Animate Children’s Books

Animate Children’s Books
In this video I show you how to animate Children’s Book illustrations in Anime Studio.

The sample animation is from the Children’s Book app Timo and the Magical Picture Book.

The app is available for iPad:
AppStore Timo and the Magical Picture Book

I produced the app together with a developer. I made all the animations of the app.
I got the original scans from the amazing Belgium illustrator Klaas Verplancke. The illustrations were used for a printed book. The scans were flat, so I needed to make them ready for animation.

Preparing illustrations in PhotoshopCreativeCave-Kinderboek-illustratie-bewerken
In Photoshop I separated the character from the background. When you do that you leave a gap in the background. I reconstruct the background by using several tools in Photoshop. With Content Aware you sometimes get nice results, but it does not work very well with illustrations. What I use most is the Spot Healing Brush and the Clone Stamp Tool. When you recreate an illustration, you need to remain in the style of the illustrator. In order to do that, I first study all the illustrations thoroughly. How does the artist draw his characters. What kind of techniques did he use. For Timo and the Magical Picture Book the illustrator used a mixed technique. He used watercolors, pencils and a fineliner. He also used different pieces of paper and a wallpaper print in the backgrounds. When you do animations with original illustrations the most part is setting up the PSD file to import in Anime Studio.

Anime Studio setting up your scene
In Anime Studio you can import your PSD file and it will create a layered document which has the same structure as you PSD-file.
On frame zero you can set up your character using bones to animate the parts of your character.
I spread all the parts from the character far apart from each other so they they won’t interfere with each other. If you put the parts too close together the bone strength of the bones will create strange artifacts to your image. When you are done with your setup, you can start animating your character by just using the bones. For this scene I created a walking cycle of 25 frames. On frame I created a loop from frame 1. I then animated the walking of the character from right to left by moving the Group Layer of the character.