View Full Version : 2D animation technique

02-14-2013, 02:03 AM

Can anybody suggest how this technique is best done...


I hear there a feature in Photoshop CS6 that can record brush strokes etc. Would that work? Anyone tried it? Currently I'm using CS5 you see.


Kev xx

02-14-2013, 02:37 AM
Hi Kev,

personally I would do it all in reverse, starting with the finished frame and "rubbing" out the lines and saving out a sequence of frames, then reversing it in something like AE.



02-14-2013, 02:44 AM
Hmmm, I see. That seems quite intensive especially as there may be 90 seconds to do.

Would be good if I can record my strokes into a movie or, even better, an image sequence.

Thanks for the reply :)

Kev xx

02-14-2013, 02:47 AM

02-14-2013, 03:01 AM
If you can afford it, use TV Paint, once known as Aura or Mirage, things like this are easy.

02-14-2013, 03:27 AM
Oh, maybe thanks. Haven't really seen that before.

Looks like I could use the standard edition at €495 - Autopaint, right?


Kev xx

02-14-2013, 04:17 AM
How about this? http://www.wacom.com/products/mobile/inkling

I think it can play back what you do.

02-14-2013, 04:22 AM
I would be surprised if that whole thing wasn't done in AE with PSD layers. The difficult part with recording strokes would be timing. With AE you have to create masks on everything, but you have complete control over timing. Taking a look at the one scene where the guy's computer screen replicates the foreground animation, that looks like a AE composition duplicated, shrunk.

02-14-2013, 04:30 AM
Autopaint is one of the tools in TV paint. It might be easier to start of with a finished drawing and erasing it progressively, flip the sequence and you're done. Or, make a 'growing' matte on a different layer and use it to erase, this gives you more control over timing etc, you could use the stroke recorder for this though it's probably just as fast to simply draw it.

02-14-2013, 04:47 AM
This isn't a serious suggestion but I used to use a home brew program called Colors! for the Nintendo DS to do this sort of thing. Here's a comic strip I created showcasing the technique--click on the last panel to see it in action:

Streams: Homebrew (http://www.littlegreendog.com/comics/streams/streams004/streams004.php#.URzJi2cXasM)

I actually did a lot of paintings using this tool and the instant playback was not only fun, it was very revealing and educational to me. Here are some more of my Colors! doodles:

Greenlaw's Colors! Gallery (http://colorslive.com/author.php?id=1262)

Just hover your cursor over an image to see the playback. I've got a bunch more posted on my old sketch blog (http://doodledujour.blogspot.com/)--no playback though.

And here's the main gallery website for the program, nearly images all with hover playback enabled:

Colors Live (http://colorslive.com/)

Other programs I've used that have a similar playback feature is the ever excellent Corel Painter (http://www.corel.com/corel/product/index.jsp;jsessionid=2ZswDrK4hTE4xYS4rxhTpw**.prd-atg-commerce7?&skuId=ESDPTR12ENPCM&trkid=USsemKWS&1=1&storeKey=us&mapcounter=1&pid=prod4030123) and the wonderful Japanese illustration program OpenCanvas 5 (http://www.portalgraphics.net/en/). If you visit the PG Community section of the latter's website, you'll find many user submitted artwork with playback enabled.


02-14-2013, 05:41 AM
Kev, sorry didn't know that you had a lot to do. As you have , then as BigHache says using masks in AE would be a good bet (if you have AE that is) You can draw a mask path along your lines add a stroke effect to it, make the stroke thicker than your line and set the "paint style" to "reveal original image" You can then just animate the "end" of your line from 0 to 100% and it will draw on.


02-14-2013, 05:48 AM
Use the "write on" effect set to On Original Image, so you can see what your doing - animate the Brush Position. It may be easier to trace the path you need using a mask then copy and paste it onto the Brush Position. When done, set it to "On Transparent" so you can use it as a matte if you need. This will only give you a consistent line throughout, however. If you need the trace to be thicker in certain areas then use Particular, trace the path with the Emitter Position and animate the Size option. Make sure you have enough particles from the emitter so you don't get any gaps.

PS... and don't forget the super handy Linear and Radial Wipes, or the stroke effect on Masks, Trim Paths on Shape Layers.....

Ryan Roye
02-14-2013, 06:42 AM
A cleaner solution would be script-based, which distributes every iteration contained for undo into a single frame sequentially... I'm willing to bet that is the approach this artist used. Masking is impractical as you're essentially doing the work twice (with the second go-around being harder than the first).

A quick and dirty way to achieve this is to have unlimited undo levels, draw the picture, undo, set up screen capture, and re-do.

02-14-2013, 07:20 AM
Wow! Thanks for all the replies :)

Yeah, it's possible there will be a massive amount of masking to do. I think I'm going to download the demos of Painter and Open Canvas to see if I can do this with some retiming combined with some masking before starting to mask out each individual brush stroke. As you say, that would feel like doing it all twice.

Yep, I'm using After Effects, but I'm not exactly sure what the brief involves yet, just trying to get my head around the technique first :)

Thanks raw-m, I've never had to use the Write-on effect before. Just tried it, that could be useful indeed.

Greenlaw, those sketches are great fun to watch as they evolve!


Kev xx

02-14-2013, 07:53 AM
Just a quick one, nothing beats doing it by hand but, something like this is worth bearing in mind (would work for background elements, for instance):


Also, in AE check out the Scribble and Roughen Edges effects.

02-14-2013, 07:54 AM
If you can draw the itens in Illustrator, then you can convert them to Motion (an Apple motion graphics software) and use a behavior called write on. Simple as that.

02-14-2013, 08:39 AM
Oh, that'ts cool too. Can think of a time when I could have used that.

I managed to contact the guys that made it...


he said "It's somehow masked and it's made with flash. I considered doing it on a whiteboard but I'm not used to it and had not enough time to practice to have a good result so I faked it a bit."

So there we go ;)

Kev xx

02-14-2013, 08:54 AM
In addition to Aura and Corel Painter, I vaguely recall Satori Paint and CreatureHouse Expression (with LivingCels) offer recordable brush histories too. I think I have also tried this effect in a Toonboom software. My memory is old and fuzzy.

02-14-2013, 09:25 AM
Artrage (cheap compared to the rest) have recordable brushes too.

02-14-2013, 10:35 AM
A cleaner solution would be script-based...
Interesting you should say that because the three drawing programs I mentioned above are all using scripts when they play back a drawing session, which is why they can play so quickly online. Being script based also meant timing can be changed and the output is resolution independent. For example, the system in Colors! allows me to 're-paint' an image up to 4k after I off-load the file from the Nintendo DS to my PC.

I actually used the recording system in Painter in a test for a job recently where we needed to have a 2-and-a-half-D painting 'come to life' so to speak. The trick here was to do my pencils in a separate layer, enable recording and start tracing the art way I wanted the image to 'draw on'. Then, when I played back the session, I disabled the pencil layer from the script and rendered out the sequence. For re-timing, I made sure the sequence was a lot longer than needed so I could compress the sequence to the speed I actually wanted in compositing and simply throw out the frames I didn't need. Not saying this is the way you should do it, it was just a solution that worked for me on that particular assignment.


02-14-2013, 10:43 AM
Art Rage has this feature? Shame on me for not knowing since I use this program often too. :p