Fast Fable vol.1
Design and animate a sky fishy that just keeps swimming. Make easy and effective graphics, create realistic movement by duplicating and offsetting keyframes, and generate a reactive shadow by parenting layers.
Want to learn more about the techniques in this chapter?
Check out Parenting.
Hey guys, and welcome to the first Fast Fable. Today we're going to be designing and animating this fish with very simple shapes and only a few keyframes. It's going to have a duration of two seconds, but we're going to make it loop so it can go on forever. We're going to start by designing the eyes and mouth.
Grab the ellipse tool and draw a small circle. Duplicate it, scale it up, change the fill to white, and we have an eye. Duplicate it again and you have two eyes. Now draw a tiny mouth in the middle and we have officially created a face devoid of any emotion.
For the body, we're going to use a circle, but for the other fishy parts we'll take the pen tool and draw some fins and a tail. We're going to stick all of it behind the body, except for the right fin.
Now we don't want the eyes bulging out of the fish. So we're going to mask the face, using the body layer. To not lose the stroke where the body is clipping the face, duplicate the body layer, remove the fill and bring it over everything else like this.
Okay. Let's start moving things. The first key pose at zero seconds will be the fish facing forward, but we're going to bring in the tail just a little bit, so it sits right behind the body.
For the second key pose at the one second mark, we're going to bring the tail back out again, move the eyes and mouth towards the left, bring in the fins towards the center of the body and rotate the top fin to the right.
The idea is to create a rotating effect when moving from the first key pose to the next. We're going to create a loop by copying the keyframes from zero seconds to the two second mark.
Now we want to offset the tail to make it a little more natural. To do this we want to push the tail layer forward to the first second. Copy the second frame and paste it right behind the first one. Shift the layer back a little bit to make sure the original first frame is slightly offset from where it used to be. And there it is, a hyper realistic fish tail simulation.
To make the fish flow with a little bit more grace, we're going to have it move from side to side. We're using the same principle as the tail. We want to offset the movement to make it feel more natural.
Now let's add a ground plane by using the rectangle tool. Change the background color to this intense blue, and let's add some clouds. Take the ellipse tool and draw a ton of circles in different sizes, select all of them and use the union tool to merge them together at a stroke, and we have a cloud.
Finally, we're going to have the fishy cast a shadow. To do this we're going to duplicate the fish, squish it into the ground and add a black fill. We want to parent the shadow to the original fishy and delete the keyframes.
And there you have it folks, a fish full of joy, swimming through the air.
Bite-size motion design aperitif