Alphabet Patch Animation Tester

In January we were given 3 weeks to produce an animated 'tester' piece using our pitch bibles. I decided that my characters would work well in CelAction which is an animation program best suited for cut-out animation. One of our lecturers, Nick Harrop, gave me a super fast introduction to the program and helped tremendously throughout the 3 weeks.

To animate the characters in CelAction, they needed to split up into components in Photoshop and to have extra parts made such as mouth shapes, side and back, blinks, and hand gestures.

Paddy cut-up for animation
You can see that each eyebrow was separate, and that the pupils are separate from the eyes too. Limbs such as arms and legs could be manipulated in CelAction using 'limber' to make them bend so I only needed straight versions of them. The cheeks are separate too as they could have their colour changed in CelAction.
Some characters were quite easy to do - such as the chicks as they are just round balls basically - this also meant they were easy to animate turning 360 degrees.

I based my animation test from a concept piece I had done for the pitchbible - where the characters learn to iceskate as I thought there was a lot to play with in this scene and funny material.

Due to the short time allowed for this animation test, I spent the first week cutting up the characters, designing backgrounds and making a storyboard. I also had to learn the software which was very tricky at first as it is very different from other programs I usually use (TV Paint and Flash) but I got more efficient and comfortable as time went on. I had used the program previously last year and hadn't liked it at all, but this time around I really started to enjoy using it. 

Below are my efforts in CelAction last year, I can see that I have really improved since then.

For the storyboard I was ambitious, although I knew I would probably not have time to do it all. And in some shots I had to change the dynamic as I struggled animating some things in the cut out style, If I had had more time I would have like to work out some more complex animation in CelAction - such as sliding textures to create revolving characters.

Another issue with the short amount of time was that I had to start animating before I had the voiceovers. My friend Jamila kindly volunteered her young cousins to do the voices and I think they make the whole tester very sweet. But because I animated first, the sounds do not entirely match the visuals which is a shame.
I'm happy with how it turned out though, I really like working with this art style and CelAction has definitely grown on me - big thanks to Nick Harrop for helping me so much with the program and Jaguar, Jonas and Jamila for the voices and sound recording!