The Bad Idea
Disclaimer: I’m not using the title as what I think of my giff, I’m certain plenty of people have thought of it. But for the sake of carrying the joke further, I dubbed it that. Anyway…
Making a giff seemed completely out of my league so I was a tad intimidated by the idea. I calmed down and decided to take a stab at it. So first came the great and dreaful… THUMBNAIL SKETCHES!!!
I got this idea for a demonic lightbulb from a doodle that my brother and I made back in highschool. Mmm, I notice that’s where my recent ideas come from. Guess senior High was useful! I liked the idea, it seemed simple enough, and figured it’d be fun to try drawing something both mechanical and fleshy at once. So I started sketching lightbulbs. I opted to try and depict a LED bulb to get a more modern look. And because incandescent ones are so generally used in cartoons that I wanted to try and step away from that. I also looked up images of wings, horns, and tails and started scribbling down variations. So many options, so little time!
Since I had only two weeks to design AND animate, I crunched to get a good looking and FUNCTIONAL composition in Illustrator. I remembered that each object you expected to move independently needed to be a separate layer, and wings were likely going to be a challenge for animating. So I got references of bat wing bone structure to help me seperate the shapes of the wing/arms. I kept each bone seperate except the hands. I wanted the tips of the wings to move dynamically, but given this was my first animation ever, i opted to be simple and grouped the wing fingers. Mm, now I’m craving chicken wings and chicken fingers.
I finished my design with a similar style to my stickers: heavy strokes and thick lines to denote curve/depth. I also used lots of gradients this time to experiment with those further. Once I resolved that I got a satisfactory image working, I uploaded it into After Effects.
Animating this thing let me dig my fingers into After Effects. I got excited to see my image move, which was good motivation for when the parts were clashing and moving the wrong way. My basic plan was to have the bulb turn on and have the ‘demonic’ features sprout up. I parented lots of layers, and started messing with opacity, positions, and scale. So many moving parts, ugh.
My first result was very flat and lifeless. I started adding ‘bulging’ motions and had the parts squish and stretch a bit as the transformation from regular bulb to demon bulb went along. It made the bulb move with the parts and feel more connected. Life like. Which isn’t what you normally think of for a light bulb, but hey. Art is the lie that tells the truth!
I started working on wing movement, which required me to learn the puppet strings and positioning. Thanks to parenting, i was able to save myself a bit of time, but getting the flaps to move correctly took some time. But paid off! Look at them flappy wings! It’s my baby’s first steps! Except it’s a digital collection of colored pixels.
That’s a Wrap
I felt pretty accomplished with a gif now in my repertoire of things I can make. I ended up using more tools on After Effects than i expected, and I enjoyed the process of learning how to make that little bulb become a really bad idea. Hold on, that sentence didn’t make sense?