It’s been five years since I’ve completed an animated film. The reasons why have a convoluted history. Going back around 15 or 20 years, I first discovered a hidden feature on the illustration program I was using at the time for my work. Corel Painter, along with its many fine realistic brush features, had, in an earlier version, a primitive ‘animation feature’. The feature wasn’t much more than the ability to use multiple onion skin overlays to see the progress of your animated drawing over several frames, and then to play back the animation instantly to check your progress. I did several test projects, and, from 2010-2015 was able to complete 3 animated music videos for my band, the “Jukejoint Handmedowns”, also using Apples ‘iMovie’ for combining animated clips.
A computer upgrade (and subsequent upgrading of my system software), meant that I had to also upgrade Corel Painter, who had, in the meantime, dropped their ‘animation feature’ from the latest version of the software. I have been playing around with various alternative animation software platforms in the past five years, but nothing had really clicked with me, the way that the original Painter tools had.
During the recent pandemic slowdown, I spent some time learning how to use Adobe After Effects and Adobe Character Animator, and put together the above film for our upcoming album release. I had a lot of fun learning new techniques, and stretching my horizons. Each scene was a new challenge, and led to new skills, and have learned even more since its completion. So stay tuned for more.
Had a two week summer time lull, so I took advantage of the down time to work on a new animated music video for the band. This is the first animation I’ve done in 3 years. Would love to do this sort of thing all the time, but I can’t quite figure out how to make it pay.
For the past several weeks, since I did that last animated video for my band, and have been making preparations and test clips for my next film project, I have been beating my head against the wall trying to improve the quality of the final product as it appears on YouTube. I was convinced that there was something I was doing wrong on my end with regards to the uploading process or with the way in which I was constructing the animation. This past weekend, I have discovered Vimeo, and it has been a revelation. The quality is so much better, and much closer to what the original looks like when I am working on it here at home. So anyhow, not that it probably matters to anyone but me, here’s the past two animated JJHD music videos in HD on Vimeo (I’d recommend taking the link to the Vimeo site to see them at full size rather than playing them here on my site)
First, the most recent film “Oh So Blue”:
Oh So Blue JJHD from Tim Foley on Vimeo.
And, the forerunner, and the first one I attempted last fall, “(not a big one)” — the quality on this one was not as big an issue, since I drew it at a much smaller size to begin with:
Had a rather slow week, but things have picked up for the coming week. I took advantage of the time to finish up an animated video project I had started last October. This is the second full length video I’ve done, based off of songs from our Jukejoint Handmedowns CD release ‘Everything But the Squeal’. This one was a bit more ambitious than the first film, with several ‘set pieces’, an actual ‘storyline’ of sorts, and a more complicated drawing style than the ‘quick sketch’ style I employed previously. I’ll be started on the next video soon, since we are hard at work on our follow up CD, and we should probably have a video to coincide with the release. I’ll likely need to ramp it up a further notch for the next one.
It’s been a long quiet summer, so it was nice to hear from three of my ‘regular clients’ this week following a long absence. Of course, it has been a long time since I’ve done this sort of quick turnaround concept driven material, so I felt a little rusty at first, but it was a comforting feeling to get back to work at the sort of projects that I’ve come to think of as being in my ‘sweet spot’.
The illustration above was a piece for Barrons on the defense budget, and below is a quick turnaround weekend assignment from the Wall Street Journal (which came to me while I was accompanying my Dad to one of his chemo treatments yesterday afternoon).
Back home in Grand Rapids now for a few weeks, as the first round of chemo is done for now and the next will be taking place after a few weeks rest.
In other news, ArtPrize has started up here in Grand Rapids this Wednesday, and for the first time, I’ve entered something in this annual competition. I normally wouldn’t have, but this was a group decision to enter a song in the new ‘song category’, and is entered on behalf of the Jukejoint Handmedowns. While I write half of the material for this group, and my partner writes the other half, the members decided to take a vote on the one song that would be entered, and it just happened to be one of mine. I was thinking of different ways of promoting the song, and the idea of an animated music video came to me this morning. I decided to devote much of my time today to working on trying to put together a full length animation to accompany the song entry. The animation is rather quick and sloppy (mostly because I wanted to get it done while I still had time to use it for promoting our entry), but this has given me a confidence boost, such that I may attempt a more ambitious project in the future.