Feather Head

30 Sep

Feather Head

Animation and Background by Mindy Fisher

Character by Kelly Pelka

Music by A.M

So this is the first time that I created a full film. Actually it’s more like one scene with credits at the beginning. It is very short, but i really just wanted to use it to brush up on motion tweens, titling and adding music. The process is documented below:

1. I played around with making a background in Photoshop which is the very first frame. After that I created about 30 more layers and changed the background bit by bit making it come to life.

2. I imported the backgrounds in flash and changed them into symbols. I used the alpha option to fade from background to background which gives it a neat stop-animation feel. In the future I think I want to continue morphing the background throughout the entire video…I don’t love how it just stops when the “stars” are flashing.

3. I looked for a song on the amazing Free Music Archive website. There is tons of great music to use and it would have taken ages to find the perfect song. They have an option to search by artists who allow their music to be synched to video. I clicked that. Then to narrow my search down I typed in different keywords that I thought described the atmosphere of what I had so far…and found “Somewhere Between Night and Sky” by A.M after listening to about a dozen songs.

4. I downloaded Audacity so that I could edit the song down to fit my very short video.

5. I found the character from my friends (kelly pelka) flickr account, I asked for permission first. It’s actually a metal sculpture with feathers that she and Todd Willing collaborated on. I put that in photoshop, erased the background and put the head and each wing on separate layers.  Then I imported that into Flash and turned those into layers. Normally I am going to use my own artwork but I envisioned something by her in this background.

6. Then I created the titles which was a little bit of an ordeal. I hadn’t started with that so then I had to learn how to add more frames to all the layers so I didn’t mess up the rest of the video. This is where mistakes can really teach you how to do things right.

7. Then I added the feather head character. I learned that in order to make the feathers flap I had to edit them separately by double clicking them and adding motion tweens. I was going to have the head fly around but didn’t really like how it looked. Instead I have it start as an alpha layer and become more opaque then fade away as well as grow in size while staying in the middle. Another thing that was frustrating me was that the right feather had a white highlight around it, even though I had erased everything around it. I couldn’t fix it without going into photoshop so I just copied the left wing and flipped it.

8. Lastly I had to encode it so that I could upload it to YouTube. When you do this you have to export the file as a .mov or .avi file. Then you add it to Media Encoder where you can change it to a FLV file.

All in all I probably put in a good eight hours of work just for 20 seconds of video (and if I had hand-drawn everything that would have taken much, much longer).

See Also: Bird Animation

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One Response to “Feather Head”

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  1. Ornaglyphology - November 27, 2010

    […] see: Featherhead First […]

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