Telling a Character's Story with a 2D Looped Animation

——   Created by Vera Rehaag

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Course
12
Lessons
33m
Lesson time
intermediate
Skill level

More about this course

Welcome to my class!

My name is Vera and I am a freelance illustrator and animator from Hamburg, Germany.

In this class, I will teach you how I design characters that tell a story within themselves, and show you, how to create a 2D animation with them.

I recommend this class for a bit more advanced students. But as long as you are feeling confident and are up for a challenge, I encourage every artist to join in! 

Designing for animation will help you understand characters and movement, and show you a whole lot of possibilities for making your art more exciting.

I will show you how I approach character design with a sense of storytelling, that will be applicable for a little looped 2D animation. 

You can tag along in my process step by step, and either follow my self-imposed assignment (see class project description), or come up with your own assignment for the character.

The course project

In this class, you will learn how I approach character design with a sense of storytelling, that will be applicable for a little looped 2D animation. 

I am working in Photoshop throughout the lessons, but you can use any drawing software that you are comfortable working with.

For the class project, I would like you to

  • make a reference sheet 
  • concept and design a character
  • board out a little story for a looped animation
  • and animate your character

You can either tag along on the provided character and story guide lines along with me, or you can apply the steps to your own character and story idea!

If you don’t have an own character, or don’t want to come up with one, you can pick a character from a book you like, or your friends Dungeons and Dragons character, a movie or whatever you find interesting. 

Doesn’t matter, as long as you know what you are working with. :-)

The character I am working with is a little goblin girl.

She is skittish, kleptomanic, has an old soul and eats the most impossible things.

 

If you want to jump right into animation, use the attached character sheet!

  1. First up: find reference images. Anything you feel like it helps you design the character is good. It can be anatomy references, facial expressions, colors, existing character drawings from other artists etc.
  2. Collect your references and notes in one sheet.

  1. Start getting to know your character. Make little sketches of how they act. Are they angry? Do they do something specific a lot? 
  2. Just stay lose, have fun, make drawings.
  3. Collect them in another sheet.

  1. When you feel comfortable, start approaching the character from an animation production standpoint: Build your character design based on simple shapes.
  2. The simpler, the better. Remember, every line that you incorporate into your design will have to be moved in 3D space. 
  3. Create a character line-up with multiple views (front, back, side) to make clear, how the shapes and masses work together. You can additionally create an expressions sheet, to explore the characters facial extremes and changes.

  1. In your animation, your character will interact with a butterfly (animation attached - or create your own if you like :-) ). What they do, is up to the story you would like to tell! 
  2. Make some story sketches. How does your character react to the butterfly flying by? 
  3. Mark out the story beats in your sketches. This is the base for your animation.
  4. Create another sheet for your story sketches, and keep them at hand for further referencing.
  5. Create your animation. Stay as rough or be as refined as you feel comfortable. The story is key :-) 
  6. Upload as a video or a gif.

You are done!

Thank you so much for taking my class <3

I am looking forward to seeing all your entries. Don't hesitate to upload rough and unfinished work, I am interested in seeing your process :-)

You can find the Butterfly Animation and Character Design Sheet attached. 

Summary:

  • Reference and notes sheet (e.g. 16:9 format or A4)
  • Exploration sketches / getting to know your character (e.g. 16:9 format or A4)
  • Character design sheet (+facial expressions) (e.g. 16:9 format or A4)
  • Story beat sheet (e.g. 16:9 format or A4)
  • Animation (Gif/video) (e.g. 1000x1000 200 dpi (thats the format I worked in))

12 Lessons

0:01:14
Introduction
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0:01:00
The Brief
free preview
0:07:42
The Brief #2
free preview
0:01:04
Gathering Reference Materials
0:00:52
Where Inspiration Strikes
0:04:45
Reference Sheet
0:01:48
Sketches
0:05:48
Character Design
0:01:34
Story
0:02:59
Setting up Photoshop for Animation
0:04:50
Principles of Animation
0:00:23
Last Words
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Class benefits

  • Certificate of Completion
  • 30 day satisfaction guarantee
  • 24/7 streaming access
  • Project included
  • Direct teacher access
  • 33m of on-demand video
  • 1 downloadable file
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About the instructor

Hello, I'm Vera.

I have been arting ever since I could use fingerpaints.

After finishing school in 2008, I continued my education at an academy for communication design, where I learned that I just wasn’t made to work in an advertising agency.

Instead, I fell in love with illustration and animation …

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