Tuesday, 11 February 2020


I'm assuming how you've got to this blog post is through my social media, therefore you may have seen me post various animated skate clips of late. This is a post about those.

I used to skateboard in my teens and I still really like the culture and aesthetics surrounding skateboarding, despite not having ridden a board in around ten years. In 2011 I shot a skate video of one of my talented skater friends Fred Simmons and I still have the footage from that video.

I've been animating a lot of either animals or hands recently, so I was trying to look for something I could animate which would look great rotoscoped, but also something aside from what I have done lately. Digging deep on my computer I found the skate clips, which proved perfect for my animating needs.

My intentions for the animations were to create something which was looser and more flowing than my usual moderately fixed outline pieces. This was for a number of reasons:

• Force me out of my comfort zone by trying different styles
• Diversify my portfolio

The first piece (below) I tried a super loose style on the outline of the figure. As you can see, I used a brush tool at varying thickness, re-drawing over each line roughly, building up a layered messy effect. I also drew 'random' lines elsewhere on some of the frames, to exaggerate the inaccuracies of the drawing. To fill out the figure, I used what TV Paint calls the Chinese Brush, which has a lot of texture to it. I was purposely inaccurate about applying it: not being afraid to leave gaps or go outside the lines. The more of that, the better.

The background was a blurred out version of some analogue painted frames I did some time ago. I toyed with using a plain coloured, non moving background, though it didn't fit as well as this one did. This did take some trial and error, especially in terms of getting the colour 'right' or at least right for this particular video.

The second one was a direct development from the previous one. I loved the loose outline, though to make it differ, I used a thick marker-like brush, varying in weight. I also drew around the figure using one line, rather than the build up of lines in the previous piece. I liked the use of the shadow in the last one, so continued its usage into this one. I've never really used a shadow before, though I enjoyed the look it created, so I think it will be something I take into further work. It does make the whole piece take longer to produce, though I think the overall outcome makes it worth it.

I also like what I did regarding the bar he skates on: where it appears as he uses it and disappears when he doesn't. This is a technique I think would integrate well within other aspects of my rotoscope work, skate related or other.

After having completed two animations where the inspiration came fairly naturally/ instantly, the third one (below) took some time to develop and finish to a clip which I was happy with. I felt I had somewhat used up all of the 'good' styles and it became difficult to find a style which was equally as loose, without being *too* repetitive or similar to the other two. A hard task.

I left it a while after drawing the outlines and colouring the fill, to allow for more inspiration and thoughts to creep in. I eventually thought back to some previous animations I had carried out using paint and pulled upon the ideas from those:

I feel it's a fitting continuation, as in no way was I ready to 'park' those ideas or techniques. The red painted squares made for a really textured and bright background, a simple and effective technique in my opinion. It contrasts well with the black and the greys of the skater, whilst satisfying my visual style and processes.

So, did I fulfil my two aims as stated earlier in this post? In regard to forcing me out of my comfort zone and usual styles, all three of these pieces did. They don't have the clean look a lot of my work displays and I feel my portfolio is stronger and more diverse for it. This fulfils my second aim, as I plan on including at least one of them when I compile my next showreel.

From having completed these three pieces, I don't want this to be the end of me experimenting with different styles and reverting back to what I feel 'safe' with when creating new work. The idea behind these was to help me move to new techniques and I hope to carry this fluidity into future projects.

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