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How I Animate My Comics

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Ok so I’ve received some questions on my videos like 

► How do you animate these?

► How long does your animation take?

► Do you do them yourself?

And I thought I’d make a video to answer these questions because why not

Well yeah I animate everything myself and it usually takes anywhere between days to weeks depending on the length of the video. 

Exhausting sometimes? Yeah but I absolutely love it.

What Equipment Do I Use?

So on to the “How”, I usually do my thang on 2 types of workspaces. My wacom intuos and my desktop, and my iPad with the Apple Pencil. Personal preference? I’d go with the Apple Pencil and iPad because I don’t have to pull my precious silky hair out when I’m just trying to draw lines! The ipad has a much smoother feel and call me biased (just because I’m an Apple fanboy and all my stuff is Apple) but I still prefer ‘drawing on a surface’ than looking at my screen while my hand has a mind of its own.

So, after I’m done with my comics I usually hand pick a few that I turn them into animated videos. Because hmm, some people might not get my humour or jokes and while most of my audience has been so kind, I really love bringing these comics to life through my videos where I can inject more of my personality in them. 

For a start, I prefer using Procreate when I’m on the iPad doodling my comics and Adobe Animate as my primary animation software. Like I explained in my previous video on How I animate, my typical workflow begins from storyboarding, to voice recording, to drawing and illustrating, then heavy lifting (I mean, animating) and finally audio mixing and posting.

The Storyboarding

Storyboarding is one of the best parts of the process because like baking cookies, you’re experimenting with different ingredients. Sometimes they taste good, other times… errrr yuck.

Anyway, after my script is done I start working on the comicmation. From Four Panels I expand the story with additional scenes based on my script, and once I have the rough drafts in place I then go on to recording my voiceover. 

Voiceover Recording

VO sessions are fun, because while recording I’d have to imagine myself in those comics, delivering those lines that are meant to tickle your funny bone. Often, I replay the recordings to check if they sound great or a little too cringey. Either way, recording sessions range from an hour to several hours just to get it right.

Illustrating

Once I have my board and my VO done, it’s time to illustrate! When I’m on the move I settle for doing everything on my iPad but if I have more time or whenever I’m on my desktop, I use Adobe Illustrate to erm.. Illustrate my stuff.

Illustration isn’t exactly the most enjoyable part of the whole video making process but it does let me hone my skills and improve on my coloring and techniques. I guess every artist has their own style and preferred software for coloring so here I am and here’s how I do it. Do It? DUIT?

Animating

Once all the necessary graphics are done, I then move on to the heavy lifting part! Annoymation. Oops I’m sorry, animation but yeah, sometimes the most annoying part of the content creation is the animation. I primarily use Adobe Animate, or Flash (before they killed him off), because my comic style fits perfectly with 2D animation. I tried other softwares like After Effects or Toon Boom but I can’t say I enjoy them as much as I do on AA. 

My basic settings on Animate are probably similar to most animators out there. I animate at 24 frames per second (FPS), 1920×1080 HD (in fact this canvas size doesn’t matter that much because you can  upscale it later on) and well my tool and UI are the default software settings. I have a library of assets just in case I need to re-use some of the scenes and character poses, and I import new graphics from Illustrator to animate during the course of my animation work. My lazy ass isn’t bothered with naming my files properly, so I have tons of “Symbols123” because who has so much time to label them properly? 

It’s important to note that I don’t do things in one go. That’s cray-Z. I split my video into several segments, for example: Intro / Segment 1, 2 ,3 and Closing Time. Depending on each segment I take a day or two to finish say 2 segments, and another 2 days to finish another 2. This helps with the consistency in quality and prevents burning out with long animation hours. PROTIP GUYS: PLEASE drink a lot of water while you’re animating, especially if you’re seated. I mean it’s all cool if you do your animation standing up, in fact… do share some tips on how that is possible, Dju know what I mean?

And after the animation is finalized and I’m happy with it, I then export my draft from animate with Media Encoder and prepare for the next phase, the Audio Mixing.

Audio Mixing

So I go on a hunt for suitable music (There’s plenty of options in the YT Audio Library) and I usually spend a couple of hours here looking for the proper BGM for my video. Once I’ve selected and downloaded my files, I fire up my After Effects for my mixing and any additional animations or effects needed. 

Working on the BGM is probably what I enjoy the most out of the video creation process. While I’m mixing and adjusting audio throughout the video I find myself laughing at the silly parts (I know, that’s lame) which makes me feel better after those long hours. I sometimes use up to 3 audio tracks for one video so I take my time in mixing and fixing them properly. Once that is done I then export my video-

Allright I’m gonna stop right here for a moment to say:

ADOBE WHY DID YOU REMOVE THE option to render MP4 from After Effects? Just WHYY?

 -and replay it a few times to check if all is good.

Up to this point I’d still find a missing part of the video which requires me to go back all the way to step 1 for ideation as well as VO recording. You don’t have to do that, that’s probably just me and my peeves.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how I turn my slice of life comics into animated versions and learned a thing or two along the way. My goal is always to educate and entertain my audience, because everyone deserves a good laugh.

Stay tuned for more of these and stayyyyy awesome!

Anyone Can Draw!
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