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Creating an animation with onion-skinning

From: Painter 11 Essential Training

Video: Creating an animation with onion-skinning

Well as we enter into the world of animation, one basic concept that I want to explain is Onion Skinning. Onion Skinning comes from traditional animation and basically, it's a technique where the animator draws on a light table, so he has got light coming up from underneath the table through a translucent surface. And he is able to use onion skin paper or a very light paper that let's him lay multiple cells of his animation on top of one another so that he can see the previous frame, how it was positioned, what the motion was in it and use the fact that he can see multiple frames in the previous set of frames that he drew so that when he draws the next frame of animation, he is able to work with that and Painter uses the same technique.

Creating an animation with onion-skinning

Well as we enter into the world of animation, one basic concept that I want to explain is Onion Skinning. Onion Skinning comes from traditional animation and basically, it's a technique where the animator draws on a light table, so he has got light coming up from underneath the table through a translucent surface. And he is able to use onion skin paper or a very light paper that let's him lay multiple cells of his animation on top of one another so that he can see the previous frame, how it was positioned, what the motion was in it and use the fact that he can see multiple frames in the previous set of frames that he drew so that when he draws the next frame of animation, he is able to work with that and Painter uses the same technique.

So, we are going to now go through creating a similar scenario and we are going to go to the File menu to start. We are going to go to New, just like you would if you are opening an image and I'm going to create this image at 500 x 500 and you will see down here that normally, this is where you have been creating images all the time with this automatically set to Image. Well, we are now going to say Movie and we can control the number of frames and it's going to have 12 frames in it and frame stack is Painter's name for the set of images that it's going to create and what I'm going to do here is create a name.

I'm going to call this drip. Okay, so you do have to give it a name to start and it will automatically create it as a Painter Framestack. I don't want to Hide the Extension. I want to know it's there and I'm going to say okay, and here is where I'm presented with a couple of options. I can have how many layers of Onion Skinning do I want. Lot of times, I only use 2, but we'll do 3 here, so we kind of split the difference, so you can see a little bit more of Onion Skinning and then it's your option to determine how many layers of this you would actually want and then the Storage Type, almost always now you are probably going to go with 24-bit color. That's just full color.

Anything else is just kind of chopping down the color depth and I would think most of the time, 24-bits is going to be what you want. So let's go ahead and say OK and we have got two things now. It looks like a regular image. However you will see up here it's showing me that it's framed and this means it's frame 1 of 12. So this is my image area that I'm going to be working in. I like to position it so it's kind of right in relationship to the frame controller, which is here, and this gives me basic information here to control it.

So just like on a recording deck, I have the ability to play. I can go forward one or backwards one frame at a time and I could go all the way to the end or the beginning. You can also control the Playback rate, so that you can go up as high as 40 FPS but it's going to playback very quickly, so I normally keep it somewhere in the middle and then I'll just adjust the playback if I want to analyze what I'm doing here. So we have got our basic control set up. We have got the area we can apply our tools to. The last thing we are going to want to do and you are not going to see any of this right now.

But we are going to want to enable Tracing Paper. In fact, what I'll do is I'm not going to enable Tracing Paper so that you can see what the difference is going to mean because right now, with nothing on any frames, we can't even really see anything. I am just going to do very simple animation here. I'm going to create the illusion of a water drop, dropping and splashing, and I'm just going to use simple 2B Pencil tool here. But basically, the entire library of Painter tools is available to come into play when you are painting on these frames. You do have the option to get pretty full rendered images within these frames, but again, animation takes time. It takes planning.

You really have to think. So let's begin and I'm going to start up here at the top. I'm just going to draw a drop, and I'm not going to try to create the world's best animation here. I'm just going to go through and do this in a rough style. I may go back and embellish a little bit, but let's just kind of work through this. So, now I'm going to advance by one frame and here is where Onion Skinning really comes into play. See right now, I drew a frame and I would like to know where that was placed so that when I draw the next one, I can start to play with the illusion of motion and speed.

So, I'm going to turn on Tracing Paper, which enables our Onion Skinning. Now I can see the frame beneath and I can also see the frame before here, so that I see in my frame I have done nothing, but the frame before is visualized for me here. But I have also got Onion Skinning on, so this will be a great aid in knowing how to create the illusion of acceleration because when it drops, it's got to build up speed and so the first few frames, it's going to be closer together but as it accelerates to where it's going to splash, they will be farther apart.

So the next one here, I'm not going to draw too far from the first one. Let's advance one frame and now I'm going to be using my Page Up key, so this advances me one more frame. So, see now I have got two frames of Onion Skinning visible and that gives me a great way to know in each subsequent frame, where to draw. The thing too I have learned about animation, and trust me, I'm no animator, is that it's not the individual frames. I was surprised because I'm so used to drawing individual images. It's like I would have thought that you really got to draw each frame nicely, but it turns out really if the eye and the brain is largely watching the illusion of motion through the animation and each individual frame is not nearly as important as if you were drawing a static image, to be viewed as a painting or a drawing.

Now I have to think about where this is going to splash. So, I'm going to just put the very tail right here and now I have to think about the fact that this is going to splash. So, the first thing I'm going to do is create some droplets that are coming from here and there's probably some back here and so I go to the next frame and once again, you don't have to be as articulate as you would think. Then I'm also going to be thinking of a ripple of water that's going to come out here. So these are going to splash very quickly, so I'm going to draw these out here and they are also going to be arcing out like this and the ones back here, they are going to be off in this direction.

Now, we don't even have the tail there anymore, so I'm just going to continue to draw this and I don't have to draw complete ellipses to indicate that wave of water coming out, but just even kind of breaking it up helps and now these are already starting to drop down and again, it doesn't have to be as perfect as you would think. I was really surprised when I started doing this, how easy it actually is to get a fairly convincing animation. So now this is kind of going out here. Now these are coming down and they are going to be splashing here and I'm also keeping track on my frames here, so I want 9 to 12, so I have got 10, 11, 12.

I have got three more frames to kind of complete this. So you also have to be thinking of that. So, there are kind of multiple things going on as you do this. Now once more, this little ripple is coming out. Now these are going to start splashing. So I'm going to just indicate in a little secondary splashes here and that they would be happening back here as well. I'll just kind of put those in. Okay, we have got two more frames to go. So again, now this is just almost kind of subsiding, so there is just going to be a little bit of ripple happening and these are now kind of just rippling.

So you will have to kind of think through, what's going to be happening, how much time do I have to show it, all of these various things. And then I found that the last frame, it's good to keep it blank because what we are going to do now is we are going to turn off our Onion Skinning and let's go ahead and play this back and you can see it's not the individual frames. It turns out it's really the motion that you are paying attention to here. So you don't have to think so perfectly. Now, I see a few things, like for example, it seems like in one of these frames kind of in the middle here.

We'll stop and I'll kind of isolate it but it looks like. Those little ends kind of got little dark. So, I'm going to back up. I'm just going to grab my Eraser here and just slightly erase. So that's the other thing. Now I have the wherewithal to come back into this and start doing more to it. So, the first thing I noticed was those dark spots that's played back now. Okay, that looks better to my eye. The next thing I want to do and I'm going to go back to the beginning here. I'm just going to start to put a little bit of shading on here and I'll just continue to use my pencil, so let's go in here.

I'm just going to add a little. So, there's one. Let's go here and again, the fact that each one of these is slightly different, actually when it plays back, it kind of gives a dynamic quality. If you look at a lot of contemporary cartooning, there is a very kind of loose style that's used quite often that let's little inconsistencies in things, actually it helps give it the hand-drawn sensation. So, we are just going in here. I might put a little bit of disturbance on the water, keep thinking about that and let's see. You have to kind of as you do each one, is you've got to keep retaining, how did I approach the last one? Because you don't want to break out of whatever kind of stylistic treatment you are doing.

Otherwise, a style change in the middle of an animation is typically not good. So all I'm doing here and now this whole thing is got to introduce dispersing and we are up to the last frame and that the last frame is blank. So I'm going to hop back to the first frame and here is where I can still do a little more. Like I'm going to take my Eraser and I'll just put a little and catch light on each one of these, as if there is a little bit of light reflecting from below. The more you kind of work on it like this too, and it seems like it does give it a little more sparkle than it would have had otherwise.

It just starts to feel a little bit more complete. Now the last thing I may do here is just add a little sense of color and I'm going to get just a simple chalk here. This is the nice thing. Because this is all emulating natural media tools, we can really get what looks like a natural media look on this. I'm just going to give it just ever so slight kind of color and I'm not going to worry too much about everything looking perfect here. I may go back and smudge this out a little bit because that grain is kind of a bit extreme. Hopefully, you are seeing to this.

This actual drawing isn't complex. It's kind of thinking through the animation itself and I guess I want to put a little color in the water down here as it's dispersing. And then, the very last thing, I'm going to just smudge this out, so if I jump back and go to my Blenders here and get just to add water. Start at the beginning here, I can just kind of soften this out so it's not quite as noisy and I'm always watching to make sure, because what will happen is you can accidentally create a new frame and let me actually do that because I want to show you what happens. If I hit this, like oh, I have just created a 13th frame that I didn't want.

Well, you can go into the Movie window here and you can see here that you can add frames, you can delete frames, you can erase frames. What I want to do specifically in this case is delete a frame and I'm going to show you a little hiccup that can happen, so you will know how to get out of it. I am going to go and like and they will say, well yeah, I want to do frame 13 through 13. At least half the time I'll come up here if I'm not at frame 1 and now see, here it is. It looks like it's going to work and it's not working. So go back, take it to frame 1, go back and say you want to delete a frame and put it in here frame 13 through frame 13, say OK and now I have only got a 12 frame movie here.

So let's go ahead and play and see what we get it. This is just the basics of frame by frame animation. We took advantage of Onion Skinning here so that we could see previous frames, almost a history of the animation but as you can see here, it's not the individual frames. I'm always, when I get to something like that-- I mean that doesn't look like much by itself, but when it's one of a series of images, all of a sudden, there is some life that occurs here. The last thing I'll tell you is that if you just close this, it automatically, everything is saved.

So you have got your Frame Stack, which you can always load back into Painter later and if you want to continue to work on it, you can. You can also save these and if I go to the Save As command, what I can do is I can either save the current frame as an image, I can save the entire movie on Macintosh as QuickTime. If you are on a Windows machine, you can save it out as AVI. You can also save as a series of individually numbered files. It's a nice way to get it into some other types of animation software and then, you can also save it as a GIF animation as well. So that's a look at Onion Skinning, enjoy!

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This video is part of

Image for Painter 11 Essential Training
Painter 11 Essential Training

92 video lessons · 12105 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
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  1. 1m 49s
    1. Welcome/demo
      54s
    2. Using the exercise files
      55s
  2. 3m 45s
    1. What Painter can do
      1m 15s
    2. Let's paint!
      2m 30s
  3. 23m 16s
    1. Starting Painter for the first time
      6m 39s
    2. Creating, opening, and saving files
      4m 52s
    3. Sizing image resolution for output
      6m 16s
    4. Extending the canvas
      2m 36s
    5. Creating and using templates
      2m 53s
  4. 37m 46s
    1. Navigating Painter
      8m 46s
    2. Rotating the canvas
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Tool palette and Property bar
      6m 41s
    4. Understanding Tool palette selectors
      8m 58s
    5. The Brush Selector bar: an art store in a palette
      4m 2s
    6. Configuring palettes
      6m 16s
  5. 28m 37s
    1. Accessing and controlling color with the Color palette
      8m 27s
    2. Mixing color in the Mixer palette
      10m 41s
    3. Color sets: choose 'n' use color
      9m 29s
  6. 37m 13s
    1. Understanding the six axes of motion
      3m 19s
    2. Introducing tablets: Intuos3 and Intuos4
      8m 6s
    3. Introducing tablets: Cintiq
      7m 49s
    4. Customizing your Wacom tablet: part 1
      4m 57s
    5. Customizing your Wacom tablet: part 2
      9m 25s
    6. Maximizing your tablet's pressure response
      3m 37s
  7. 14m 56s
    1. Understanding the selection tools
      2m 16s
    2. Making selections using the Lasso tool
      3m 20s
    3. Making polygonal selections
      2m 51s
    4. Making selections using the Magic Wand tool
      6m 29s
  8. 42m 34s
    1. Understanding layers
      8m 1s
    2. Using the Preserve Transparency control
      2m 50s
    3. Using the Pick Up Underlying Color control
      4m 36s
    4. Resizing and rotating layers using the Transform tool
      5m 45s
    5. Making selections using channels
      4m 23s
    6. Working with layer masks
      9m 52s
    7. Adding text
      7m 7s
  9. 37m 40s
    1. Understanding the Brush Creator workspace
      6m 11s
    2. Exploring brush properties using the Randomizer
      8m 15s
    3. Exploring brush properties using the Transposer
      4m 45s
    4. Using the Stroke Designer to create custom brushes
      9m 39s
    5. Managing brush variants
      8m 50s
  10. 38m 24s
    1. Adjusting brush size: three techniques
      3m 3s
    2. Fine-tuning your stroke in the Brush Controls palette
      5m 12s
    3. Working with texture-aware media
      8m 59s
    4. Painting with Artists' Oils brushes
      10m 45s
    5. Painting with RealBristle brushes
      3m 39s
    6. Working with hard media
      4m 57s
    7. Painting with markers
      1m 49s
  11. 20m 21s
    1. Understanding the Image Hose
      3m 26s
    2. Controlling the Image Hose
      8m 32s
    3. Creating a nozzle file
      8m 23s
  12. 22m 11s
    1. Warmup exercises
      7m 54s
    2. Draftsmanship: drawing media
      10m 56s
    3. Doodling
      43s
    4. Creating outline sketches utilizing the conceptual squint
      2m 38s
  13. 17m 28s
    1. Understanding cloning
      3m 1s
    2. Tracing a clone's source using Tracing Paper
      3m 27s
    3. Painting a cloned image
      5m 55s
    4. Creating a Quick Clone
      2m 46s
    5. In-document cloning
      2m 19s
  14. 25m 51s
    1. Understanding the vocabularies of paint photography
      8m 51s
    2. You must destroy detail
      6m 20s
    3. Focusing on the subject
      4m 1s
    4. Adapting color in a photograph for photo painting
      6m 39s
  15. 28m 16s
    1. Under-painting
      6m 26s
    2. Auto-painting
      5m 25s
    3. Using manual controls for auto-painting
      11m 53s
    4. Restoring detail using the Restoration palette
      4m 32s
  16. 18m 44s
    1. The photo as wet oil paint
      6m 47s
    2. Cloning the canvas and building detail with multiple layers
      11m 57s
  17. 25m 57s
    1. Applying surface texture
      6m 53s
    2. Matching the color palette between two images
      4m 10s
    3. Marbling
      9m 27s
    4. Exploring the Growth effect
      5m 27s
  18. 25m 10s
    1. Understanding frame-by-frame animation
      2m 9s
    2. Creating an animation with onion-skinning
      11m 51s
    3. Using a movie clone source
      11m 10s
  19. 17m 47s
    1. Using each application for its strengths
      4m 24s
    2. Working with Photoshop's PSD file format in Painter and Photoshop
      4m 52s
    3. Configuring color management
      8m 31s
  20. 33m 25s
    1. Setting preferences
      7m 37s
    2. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      5m 5s
    3. Saving and restoring palette layouts
      4m 3s
    4. Creating custom palettes
      3m 36s
    5. Accessing favorite brushes using the Tracker palette
      5m 55s
    6. Organizing custom workspaces
      7m 9s
  21. 8m 17s
    1. Undo, undo, undo
      3m 33s
    2. Painting on layers
      1m 57s
    3. Save often, save early
      2m 47s
  22. 10m 7s
    1. Resetting brushes: Painter's panic button
      2m 0s
    2. Resetting workspaces with the Shift key restart
      6m 12s
    3. Troubleshooting brushes with the brush checklist
      1m 55s
  23. 16s
    1. Goodbye
      16s

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