Full Blown Animation Done Completely in Photoshop

N.A.S.A. “Gifted” from three legged legs on Vimeo.

Three Legged Legs, a new breed of directorial studio, created an animated commercial for Method Virgin and it was done entirely in photoshop! This software development company strayed away from traditional animating software such as illustrator because they wanted to keep a “wonkier hand drawn feel” to the commercial. If you visit the Method Virgin page on the Three Legged Legs site, you can view the original character sketches and storyboards, giving insight into the whole refining process of the project. This is especially apparent in the “Look and Feel” section, which explains why and how they came to the final color scheme used in the project. Perhaps my favorite feature on the Method Virgin project page is the initial and unfinished animation piece. This is all in black and gray and most of the characters and scenes are still rough looking but this is where you really get the “feel” of the movement and can develop a concept of how it was put together and animated.

For those of you still caught up on the news that Photoshop can create animation, I will do my best to explain – having never actually used Photoshop to create an animation. Open Photoshop and in the top nav, go to Window > Animation. You will see a new window appear on your screen. While missing some of the fancy features that Flash and AfterEffects contain, Photoshop does have enough to create an animation like in the video above. Here is how Three Legged Legs explains their method, “Not to spoil any secrets here, but we’re not doing anything particularly fancy in this project. The puppet tool was our greatest ally. As an extra bit of stylistic whiz bang (mostly to hide our limitations), we created a “2line” asset for every piece of art that was to be animating. That means, tracing every piece of flat work twice so there’s a little bit of wobble in the line work. We held these alternating drawings on 4’s so it didn’t get too flashy. As we animated our parent/puppet tool rigs, we de-smoothed the animation so it held on 2’s to give it more of a limited animation look and feel.”

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