Rex Emerges

Here are the four panels I just finished animating.

…and here’s the result.

For the “Close-Up” scene, I initially broke down Rex’s face in several parts so that I could create the animation using the Puppet Tool in After Effects. After many failed attempts, I realized the limitation of the tool when trying to imbue the character with life. I scrapped that approach and decided instead, to create the animation using Toon Boom’s hand drawn capabilities. When we see Rex’s close-up, I wanted the character to display a feeling of anxiety. He almost looses his cool, but manages to keep it together. Using my Stylus and Cintiq and using Toon Boom’s “Hand Drawn Animation” setting, I proceeded to rough out the charater on 4s, 6s and 8s. These numbers signify the amount of frames each rough drawing is held for. By working this way, I can get a good feel of how the animation will look when completed. Here’s the video of that rough stage.

Once I’m happy with the rough animation, I clean up the animation keys on an seperate level. I then add the inbetween drawings so that the animation appears smooth. I use color lines for the color seperation in the face so that these lines disappear when the full coloring is applied. At that stage I also put highlights in the eyes and add an eyeblink. This really helps bring the character to life. Here’s the video of the colored clean-up version.

Once that’s done, I draw a tone area over each drawing. The tone is a shaded area that helps give the character dimentionality. Here’s the video with that level added to the Rex animation.

Then, I process the tone level (with the “Tone Node” in the Toon Boom’s filter library) so that it is softer. I add backgrounds and effects elements. For the final touch, I create a subtle camera move over the whole thing so that the scene hooks up better with the previous one. Here it is with all the elements in place.


12 thoughts on “Rex Emerges

  1. Wow, great stuff. I miss read your first paragraph and thought you had pulled off the close up animation with the puppet tool…it looked so hand drawn! …obviously. Gotta love how anything is possible in hand drawn, head turns, perspective, its all at ones finger tips.

    How do you find the clean up process in toon boom, especially towards the end with a slight moving hold? I find boiling suddenly becomes more difficult to avoid in those cases

    • Boiling is an artifact of handdrawn animation that I have learn to appreciate in this day of perfect CGI. I now embrace it. It’s interesting to note that Brad Bird had a boiling line effect put on top of the Giant CG line in Iron Giant so that the line wouldn’t be so perfect.

      • Interesting, Im not surprised they added that treatment. I have to agree with Matthew as well, I like to think if one so choses, boiling can be made virtually a non issue.

        Looking forward to seeing future hand drawn scenes of Rex and co.

  2. Boiling does occur but can be toned down quite a bit if some care is given to it. Rex is all on ones and I do not see anything distracting as far as boiling goes, actually I dont even see any boiling but that is due to Michel’s level of care and detail to each frame.. Michel I remember some of your shots I worked on and those inbetweens were line on line and no boiling so it can be done.

  3. Hello great scene with so much character. A quick question about how you do clean up do you approach clean up on 8’s or do the close ones straight ahead? Thank you

  4. Ah, It’s looking amazing! I really love how much emotion and character your animations have, and the movements you put into Rex’s ears really help bring him to life c: Looking forward to more, this blog has been such a great insight into what goes into a project like this already, keep up the incredible work!

    • It’s when, because you’re drawing over an original frame, over and over, some parts that are more still appear to morph from the original shape as you go through the animation, usually due to that fact that you’re not able to trace the original line completely accurately each time :3 You can’t see much of it in this animation, but it can become really prevalent and often distracting in some o: I personally like the effect 😀 as long as there isn’t so much that it is a distraction c: Part of the charm 2D has ^-^

  5. Beautiful work as always. I am glad you found a solution to your hand problem. Yeah, that many hours always does it for me and you are doing it repeatedly. Take care, great and beautiful work. Hit Birch Bay for me 😉 That was our family vacation spot through the 80’s

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