The initial sketch for this project was done in pencil. Pencil is a media I have much control over and is great for planning rough drafts of my projects. For this project, I drew from a reference photo of my girlfriend with her mask on. I added eyes and a city background for a moody atmosphere. The sketch and later iterations were all done on napkin paper, because I always like to use materials that are readily-available.
Pastel Final Physical Copy
From the initial sketch, I began to use pastels. I am not too familiar with pastels, so it was interesting to experiment with them, push and pull colors, and see which colors blended well together. I tried to be careful with using too much color, as it could dilute a later color applied to the same area (a la underpainting). When I felt that the image was complete enough, I began the next step.
I created a spritesheet of closed eye poses. They were drawn on a background that matched the surface they would later be placed on. I would later photograph and digitally upload these for the animated portion of this project.
Because I was not using the edges of the napkin in the final piece, I did not keep strict constraints on photography. However, I did try to keep the camera relatively perpendicular to the surface I was photographing and to limit the interference of the shadow cast by my arm. When I’d photographed the pastel copies of the scene and the closed eye poses, I uploaded them to a Mac computer.
Liberation Through PhotoShop
Using Masking, I liberated the irises and the closed eye lids from their compositions. By painting in a feathered outline, a viewer’s eye has a tougher time detecting a hard edge on the assets. This makes them blend more seamlessly in later steps when they are animated. Once all the components were free, I uploaded them to Flash.
Picking Layers in Flash
I selected the individual assets and placed each on its own layer, to manipulate them more easily.
I used the Free Transform Tool (Q) to manipulate the height and length of each graphic, allowing them to appear as though they were stretching. This gave the illusion that the eyes were distorting as they closed. I animated these portions and then used the Tween function to interpolate the frames between the key poses. For the irises, I nudged them slightly in various directions on each frame to achieve a twitching motion.
When I had a functioning animation, I cross-faded the sketch into the pastel animation and VOILA! A short animation!