Join Dermot O' Connor for an in-depth discussion in this video Cleaning up the background, part of Animate CC: Animating Scenes.
- [Narrator] So in the previous movie, we left off with the background roughly drawn in, and you know the body generic brush-style. So in the beginning here, what I've done is I've symbolized each one of the layers, and I've made a folder called symbols, and it's got the building layers in it, all the stuff. So what I want to do very quickly is just focus on maybe one of these and show you how you'll go about lining it at a much higher level of beauty. So let's pick out one of the symbols in the library and we'll pick one that's not too complex.
We'll try this one. So we switch that to outline and padlock it. This lure green is kind of hard on the eyes, so let's pick something nicer than that. We'll click on properties and try this turquoisey color. Then we'll make a new layer and call the lower layer ref and the upper layer building. Now remember, we're going to ultimately have this guy on its own separate layer at some point in the future. So for now, we're just going to focus on drawing maybe this one here.
If you do draw them on one layer, you can always break them apart later on, but it's nice if you can kind of plan this kind of thing ahead. So let's go in. I'm just going to focus on this face of this building. So I'm using the line tool. The shortcut is end go fee is the shortcut for the selection tool. It's a shortcut for the line tool. So what I do is I go from the one to the other, so that's what you're seeing happening right now. As I need to go from one cut to the next cut, I'm just moving from one to the other.
So you get quite fast at it. It's the kind of process that becomes kind of muscle memory after awhile. It is kind of tedious having to do all these little erasures over and over again, but you do get used to it. Just be careful that the geometry is reasonably clean. So I'm not going to worry too much about what's going to happen over here, because I really want to focus on cleaning up one of these faces, so let me scrunch up that timeline a bit.
One really, really nice touch that you can do is put in like really subtle color separation areas like this. Make them tiny, like it's just a sliver catching the highlight. Then as you're doing things like windows, and those can be tricky, one way we can align these is just to draw one box that describes these two windows here, and then delete all this stuff. If you're really clever, you can kind of plan ahead and know that we're going to need this guy here just to offer us the inside.
If you're really lazy, you can copy these two, control C, control V. Slice them in there. I'm really lazy. So let's go in and put in a window frame. It's amazing with windows, I find how many of these little lines within lines you end up drawing.
So I'm not going to bother with anything beyond that, because I think that gives us the idea. The other thing I would show you to watch out for is these perfectly straight lines can look synthetic, so if you hold down the alter option key, you can use it to create little nicks in contours like this, or just to put little bends in them. Make 'em look a little cartoonier. You can do that all the way down. Same on the outside, actually maybe just as important on the outside, 'cause it's a silhouette.
So I'm creating the illusion of like masonry by doing this. That's so much faster than using the other technique of having to draw all these one by one. Okay, now maybe put a little dent in here so we can get a slight contour on that. So that's pretty much it. Now if you want to sample... I wouldn't worry about the rest of it. You get the idea.
So to sample the colors from the layer beneath, hit I for the eyedropper. Pick that and then we can fill that area. So you can get to see how we're cleaning this up really nicely. Let me grab that dark color on top. You can keep both open. It just gets a little confusing if you have one on top of the other, but if you can manage it, you can do that. I'm just stealing colors from the layer beneath. Let's say you want to make some colors of your own, you're not happy with that reference image and you want to make your own, we have our color and swatches tabs down here.
Go to color and be sure the H is selected. Now for example, watch what happens when I select this color with the eyedropper, we select the color there. If I want the highlight, let's drag it to here and now I can paint. Be sure if when you're painting in this mold, that you have don't close gaps selected, 'cause you get a nice complete fill. Same thing here. If I want to pick maybe a lighter tone of white than this, then I can select that window frame and paint a similar tone for that. Then you would proceed along with the entire cleanup process like that.
You can leave the lines in if you'd like, or you can take them out individually. So I'm taking this one out, and that's creating a really nice effect here. Let's see if there's any other I can take out. This line there, you might want to take that out, if you want that to be one color area. So these are art direction decisions. You can apply yourself as your taste requires. A nice little trick too with this hairline is to double click to select the entire range, or you can just select everything on the stage. Go to the properties panel, or actually let's see, it will be under the swatches and we're there.
Make the opacity 40%. That's a really nice tone, because it's shorter there but it isn't, so it creates a nice blurry effect at a distance. You still have the general idea that the line is there, but it isn't. You can do that or you can also use different colors for the line, so I'm just going to undo all of that. You could for example, take the top line here, make the line color white. So against a blue sky background, that's going to start looking like a little highlight area.
So let me drop some sky in here. Padlock that. So you get the idea. So we can do all kinds of nice little cleanup techniques like that. That's the process, and it's just be patient. Be very patient when you do it, because you got a lot of line work to do. It is the kind of work that if you've laid out your project the way I have, in a very disciplined, organized manner, you could give the cleanup process to somebody else. So you can hire somebody or delegate that work to another designer in your workplace and tell them, just go into the symbols folder, clean up this, this, this, this, this and this, and we're done.
Then you can proceed on doing the character animation. So it allows the work to be distributed among a team, without the members of the team stepping on each other making too many mistakes. So here's the finished cleanup that I did by just doing the same process over and over again. There are many improvements I could make by adjusting these lines or putting in these little subtle color areas. But this was a very good first clean pass of the background. It ties it down. Now we can begin to animate correctly to the scene and match it perfectly.
- Assembling a scene
- Setting up a project
- Importing a reference
- Creating and cleaning up a background
- Animating an action scene
- Adding camera moves
- Animating a human
- Setting up a character
- Importing and editing audio
- Importing audio and exporting a scene