Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pros & Cons of Animating in Photoshop

I have tried to use Photoshop before for animating, but found it a bit clumsy to do as of course it is not primarily designed for that purpose. However I am drawn to practicing this as I am already familiar with the interface and would probably take to it quicker than I would an entirely new software package. Photoshop allows me to get that painterly and 'traditional' feel in the line drawings which I have found difficult to capture in other programs.

I found a Youtube tutorial about how to set up Photoshop for animating efficiently in a similar manner to Flash. He suggests creating action keys to allow quick switching between frames and for creating a new frame. I followed the tutorial and found the action keys certainly made it easier, and created some experimental movement to see how I felt with the overall approach.

Photoshop CS5


- Nice 'feel' to the brushes, can get that pencil-style flow with pen pressure effect in the lines. This allows illustrative, painterly style animation.
- Wide range of brushes to use
- Already familiar with software interface so I will work quicker
- More focus on the drawing - felt more traditional, rather than having to use loads of different tools/settings


- The main thing that was really irritating was the visibility of layers. For some reason, when you create a new layer for a new frame, by default it appears visible on every single previous frame and you have to manually go and disable visibility. I've looked online and can't find a solution to this.
- Poorly optimised for the process - you end up with dozens of layers mixed up together that are awkward to navigate through, and this was just for a simple line drawing... backgrounds and other elements would further complicate it.

Apparently CS6 Extended has a new style of layer called 'video layers' which allow you to create frame-by-frame animation. This seems to have streamlined the process a little by not having frames be on a load of different layers. As I don't have access to CS6 at home I haven't had the chance to experiment with this yet.

All-in-all I am not ruling out Photoshop as an option but as it is so inefficient with managing frames and layers I will still be investigating other software. 

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