In June 2009 I saw an ad on Fox for a holiday animation contest thru aniboom and spent 2+ months on this clip. It was the first time I'd done an original character animation since college and my first big flash.
The characters come from a years old concept about people in animal/plant costumes, and most of them show up in a comic strip I posted back in 2007. It pulls from stories like A Christmas Carol and the Nutcracker. I never finished it all, just took out a couple shots and stuck a "to be continued" on it, but it's finished enough.
It was years after I graduated before I actually felt comfortable enough with flash to try something this ambitious. I was only interested in hand drawn animation then, but to tweak and color hand drawn frames was a very time consuming process. I learned the basics of Flash 5 in one class for one semester and that was it. Then I bought Flash MX 2004 for myself before I finished school in 2005. I didn't like Flash back then and didn't do much of anything with it until 2008. I had lost hope and drive over the years because I still hadn't gotten a job in the art or animation industry, just wasting my life away behind a cash register and continuing to draw for personal amusement and occasionally for money. One day I decided, dagnabbit I'm gonna animate whether I ever get a job or not. I'm gonna make a cartoon even if I have to do it all myself.
And so armed with an optical computer mouse and a now 6 year old version of Flash, I started doing little short projects, animating video game characters to music and things of that nature. I kept improving from there, practicing and discovering new techniques on my own to make Flash work for me. I started becoming more confident, confident enough to enter contests. I didn't plan on winning anything, but at least it gave me something to add to my reel. The latest original character flash was one about the number 8 for a Sesame Street contest.
These characters and the music in the background have been kicking around in my head for years now, so it was nice to see them finally in motion.
Even though most of my flash doesn't involve original characters and is only a few short seconds, with each project I do some aspect of animation is a little bit better. Maybe I've tried a new technique or gotten better at an old one, or maybe the animation is smoother with less of a jump between key frames.
Here's to animation in the New Year, Flash and traditional. Here's to learning new techniques and creating quality work. When I finished school I didn't feel prepared. I didn't feel like I learned enough, but now I think I'm finally going in the right direction. I only wish it had happened sooner.