Third Year: 3D to 2D

As Sun runs to the realm of Moon, the scenes will show him making his way to her.  The final scene will show Sun moving his hand into the darkness that is before him, the darkness that is the realm of Moon.  This is the first time of a transition taking place from 3D to 2D.  In this post I will make an update on how that process went, what programs were used and perhaps some difficulties I had during this.


I had set a deadline for the animations and thankfully I have made it!  Long nights with lots of render checks and adjustments here and there. Camera angles changed, environment pieces moved, but we have made it.

Now it was time to work on the transition scene, where Sun moves his hand into the darkness that is Moon’s realm.
Sun is a 3D character, and when I started this I thought it would be much simpler than it turned out to be. It shows the difference between frames of 2D and the frames of 3D.


I’ve created the scene with just a big black block in the 3D scenes in Maya. A steady camera was a must here because hands are difficult enough to create so when I add a moving camera it puts more work on my shoulders and it wouldn’t add much more to the scene as I had initially imagined it in the Storyboard.

I started animating in Tvpaint in a normal manner. The frames of the hand scene were a total of 17 frames.  Not many, but enough to make a clear movement. Whilst everything was rendering out I have been doing some hand studies just to remind my brain on how everything connects in order to create a faster workflow.  Just simple hand sketches, nothing fancy!
The orientation point of the hand and fingers from the 3D scene were a huge help just to imagine what the fingers were doing whilst I still wanted to have a nice flow to the 2d animation. I basically was counting finger digits throughout the animation to make sure the anatomy was correct.  Whilst I normally sketch an animation first, this time I was confident enough with my hand knowledge to right away pull through the lines (thanks to the hand studies that happened whilst the scene was rendering out.).


I also wanted to make sure that the way his hands were drawn were done in a way that later on in the scenes of 2D in Moon’s realm would be made in the same way.  The last thing I want is that the style of animation changes throughout the film.

Being a magical environment, I decided to add a little bit of fog to the fingers, as if he’s moving his fingers through dense air or mist.


And lastly, I added some colour.  Eventhough aesthetically this light blue line art on the hand going through the blackness was pretty pleasing to me, it wouldn’t make sense further on in the 2D world as Sun will be fully coloured throughout most of it.


Here I did a small test of nail colour.  I normally don’t draw hands with nails, but in this case I decided against my usual behaviour and gave him some nails.  The first thing I tried was giving the nails a normal skin colour, which didn’t read well. I then removed the nail colour which left his nails black.. and that didn’t read well either, so I decided to give his nails the colour of what the shadows on him will be later on in the animations, so a few shades darker.   I know that most won’t even notice these things, but it just makes me feel good to know that I’ve optimized the scene to my taste.

Now this was just a hand moving on 17 frames and so I’ve not gone through a lot of trouble creating it.  But as I worked on his body fully running through the scene  I faced some issues.  Mainly that there were much more frames of 3D than I would need in 2D.  Imagine having to create a one  step run on 150 frames.. That’s a whole lot of in betweening.  With that, I decided to keep a still animation for several frames and removed a few 3D frames just to have the 2D and 3D read better for those few seconds.


I’m still working on this one, but just to add image to what I just said in order to hopefully show a bit of what I meant. I am currently asking around for ideas on this last gif.  I want to show that there’s some force/pushback as he fully steps into the 2D world, and to this I want to add some effects, but which ones I’m not sure yet.  The colours read well from the transition from 3D to 2D and I’m sure that once the shadows are put on and I clean up the line art, plus edit the frames/timing in Premier Pro, it could turn out to be a great transition scene.

That’s my update for now! Back to work I go~



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