Hand-Drawn Digital Animation

posted by Megan
August 1, 2014

Recently I took advantage of the opportunity to experiment with the (still relatively) new video layers in Adobe Photoshop.

Now, Photoshop has been used to create animation for a long time now, but the program wasn’t designed to be used for that purpose, so it could be rather limiting in a lot of ways. Over the past few years, though, Adobe has added a lot of functionality and video capabilities that makes animation much easier. Eager to try out these new features, I decided to try it out a simple animation based around one of my favorite subjects: girls with pretty hair!

To start with, I quickly drew a rough sketch of the composition I wanted. I decided I would focus on the swirls of hair and leave her face very simple and a bit cartoony.


I started drawing her body filling up with color, one frame as a time. I thought of it as fluid filling up the shape, which gave it a rather fun and energetic feel. (At least, I hope it does!)


Then I started animating her hair, which turned out to be a little bit more like a living creature, bubbling up from the behind her ear and rolling over her head. I loved getting to play around with the various shapes I could create in every frame.


However, I decided that the very cartoony face I sketched when planning the animation just didn’t fit the with the style of the hair, in the end. So I went back and changed her face shape a bit, and added in features that were still simple, but more illustrative rather than cartoony.


I started adding in layers on top of the animation I already had to create extra details and lots of little strands and curls of hair.


The last thing I did was give our Blue Pony logo a similar hand-drawn animation treatment on another layer. Then I exported all the animation from Photoshop and added a little texture and depth of field in After Effects, to give the impression it was being drawn on paper. This method of animation became very natural to work with by the time I was finishing up, even if it felt strange when I first started. Now I’m looking forward to the next opportunity I get to try something more complicated!


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MeganFeatured2Megan Wiegand
is a Designer at Blue Pony

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