meant to be sequential, and therefore sometimes I will withhold information so you can absorb it at different rates.

To put it simply, Additive Color is created by adding color. How do we add color? Well, by using light. That’s why if you get up close to a TV set you will see tiny little bars of Red, Green, and Blue. Learning about additive color is particularly important for those who use a computer to create their imagery, as they are dealing with a medium that is essentially based upon the glow of a computer screen. Now, what happens when that person decides he wants to print out the image on his screen? The answer is that he will need to deal with another color wheel when the image is printed from a computer screen onto a piece of paper! This is because a piece of paper doesn’t glow, it’s reflecting light from a light bulb or the sun. As we discussed previously, an object doesn’t hold a certain color because it reflects it, it is a certain color because it absorbs all the other colors in the spectrum. Hence the term, subtractive color.

So we, as painters, aren’t painting with light, we’re painting with paint. Hence, we need to use a color wheel which is specific to our needs. Let’s take a look at the two different types of color wheels. Check out the first one below. This is a classical color wheel which utilizes Red, Yellow, and Blue as the primaries.

There’s some nice oranges and violets in there right? Oh? What’s that, you want them to be brighter and more vibrant? Well, then you can use the Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow color wheel below. CMYK is the color wheel which is utilized in printing, and has generally been regarded as the “true” set of primaries.

But there’s a few problems with this color wheel. Mainly, it doesn’t exist in nature (as in, natural pigments) as readily available as the colors which have been used for thousands of years. However if you want to oil paint with Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow then you can. But if you believe that oil paints will mix similarly to a printing machine then you’re fooling yourself. As you have probably already learned, different colors and different pigments have different strengths and weaknesses.

By this I mean every color has different properties. In the printing process CMYK(K stands for black) are often used in transparent glazes. For instance, in order to make red in in CMYK printing you first print a tiny little magenta dot, and then on top of that dot is a yellow which is semi transparent. That’s how you make red. Now with oil paint let’s say that you want to paint a giant red object. If you were painting by utilizing the CMYK printing model you’d have to first paint an entire layer magenta, wait three days, and then on top of that you would glaze a bit of yellow on top of it to get your red. So yes, it is possible to paint with CMYK, but the simple answer is that it would simply take FOREVER to finish a painting, because we’re not machines, and paint takes a long time to dry.

So what do we do as painters? Which color wheel should we use? I would suggest that you (that’s right, you) find a palette that you enjoy working with. Limit it to no more than 10 colors, and get used to it. It takes a long time to learn how to properly mix and see color so find a palette that you feel comfortable manipulating. I know for me I like to use Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Pthalo Blue, Pthalo Green, Alizarin Crimson, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Blue, Raw Umber, Permanent Violet Medium, and Titanium White. And that’s what I’ve used for numerous painting tutorials that I’ve done. It’s a hybrid of both CMYK as well as the Old RYB models. With RYB it can be difficult to make a nice brilliant violet as well as green. So what do you do? You buy them And if you want to try to paint with Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow then you can. These colors are generally referred to as Process Blue, Process Red, and Process Yellow. They’re dyes so they won’t last as long (meaning they’ll fade faster) as the classical pigments but they could be interesting to experiment with. For me? I’ll stick to Cadmiums, Ultramarine, Titanium, and Cobalt. There’s a reason why they’ve been around for thousands of years.

Drawing Class Lesson 10: Natural History Museum

Today we will be visiting the Natural History Museum to draw. Bring your student IDs (as this will give you a discount. I believe admission is 80Kc) . Also bring your sketchbook and drawing materials. We will be spending the entire class drawing different animals.

Your exercise for this class is to pick two different animals and combine them in one drawing. This is called a Chimera. Take a look at the video below to see how this can be done.

Chimera’s have been around for a long time, and we can find them in many different cultures around the world. Here’s a bronze statue of a chimera from China.

They also still pop up in popular culture all the time. Such as this concept art sketch from Clash of the Titans.

But above all else. Don’t forget the basics of form, gesture, and planar surfaces when drawing animals.

Drawing Class Lesson 11: Self Directed Project

Click To Download Assignment Brief

Today you will begin preliminary research about what artists will influence you, and the materials you will need to begin your final Self Directed Project. You will be given the entire semester, and 13 total class times devoted just to working on the project of your choice.

This means that you are allowed to create your own assignment, and your own schedule to create a project which will help you in your future goals. In the past I’ve had students make comic books, sculptures out of plastaline, character design, traditional painting in oils, digital painting, ZBrush, Flash, Stop Motion Animations, Paper cut out animations, studying anatomy, Toon Boom Studio, Blender, etc. Basically if you think it involves drawing somehow, then we will discuss your project ideas and I will say whether or not they are acceptable. However as you can see I’m very open. The most important thing is to set goals which we can work together on. At the end of your project you will be giving a presentation of your work, as well as research into both technique, as well as process which should be documented in your sketchbook.

For this assignment you must submit the following. Research on an artist in your field of interest. This can be done digitally and submitted on a pdf, or you can print out images of the work, and paste them into your sketchbook. There must be no less than 15 pages of research.

Your sketches and preliminary stages must be shown. This will vary depending on the medium you choose.  There must be at least 15 sketches showing the progression of your projects. If working with digital media it will be important to document the step by step process of the creation of your work.

The final work.

Your Calendar and Statement of Intent


Your statement of intent should cover logistical concerns. Materials needed, programs needed, etc.

Writing a statement of intent may seem like a task which has little to do with your work, when in reality, it actually has everything to do with your work. It is important to overcome technical limitations of your work, however, it is also important to learn how to synthesize your ideas and make sure they also relate to the work which you are creating. Some things you can start to think about include. Your intended work should have a concept and thought process behind it and answering the questions below will help you define what your FMP will be…

  • What are your major interests and why?
  • What do you want to communicate, and what other artists/designers have been successful in communicating the ideas which you are interested in to an audience/viewer?
  • What is the subject and/or content of your work? In other words, what is it about?
  • What kinds of things inform your work? This can include other pieces, politics or society, and your own experiences.
  • What materials do you use and why?
  • What is your process and how does it affect the way you work?
  • How do you want your audience to view your work? Do you want them to react in a certain way?


It is important to differentiate between writing an Artist Statement, and writing a statement of intent. As they are two different things. However, by looking at sample artist statements we can begin to examine the thought process required for formulating a statement of intent. With an artist statement the work has already completed, and the artist is attempting to sum up in words, what was the intent of the work to communicate it to the audience. You will be formulating a statement of what you intend to create and the ideas which you wish to explore.


Your statement of Intent MUST Include the following:

1. What are your creative intentions.

2. What materials are you going to use? Why does this medium lend itself to the concept you are trying to explore?

3. What techniques are you going to use? How does technique effect how the piece will be read by a viewer?

4. What processes will be implemented and why?

5. What methods are you going to use to record your review progress and outcomes? This means that you must have a schedule you are following in which there are deadlines which must be met.


Here’s some inspiration for possible avenues to pursue.

Paper Cut Illustrations

Working in Blender/3dsMax/Maya or any other 3d program.

The Spine by Chris Landreth, National Film Board of Canada


Traditional Painting

Character Design


Sculptures with projection mapping


How to Capture a Likeness in a Portrait

In order to achieve a high degree of likeness in a drawing one must pay attention to what is called the facial triangle. The facial triangle is a term which refers to the brow, cheek bones and the nose. One may notice that this doesn’t necessarily make the perfect triangle due to the shape of the head so it’s better to think of the shape as the image which can be seen below.

Look at the features of the face and see how they are unique. In the image above the features are pretty generic on this woman. Practice drawing and looking at the minute differences that occur in every facial triangle. While the mouth and jawline are also important factors to consider in completing the drawing, the best tactic is to focus first on nailing the facial triangle and then letting the rest fall into place.

So. How does one construct the rest of the face after the facial triangle has been completed? Well the next most important feature is going to be the overall shape of the head. And these head shapes can be comprised into a multitude of categories. Take a look at the gallery below to get a feeling for all of the different shapes that the head can take on.

There are different ways to tackle a portrait with pen and ink, or pencil. The two most popular methods are to either first go for the overall shape of the head, and then fit the facial triangle inside of that shape. Or to first work on the features present, and then add the larger facial shape around them. Neither way is “correct” and it will be up to you to decide which method works best for you.

Caricatures can be a great place to look at the multitude of different features on a face since they are all exaggerated in these drawings and therefore easier to see. When drawing an accurate portrait one will actually use a method similar to those used by caricature artists. And that means that in addition to looking at the facial triangle, and facial shape, that small exaggerations should be made to prominent features in order to make it quite clear “who” a drawing of a person is.