I’ve wanted to play around with animation for a while, particularly since I have been looking into cells and creating my own tumor-like creatures. To bring these characters to life, I would like to see them in motion, allowing more scope for expressions and movement.
I started this investigation with no previous knowledge of animation, so started small and created a gif in Photoshop. Using this guide from HubSpot, I followed the instruction as to how to create an animated gif using layers. Once I got the hang of the structure and formation of the gif, I started to build my layers for each image.
I started a base with a background colour, a crosshatched brush layer (which was different on each frame), and 6 layers of cells. Each of these layers had a range of different sized cells in different colours randomly placed, using a couple of brushes I made using the cell painting experiments. Because this was a test, I wasn’t too fussed about it looking as though a number of cells were moving the same (multiple cells on the same layer).
I saved the base layer as a jpeg, then moved each layer slightly and saved as a separate jpeg. I did this for 15 frames, making sure that the layer on each frame moved in the same direction or at least had a path. I could’ve continued with this process but as it was a test, I wanted to make sure I got the desired effect before adding layers.
Following the outline given on HubSpot, I uploaded the jpegs as one document, where the jpegs are layers. Then using the Timeline window, I created a Frame Animation, selecting the option for making frames from layers. Setting each frame to 0.1 seconds in length, I had an animated gif.
I saved this for web as a .gif and uploaded to Giphy so I can import it to this site and share it online. I’m pretty happy with the result. I spent about an hour doing this but mos of that was just feeling my way around the process. I think I have achieved what I set out to do. I am happy with the sketchy effect of the background moving, possibly blending the movement of cells better. I asked my younger brother what he thought this was (he didn’t know I had been looking at cells previously) and said that it looks like red blood cells. That’s enough to tell me that I have achieved the desired aesthetic. What I need to look at now is how red blood cells actually move around the body so I can get accurate movement in my animations.
The process was relatively easy once I knew how. I’d like to experiment with this process further, animating individual cells, using this as a background for foreground animations as well as including the tumors I’ve drawn previously. Once I’ve got the hang of this process, I would like to expand to designated animation software such as After Effects or Flash. I will ask for advice before I do this.
Overall, I feel that this is something I could definitely use and explore moving forward with my project.