Motion Across Media Module 1: Basic Motion


In my first week of Motion Across Media, I learned about basic animation using Photoshop and Animate. I also branched out from those programs to dabble in ProCreate on my iPad. Using my mouse to create layered animation was fine, but it turns out that I can’t draw with my wireless mouse, and I found the onion skinning option in ProCreate to be far more user-friendly than in Photoshop.


Chapter one of Animated Storytelling by Liz Blazer explains in detail the importance of the pre-production process when creating an animated project. Instead of just diving in (which I am guilty of – especially in this module), Blazer urges her reader to fully develop their concept before putting ink on paper, or pixels on screen.

The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, “He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration” and an often misquoted statement by Thomas Edison goes, “We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.” These two quotes were in my mind as I read this chapter.

Blazer suggests that to be ready for your muse, and to know how to harness her once she has arrived, it is best to be prepared. The specific steps Blazer outlines in the chapter are to:

  • Start with a creative brief
    • write down basic information about your concept including what it is, who it is for, how long it must be, the objective, and when it’s due
  • Summon your muse by writing down everything that you can think of about your concept and then narrow those words down to a few main themes
  • Hone your pitch so that you may always go back to that one, succinct sentence for direction
  • Research, be inspired by other artists, and experiment with your own style
  • Be flexible to adjusting your concept based on the design process


During my own research process, I found several Gifs that were particularly inspiring or poignant.

The first gif I chose was this happy little dog. First, because I love happy dogs. Second, because my dog sits like that. Third, because I love how the animation is so minimal with only the wagging tail for movement.

I liked this gif because it reminded me of how the internet can make me feel sometimes… a constant stream of information that bums me out, and yet – I can’t stop scrolling.

I was drawn to this gif because it made me think of the work of Eadweard Muybridge, the father of the motion picture. Looking in the comments, it turns out his work was the inspiration for this gif!

Walt Disney’s Skeleton Dance Silly Symphony is basically made for the gif. This short animated film uses several short cuts of dancing skeletons that repeat against changing backgrounds. Also, I love me some dancing skeletons. And Disney.

Finally, a combination that I may love MORE than Disney and skeletons are tacos and skeletons. This gif speaks to me on a very deep level, as my center mass is also full of tacos. After trying many times to embed the link to this final gif, I’m giving up and linking to the artist’s Tumblr HERE.


So, finally the moment has come to share my three creations – each of them a true masterpiece.

I used Photoshop to create this layered neon sunset. Since I don’t draw as well as I’d like, I used a graphic from Canva and then cut, layered and edited the graphic in Photoshop.

This little buddy was also created using the cut and layer process in Photoshop. I took three images from Canva – the stars, the moon and the rocket ship, and then animated the rocket in layers.

Finally, the piece de resistance – The Evolution of Firehead SadFace. I created this little animation using the onion skinning method, but I opted to create the final project in ProCreate instead of in Photoshop. I was having a really tough time drawing using my mouse so I decided to use my iPad and Apple Pencil. As you can see, the final product is MUCH cleaner. This little guy was 54 separate drawings. Fun fact: I have a tattoo of Firehead SadFace, as do several people I know.

This is an example of three frames that I attempted to draw with my wireless mouse in photoshop. While the ProCreate final product was still choppy and a little weird, I wasn’t even able to make circles in Photoshop. Also, I liked the fact that I could adjust how many frames I wanted the onion skin to show in Procreate and also that I could go back and add frames between two completed frames, which I couldn’t figure out how to do in Photoshop.

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