An Animated Magician’s Assistant

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Individual cells of the animated magician's assistant laid out in a row

I had a bunch of ideas for the topic of magician’s assistant. Three of them stood out enough through my own internal mental vetting process to last beyond vague musings. Two of them were fairly elaborate drawings that would have taken a lot of detailed rendering, the third required me to draw many, many drawings. Obviously, I choose the third one.

I’ve always wanted to get into hand-drawn animation, but I’ve never tried it seriously. This seemed like as good an excuse as any to dive in. So, here you have our magician’s assistant, rendered in pencil on 9 sheets of A4 photocopy paper, and then put together and timed on the computer in GIMP to create the animated GIF. Enjoy.

(600K file so give it some time to load)
Animated gif of a magician's assistant bowing

13 thoughts on “An Animated Magician’s Assistant

  1. It’s brilliant! i loved it! 😀 Magic magic too. I want to know how all your images end up looking so white while mine look dark, the colour of the paper can be seen.

    • Mere drawings aapke drawings se safed kyun? 😀

      First off, do you scan your pictures in or photograph them? I scan them and that makes it a little easier to get whiter results for the paper. Also, I use white photocopy paper, so that helps.

      Beyond that, once I have it on the computer, I do adjust contrast and gamma/brightness till I have a cleaner result. Especially with things like pencil and blue fountain pen, which I use often, such adjustments are required to get it to look like the real thing. I’m guessing black pen on white paper would give cleaner results with less adjustment.

    • Thanks Maija. Since that particular movement was the most complex, with the hat flipping over along the way, I guess I paid it the most attention.

      I’m finding daily doodles to be the perfect excuse for all manner of mad experiments. 🙂

  2. Samir, thanks for the Nirma ad:P
    I hate you for using a lot of fancy technical terms, suffice it to say, I’m sending my next drawing to you and you are processing it for me so that I can get an idea of how to make my drawings look fair and lovely too. I photograph them, India had not heard of the term scanners and they are not easily available in an Interior designers office. SO HELP!

    • Since scanners were a lot less expensive than digital cameras when I started needing one of them (they still are for the most part), I got a scanner first and got used to that. 🙂

      Anyway, taking a picture with a camera isn’t a bad thing. It can work perfectly well. Now to throw out some more technical terms! … In the camera itself, try to use the macro mode to get a better focus on the paper, that will automatically get you a better exposure. Also set exposure compensation (+/-) to +1 or +2 to get a brighter image.

      Then the adjustments I described above can be applied to the image, although you will need less of it. As far as the adjustments go, I can always walk you through something like this on chat at some point, if you like.

  3. As someone who gets to see more of the behind-the-scenes work on your drawings than others here, I should mention here in writing that I think you really, really should finish the other illustration ideas you had for this topic.

  4. OMG YOU ANIMATED. *squeeeee*

    You get magical internet cookies for this, Samir! Very nice job on such a simple animation, it moves really smooth – i love that you did this. It would have been easy for you to have just made her bow, but the addition of the little bird in her hat and the magician lady looking over seals it and makes it really alive.

    Today’s Doodle seems to really promote lots of experimentation (I feel it too). Yeah doodlin’!

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