Stuart Keith May 09, 2017

Looking for tips on how to make/improve the animation for your next motion comics? In this article we take a closer look at the various important steps that go behind creating memorable animation.

Step 1: Drawing the motion comics

a) Sketching on paper: For the novice animators or those who aren’t very comfortable with digital drawings using graphic tablets, pencil sketches are the best bet as they offer more control on the sketches. You can use a classic HB pencil and 170 gsm white paper for starters and change as required later.

b) Inking the contour lines: This step converts the rough drawing into pretty much a final version before starting the motion comic animation. For the inking process, a good quality pigment liner of size 0.1 or 0.3 can be used, depending upon what is the line weight required.

c) Creating shadows: The next step in creating a drawing for your motion comics is to introduce light and shadows in the frame. This should be done with due thought to all the light sources in the scene so as to identify which all areas need to be darkened.

Without proper shadows, the authenticity of the comic animation can be at stake. For certain styles such as comics, it is okay to use exaggerated shadows and high contrasts. However, if your animation should look realistic, the shadows should be realistic too. A good quality pocket brush pen (such as that from Pentel) can be used for this process.

d) Digitalizing the drawing: This is the step in creating the motion comics where the transition from paper to digital starts. To start off with, start filling the drawings with flat colors with the help of a graphic tablet. The overall color scheme will ultimately depend upon the particular scene. For example, many illustrators prefer to use different color schemes to differentiate the timelines – bright colors for the present and sepia/monochrome for flashbacks. Choose the colors that work best for you.

e) Highlights, texture and halftones: Incorporating highlights is an important step in case you want to give the characters a realistic and 3D look and feel. Highlighting is used to illuminate areas on objects where light falls on them, thereby highlighting the object’s shape.

Another technique that many animators incorporate to give their comic animation a feel of print comics, is using halftone. In this technique the tone includes dots of varying shape, size and spacing between them so as to give a gradient effect. Halftone can be done effectively using a halftone brush in Photoshop as well as a lasso tool.

f) Prepare Scenes for Animation: Next part in motion comics is cutscene. Now we need to animate some important parts of the frame means into pieces. For example in some scene we have to show some portion of the scene closer to camera and more threatening.

g) it’s time to make the scene: Now we can see in many good movies beautiful background sets. So, here we need to add the same in background like hills, clouds, and other environmental effects for example dust and smoke and other important things to make the thing alive. Always make sure that motion comics animation will only looks beautiful if you put your efforts properly in background scenes.

Step 2: Creating the motion comic animation

Once the drawing and coloring is complete, it’s time to get started with the actual animation. Depending upon the scene, animators may want to do a pre-preparation. For example, if it’s a cut scene, the object/character may need to be literally cut into pieces and then animated, or maybe the dimensions of a specific part/object will have to be changed to enhance the perspective. In this stage, you may also want to include details in the background, supporting props, etc.

Finally, all this is then put into After Effects where the animation comes to life. The subsequent steps include adding effects, lighting, voiceover, background music, captions, etc.

Congratulations, your motion comics is now ready!

How to Create Memorable Motion Comic Animations

Stuart Keith

Stuart Keith has a good knowledge about 2D,3D animation and motion comics content writing. He is also expert in writing various technological contents. He has almost 8 years of an experience and currently working with the Gateway aniMedia works a reputed animation company.