Posted 19th Jul 2017 by Steve Gregson
We recently worked on a stylised animation project in collaboration with artist Daniel Brereton and chillwave/synth-pop musician, Washed Out.
Daniel was asked to put together a piece of animation for Washed Out’s new visual album; Mister Mellow, but with a quick turn around necessary he needed additional hands on the project to make sure it could be ready in time.
That’s where we came in!
Daniel wanted to make sure that his style came through in the animation. He provided us with some initial rough sketches, and it was important to him that his style remained fully intact.
To make sure the Dan’s style shone through, we asked him to create a full storyboard for us. Once this was ready we got to work on some rough animation tests.
These initial tests were sent through to Washed Out to make sure that Dan’s idea and our animation were going to fit with their overall aesthetic.
An early look at our initial attempts to replicate Dan’s look.
Once we had the approval from Washed Out we worked with Dan to perfect the style. To do this we had Daniel create a set of key frames so that we could match the style accurately.
We started out initial animation by fully creating the frames of animation in a very simplistic style using Adobe Animate.
We had been given the audio we’d be timing our animation up with, so we needed to make sure we got the timing right. This was just to get the motion created, without using the actual style of the final piece. This animation was created at 8 frames per second, which is lower than we’d normally go for animation, but Daniel felt that this would complement the rough style of his artwork, adding to the hands on aesthetic. We’d normally make hand drawn animation at 24 frames per second, so this meant that we could effectively cut the work load down by 2/3, which was a key factor in making sure we got this project ready on time.
Once we had this motion guide, we exported it as a series of still images. This set of images was divided between Dan and Morph, and we started to trace each frame with the final animation style using Photoshop.
We used a set of Photoshop brushes that gave a very hand drawn, pencil look. Dan wanted to make sure that it’d be almost impossible to tell that this animation had been created digitally, so it was important to us to make sure that the Photoshop brushes used looked messy and uneven.
Together, we got the full animation re-drawn in photoshop. We now had over 500 drawings and had to piece them back together in Adobe After Effects. Once imported, we placed the frames in order and added the audio track we’d been provided with.
This was then sent on to Washed Out for approval.
This was a fun experience, and our involvement actually came partially because it felt like it’d be a cool project to work on!
The final animation can be viewed alongside the rest of the animation projects involved, here: http://washedout.net as part of the Mister Mellow visual album.
More of Daniel’s work can be found here: http://www.danielbrereton.com