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How Teens Animate with Photoshop and Cartoon Animator


About Jop Govers

Salutations to my fellow animators and animation fans around the world! My name is Jop, and three years ago, I embarked on a journey to master the craft of animation. My tool of choice is Cartoon Animator, especially its latest edition, CTA5. If you have a chance to check out its features, you’ll notice that it is chock-full of awesome features, which I have also explored in my short animation.

Storyboarding with Photoshop

It all begins with an idea, which I jot down using keywords and sketches on my iPad. Once my thoughts are captured, I create all my panels in Photoshop. This saves me a lot of time and allows me to visualize what visuals or action sequences work best for my story. My storyboards are usually loose and sketchy, often featuring stick figures instead of detailed characters. As long as they serve the purpose of establishing the story, they don’t have to be perfect. The initial steps of creating an animation aren’t very different from those of a painter or sculptor, that is starting out with the broad strokes before splitting hairs.

Creating Background Art

To set the stage for my story, I envisioned a desolate desert landscape, a place where you wouldn’t want your car to break down. Starting with a basic horizon line in my initial sketch, I gradually added layers to create a sense of depth and dimension. With Cartoon Animator 5, I was able to layer the mountains and ground planes to give the scene more visual interest and enhance the dynamic camera movements in my animation.

To populate the scene, I drew various reusable props such as loose rocks, cacti, and skulls, which I scattered strategically in different backgrounds throughout the story. Not only did these props save me time, but they also helped maintain visual consistency and continuity between scenes.

2D Character Design

To rig my characters, I used Reallusion’s PSD templates, which are incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. All I had to do was swap out the default 2D character design and sprites with my own creations. If you’re just starting out with animation, I recommend studying existing examples of how the rigging templates work and how characters move their joints and facial features. Reallusion’s website has plenty of examples, and you can also find helpful videos and courses on platforms like YouTube. While it may require some time investment, it will definitely pay off in the end, as it did for me when I was a beginner at rigging.

Create Animated 2D Character

Cartoon Animator 5 has a great feature called the 360 Head and Facial Animation Set Up. If you set up your character properly in a PSD Editor beforehand, it becomes simple to use in CTA5 with these tools.

2D character animation

I then began outlining the movements by keyframing essential actions and facial expressions. The only exception was utilizing a 3D walk cycle, which makes 2D character animation in CTA5 a breeze. Here I rest easy and let the new features in CTA5 bring my 2D character to life.

Compositing in After Effects

For compositing, I relied on After Effects. I utilize various blurs with different blending modes to achieve a more cinematic look, and also apply basic color correction techniques such as saturation and color filters.

Video Editing and Sound Design

My editing process began by combining my voice-over with the storyboard panels. As I completed my animation scenes, I replaced the storyboard panels with the final animation clips. I want to give a special shout-out to my talented friends at Studio Ghibletz who helped me with their amazing voice-over and writing for my project.

Wrapping Up

I highly recommend CTA 5 for all users, for beginners and pros alike as it is an easy-to-learn and intuitive-to-use animation tool. CTA 5 includes a bunch of user-friendly features and toolsets which give me the ability to unleash my creativity without compromise. Like no other tool I tried in the past, CTA really allowed me to kick-start my dream to become an animator. I therefore am, for sure, a great fan and will keep on using it for many projects to come. 

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