Mini Project 2 – Part 2: Flash Animation

For another flash project I decided to focus on actual imagery this time as opposed to ‘drawn’ imagery. The reason for this was because it has always been a type of animation that I have been interested in and is reminiscent of Terry Gilliam’s cutout animations in Monty Python’s Flying Circus and more recently relates to work by digital media designers such as Cyriak (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF34N4gJAKE). I also felt that it was more relevant to my style than other forms of animation (I like to doodle but generally don’t spend a lot of time drawing).

This idea formulated out of the thought experiment that if there were an infinite amount of monkeys with an infinite amount of typewriters one would eventually type out the complete works of Shakespeare. The animation was quite simple to make and what I had to do was find an image of a man on a typewriter and a chimpanzee. I needed to find two images that would fit on each other because if there was an image of a monkey with its head facing forward it would not have fit on an image of a man on a typewriter facing to the left. I have had previous experience in finding images that work together in this way so I had quite a lot of experience in knowing what images would work together.

The animation was generally quite simple to make, I firstly had to create another arm from the mans first arm so that I could make the animation look like two arms were moving up and down where as because I was using a 2d photograph one of the arms was behind the other and therefore it would not be visible. I also had to cut up certain parts of the images in Photoshop such as separate the typewriter from the mans body because I wanted the layer that the right arm was in to be behind the mans body but in front of the typewriter, and having the typewriter and mans body in the same layer did not allow this to work.

These are the two original images I found.

1142121-chimpanzee

ToryRage

Firstly I created 4 different images and tested this out in a gif, but after looking at the gif I realised that first I would have to edit one of the arms because there were watches on both wrists and when the two images intersected they broke the illusion that one arm was behind the other. I fixed this by firstly covering the watch in Photoshop using the brush tool and the eyedropper tool to make the watch the same colour as the rest of the arm. I then made one of the arms slightly darker by decreasing the brightness which made the arm in the foreground stand out more.

This was my test gif to see if the animation was right, as you can see from the gif the arm didn’t look right as the shoulder moved up.

output_kKnE5A-1

I then imported the images into flash and started to resize each image so that it grew larger until it reached the full size of the screen. I then copied this so that the same images kept on appearing to mimic the infinite amount of monkeys on typewriters (although I obviously would never be able to replicate actual infinity). After a while I decided to change the direction that the monkeys were going in as I didn’t want the animation to carry on doing the same thing until the music had finished. This created problems in flash because it meant that because the layers were below each other instead of on top of one another the images weren’t behind one another anymore after the direction had been changed. I could have fixed this by putting the reversed images on the layers which had already been used, the problem with this however is that flash doesn’t allow no keyframes in between two keyframes on the same layer (timeline). I realise now that I could have fixed this issue by making the space in between two sections blank keyframes, though unfortunately I didn’t have much time to work on this project more and wasn’t able to fix the issue as it would have been time consuming.

I found that flash was really frustrating to work with especially when trying to get the animation to work in time with the audio because flash doesn’t permit you to stop and start music which is really unhelpful when trying to sync imagery to music, (as someone who usually spends a lot of time on my work to make sure it is a high standard I found this extremely annoying and gave up trying to sync the audio). I also found that trying to create the illusion of a 3rd dimension in Flash was quite irritating as each layer creates a new timeline as opposed to other programs such as Adobe After Effects where it is a lot easier to control the keyframes. I found that Flash would keep on generating it’s own keyframes on each layer to the end of the workspace, I didn’t want this to happen and had to keep on deleting the keyframes which was very time consuming. In retrospect I think that this project would have worked a lot better in a program such as After Effects.

This is the final video of the animation

http://lukemonetdesigns.com/flash/monkey.html

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