Sunday, October 3, 2010

So You Want to Work With an Illustrator

I created this animation in response to clients who have approached me with questions about the process involved when working with an illustrator. I can understand the apprehension, but hopefully it will answer some of their questions. This movie can also be found on YouTube, so please feel free to post it, and share it with others as you see fit!

This is my first ever animation. It was a lot of work, and a very steep learning curve was involved. I'll take you through the process below.

My first step was to do a whole bunch of research into animation. I've had some of my illustration work adapted into animation in the past so I had a good understanding of how to construct the illustrations, plus I had some past experience using Adobe Flash so I had a good starting point. was my sole resource for learning the software involved for the animation and music. If you've never checked out their service it's worth your time. For the actual animation theory I turned to The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams. I'd recommend it to any who have an interest in animation.

Adobe After Effects was the workhorse behind the animation. While I'm aware that I've barely scratched the surface of the program, I now have a decent understanding of how to use it for my immediate needs.

The expanded "Marcus Puppet" showing all the parts involved.
I wrote a script and made a storyboard, both of which we're altered during the process as I learned what I was doing along the way. A big lesson that I learned was that it's extremely helpful to have it all sorted out in the beginning rather than having to fudge with it down the road. I then created most of the illustrations that I would need, adding a few more during the animating process (again, it's better to get this all organized ahead of time).

I bought a nice usb microphone and recorded the voices. A big thanks to my very helpful and co-operative wife Holly for voicing the role of Suzie. The audio was then edited and refined in Adobe Soundbooth which I also learned through

I started animating from the first shot and went shot by shot until the end. If you watch the animation closely you'll see my skills improve as it goes. The first bits are way too over animated and it looks like my character is flopping around like a fish. The cliche holds true kiddies; less is more!

I completed the animation and added the sound effects which were found at The music was composed in Garage Band which luckily came preloaded on my Mac. And it was all put together in Adobe Premier Pro. Once again, thanks to for teaching me to use both those programs.

Even though it was somewhat arduous, I had a good time making it. Hopefully I'll be able to create some more animated projects down the road.


  1. Amazing Work Marcus! Extremely professional and informative as well.

  2. Seriously amazing Marcus. You are a genius!
    - crystal

  3. Nicely done Marcus! I may forward this link to some of my clients, if you don't mind... Or even use it in a newsletter or blog of my own down the road - with appropriate credits, of course!