tracing techniques

Animation Process Part 1: Thumbnailing, Keys, and Extremes

A week or so ago I finally finished this little dance animation that I’ve been chipping away at in my spare time! In the end it took me about 45 hours over the course of 8 months.

I documented each stage of the process in gifs and wanted to share in order to give anyone just starting out an insight into my workflow and how I break a complex motion into digestible, accomplish-able chunks so that I don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of work that’s ahead.

In this first part I’m going explain a little bit of my approach to thumbnailing. The great thing about this part of the hand drawn animation process is that I would approach it the same way in ANY piece of software. This stage is just about drawing and timing. Even the lowest tier programs can do that. It’s not until the cleanup stage that any of the bells and whistles matter.

The Research Stuff

Before starting any drawings I like to search around youtube for inspiration; especially if it’s an action I’m not entirely familiar with. I had just watched the webseries The Earliest Show in which Lauren Lapkus and Ben Schwartz do a lot of really great dancing, so I studied a couple of those frame by frame. I also looked at some swing dancing competition videos to get a feel for the basic steps.

For stuff like dancing or even playing an instrument I’m not familiar with I like to sometimes look up a couple beginners’ tutorials just to get some ideas for how to approach the movement.

This isn’t days of research. It’s just half an hour to an hour to get a feel for what you want to accomplish. Anything more than that and it can easily turn into procrastination.

The Drawing Stuff

Once I’m satisfied with my research I begin the thumbnailing process. As you can see, my drawings at this point are only slightly more detailed than a stick figure. I’m not worried at all about mass, I’m just trying to nail down some simple, clear poses.

The Animation Stuff

In order to not be overwhelmed by everything I like to approach scenes in a very systematic way. I’d say 90% of the animation I do is Pose to Pose meaning that I break actions up into 4 different types of drawings

Keys: The main storytelling poses. If the story of the shot is “Man hears news and is disappointed” then you only have two keys to do - the man hearing the news, and the man being disappointed. I’m not thinking about how he’s going to get from pose to pose at this point, I’m just thinking “What’s the best drawing to show that this man is really disappointed”.

Extremes: These are all the poses that have to be there in order for the action to work. If someone is walking across the room it’s every drawing where their feet make contact with the ground. If someone’s jumping in the air it’s the anticipation down and the highest point of their arc. The way I think of them is that they’re the furthest up, down, left, and right the character is going to go as well as any drawing where they make contact.

Breakdowns: These are the poses that establish or reinforce the physics behind the motion. If an arm is swinging forward and the hand drags behind this is the drawing that shows that. When a character does a high kick and puts the entire weight of their body into it this is the drawing that shows the hips shoving forward as the foot just starts to lift from the ground.

Inbetweens: The drawings that smooth out and polish the movement. Here I’m focused solely on the spacing of the drawings. Is it slowing out or slowing in? How far do I want to favor one way or the other? What’s the shape of the path of action? Are the drawings following a nice arc?

This is one of many ways to categorize the drawings. I’ve seen a lot of people who combine extremes into their keys phase, and others who combine extremes into their breakdown phase, and others still who do breakdowns while they’re inbetweening. This is just what works for me.

(For a more thorough explanation of Keys, Extremes, Breakdowns, and Inbetweens see pages 64-68 of Richard Williams’ The Animator’s Survival Kit)

For the thumbnails I’m only focusing on the Keys and the Extremes.

First I do the keys which for the first dance involve these four drawings:

As you can see there’s no thought about the weight of the movement. That’s fine. I’m just establishing how he’s going to hit each accent.

From there we go to the Extremes

Here I start to add a little bit of weight to it. The main things the extremes (in green) are establishing is the foot pattern. How is he passing his weight from one leg to the other?

With the torso I wanted to loosen it up a little bit. If you look at the keys they all have a really similar line of action. I reversed the line of action for the extremes which adds more change of shape and helps it feel more lively - even at this early stage

The arms are just establishing the passing positions of the arm swing. They’re fairly straightforward.

If you notice, these extremes have a lot of qualities of breakdowns in them. If I had to label them more precisely I’d say that what I’m calling the extremes are the contact drawings of the legs combined with the passing positions (breakdowns) of the upper body. I call them extremes instead of breakdowns because the legs are the most important part of these drawings and I wouldn’t consider those legs broken down at all; they’re just contact drawings. These hybrid drawings are the reason that so many animators categorize drawings differently. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you call any of this stuff as long as it makes sense to you and the end result looks good.

The Technical Stuff

At this point the entire animation is just a rough drawing on one layer. I would do this exactly the same in Harmony, Flash, Photoshop, or TV Paint. As long as you have drawing tools and a timeline you can thumbnail out animation like this

Extra Pro tip: It’s really helpful at this stage to establish some kind of basic ground plane or perspective - even if it’s just a character dancing in a void. This really helped keep the 3 Dimensional space in mind while planning his footwork. It also reminded me to have the character lean a little forward and backward in Z space as he’s moving. It’s easy to forget that kind of stuff when a character’s facing camera. Without it the animation will always feel a little flat.

That’s it for my thumbnailing process! If you found it helpful check out the next posts in the series!
Part 2: Rough Keys/Extremes and the Shift and Trace Technique

Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921-2011)  was an American medical physicist, and a co-winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Yalow was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and she received the National Medal of Science in 1988.

Yalow is most known for the development of the radioimmunoassay (RIA). RIA is a radioisotope tracing technique that uses antibodies to measure small amounts of biological substances in fluids. She first developed  it to study blood insulin levels in diabetes patients, and the method is still used widely today.

Drawing - Drabble

A/N: Based on a list of random sentences, that inspired those drabbles


You were super excited, you had discovered something new about your powers.

You and Wanda were practicing and then suddenly a wave of shocks escaped from your hands. There were no previous thoughts, it just simply happened.

The Sokovian looked at you, surprise written all over her face, and met the same expression on your face.

“I didn’t know you could do that.”

“Neither did I.”

And there was a person you wanted to show your new abilities: Bucky Barnes.

During this time of the day, he was probably brooding, looking over the window while scribbling something on his notebooks or sketching. Maybe Steve was with him, which would make your job easier, because that something the blonde man needed to know.

It could help during planning on upcoming missions, attacking the attention of the bad guys to distract them from the civilians.

You found Bucky on the third window you checked, a pencil and a notebook in his.

“Buck, Buck, Buck, Buck, Buck,” you ran to him and his eyes widened before closing the notebook, not letting you see what was in there.

“What’s up, doll?”

You told him the experience with your new powers, how surprised you were that you spent your whole life without knowing it existed.

He clinged to every word that fell from your lips, his once tense posture from when you walked into the room had melted to the ex-assassin resting his elbows on his knees, the notebook still in hands.

A notebook that had a paper not attached to it inside. A paper that had fallen mid-way off from the notebook.

Your eyes caught the sketch. “Is that a drawing of me?”

His eyes went wide once again and his ears got a light shade of red as he scrambled to hide the drawing in between the pages.

“No, doll, why would you think that?” he scoffed.

You raised an eyebrow at him, a smirk on your lips.

He sighed and ducked his head, his eyes trained on the floor. “It is.”

You sat by his side, excitement taking over you. “May I see?”

Bucky gulped, but nodded. He offered you his notebook and you soon found the one featuring you. Along with plenty others.

The ex-assassin observed you and you observed them all, awestruck at his firm traces, his technique. You had never seen something he drew before.

“Bucky, those are amazing,” you managed to say, which only caused his eyes to move to the floor again. He was so scared you’d be mad that you were his muse.

“Can I see more?”

✨Let sorority sugar help you with some step-by-step instructions for crafting unique sister gifts this holiday season! Here are several guides to handcrafting adorable gifts for your favorite sisters. ✨

Top 7 Craft Letter Tracing Techniques

How to Decorate a Sorority Clipboard

How to Make Sorority Instagram Photo Coasters

How to Paint a Sorority Preppy Mason Jar

How to Paint Sorority Canvas Shoes

How to Paint a Wooden Badge Box

How to Paint a Wooden Sorority Chair

The Super Ultimate Guide to Cooler Painting

Top 15 Tips for Crafting a Fabulous Paddle

✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨

🎨 Top 7 sorority canvas & craft letter tracing techniques!  🎨

Q: What are some tips for painting canvases? Every time I try the letters turn out bad, or it looks sloppy… Any ideas?

A: You must TRACE the lettering instead of trying to freehand it. Letters can make a perfectly painted canvas look messy if they are not traced neatly. That’s the problem you are running into. There are several different tracing techniques that can be used on canvases, coolers and other crafted gifts.

✰ Using attractive fonts from your computer is the first step. If you don’t already have fonts you like, use a source like this:

✰ First paint your decorative canvas with the pattern or solid color you desire. Lettering will be the finishing touch on top of your painted design. To get the letter size you need, you may need to print several pieces of paper from your computer, or even one letter per page for large canvases. Use a ruler to space your letters evenly if needed. 

🎨   TOP 7 Ways to Paint Sorority Quotes & Letters on Canvas:  🎨

✰ Chocopaper/Carbon Paper Tracing Technique: 

  • From your computer ~ print your font on paper in the correct size for your canvas. This may take more than one sheet of paper, depending on the font size.
  • Gently tape the font paper to the painted canvas with painter’s tape. 
  • Slip a piece of Chocopaper/carbon paper between the font paper and the canvas.  
  • Place a book under your canvas to keep the surface firm and to keep it from stretching. 
  • Trace the letters with a ball point pen. 
  • Remove the font paper and the transfer paper and there will be a light outline of your lettering left on the canvas. Fill in with acrylic paints. 

✰ Tissue/Tracing Paper Technique:

  • From your computer ~ print your font on paper in the correct size for your canvas.
  • Place issue paper, or other translucent paper, over the font print-out and trace the letters with a pencil.
  • Place the tissue paper on the painted canvas and secure it with a few pieces of painter’s tape. Trace the letters with a fine to medium point Sharpie (not a thick Sharpie). The ink will bleed through and create the lines. 
  • Once the outline is traced, remove the tissue and paint the lettering in your desired colors. 

✰ Acrylic Letter Technique: 

  • Purchase removable acrylic letters at the craft store. 
  • Place onto the painted canvas and trace around the edges of each letter. 
  • Peel off the acrylic letters and paint within the traced lines.

✰ DIY a Stencil Technique:  

  • Most stenciled letters look like stencils. But you can make a more attractive stencil from your favorite computer font. 
  • From your computer ~ print your font on paper in the correct size for your canvas. A bolder, straight-edged style works best. 
  • Cut out the letters, creating your own stencil. 
  • Lightly tape the stencil over your painted canvas and trace the inside of the letters.
  • Peel off the stencil and paint within the lettering lines. 

✰ Chalk Technique: 

  • From your computer ~ print your font on paper in the correct size for your canvas.
  • Cover the back of your paper with white chalk by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk over the surface. 
  • Turn the paper over to the printed font side and lightly tape it to your painted canvas. 
  • Place a book under the canvas to keep it firm. 
  • With a ballpoint pen trace over the words. 
  • Remove the paper and there should be a chalk outline of your wording. Fill in the letters with paint. 

✰ Pencil Technique: 

  • From your computer ~ print your font on paper in the correct size for your canvas.
  • Turn the paper over and cover the back of each letter with pencil marks. 
  • Lay the paper font side up/pencil side down onto the painted canvas. But a book behind the canvas center to avoid stretching. 
  • Trace the font lettering with a ballpoint pen. The backside pencil lead will leave a tracing on your canvas. 
  • Remove the paper and fill in your letters with acrylic paint. 
  • If there are any stray pencil lead smudges, you can remove them with a baby wipe once all the paint is dry. 

✰ Mod Podge Technique: 

  • From your computer ~ print your font on paper in the correct size for your canvas. 
  • Precisely cut out your letters and Mod Podge them on to your painted canvas. 
  • Once dry, paint over your lettering with acrylic paints. The paper letters stay in place and serve as your template. 
  • This technique is best when using bolder, straight-edged letters that are easier to cut out. If using a curly script font, cut carefully with an x-acto knife. 
  • Mod Podging and painting over letters, images, or logos is also a favorite technique for cooler painting. 
  • Variation: cut out letters in decorative paper and Mod Podge them onto your painted canvas for a collage look. You don’t need to paint over these letters. 

✰ “NEAT” canvas lettering inspiration: 

therefrigeratorlight  asked:

(sorry if you've done this before but,) do you think you could make kind of rough timeline thingy of what steps you've taken in your acting career so far? you're living the dream mac seriously

Yes! Here goes my rough sketch:

I didn’t start acting until I was 14. It has always been something that I thought was cool, but was never brave enough to do it until then.

I was 14 when I joined Barbizon, a modeling and acting school. At the time, I was really interested in modeling and learning makeup techniques (I also wanted to be a makeup artist). Long story short, I wasn’t very good at modeling. But then we were given beauty commercial scripts to practice..and I just loved it. It felt like a light switched on in my mind and I realized I loved acting a whole lot more than modeling. And it felt more comfortable to me. So that’s actually HOW I even found out that I liked acting.

When I was 15 I went to IMTA (International Modeling and Talent Association) in New York City. I participated in some acting and modeling competitions, and won second place in the monologue competition. That’s when I started gaining confidence in myself. 

After IMTA, I got some callbacks from agents but they were all New York-based, and I live in Arizona. I kept in contact with one (who shall not be named) who was really interested in me and worked close with Disney, but was hesitant in signing me because I was still in school and basically had the “move to LA and THEN we’ll talk” attitude. I kept his contact info and continued training back home.

Back in Arizona, I strayed from Barbizon simply because they are a more model-oriented business, and I knew that it wasn’t what was absolutely best for me. Some people say Barbizon is a scam, but for me, it is the reason I found myself and gained the confidence that I needed. I started acting lessons at Dearing Studio (amazing place, amazing people. If you’re looking for an acting studio in the Phoenix area, I highly recommend them). I also trained a couple times a week with a private instructor who has a lot of connections in LA. She was able to get me into a lot of seminars by casting directors from the LA area. These are amazing opportunities because you get to hear about what casting directors are looking for..FROM casting directors. And then you get to perform a couple of scenes in front of them. And it can be super scary if you let your brain go crazy, but it’s so worth it. I was around 16 at the time, and I worked with people from ABC, Disney, Nick, etc, but never got a callback. It got a little saddening sometimes, but in the end, these seminars were always great exposure as well as great ways to learn from your mistakes. 

Believe it or not, a lot of audition opportunities are posted on Facebook. My mom (I owe her everything) spent a lot of time as my manager to find me auditions while I focused on school. Some of these auditions were for small roles in a local film school project, while others were for things like Austin & Ally. Sometimes I would go straight from school to an audition, while other times I just had to film myself and email my video somewhere. That was basically my entire sophomore & junior year of high school.

The summer before my senior year, I got a casting call for a Primavera commercial. I auditioned, and got the role. It’s not a speaking role, but it’s about a 30 second commercial aired on TV in Arizona. It was a big deal for me. This was the first time I really auditioned for something and got a “yes!!” I still see it on TV sometimes.

Then in October, things started speeding up. I made the grocery store video to Shake It Off and it sky-rocketed a lot more than I ever expected it to. Even though my “dancing” in that video isn’t directly correlated to acting, I still thought it had some traces of improv techniques? Maybe? And according to the amount of views, some people think it’s at least funny. So I thought, why not? And sent it to the casting director I met in New York 2 years before. At the same time, my prior agent from Barbizon started calling a bunch of agents in LA trying to get me at least a meeting with one of them. After seeing the video, 4 agents wanted to meet with me. So I packed up a backpack and hopped on a flight to LA. You know those stories of Taylor driving around Nashville with her mom passing out demos and being like, “hi.I’m Taylor..I want a record deal…gimme a call…” THAT’S WHAT THIS TRIP FELT LIKE. That day, I met with four big agencies, one of them being the one I met at IMTA in New York. For some reason, I had the most faith in this person. I just felt like he would give me a chance. And in the phone calls leading up to my arrival, he made it sound like I had a chance. But then he never showed up. And I performed monologues…for his assistant. And his assistant said, “you’re good! don’t live in LA. and you’re not 18 yet. Call us when you move here.” I could’ve called them now that I am 18 and am moving to LA. but the thought STILL remains with me to this day: Why would I want someone who doesn’t really believe in me to represent me? ..I met with 2 of the other agencies and they gave me the same thing. “You’re not 18, you live in Arizona. Call us when you graduate.” I met with the last agency with little hope. I performed my monologues, and they signed me on the spot. WITHOUT mumbling “you don’t live here..” and WITHOUT mumbling “you’re 17 and still in school…” Just showed their belief in me. And that was all I needed to trust them. SO, I am currently with Brilliant Talent Management. They are not an agency, but they are my management. They help me find auditions and submit my resume and picture to things in LA. 

Since that trip, I have kept sending in audition tapes for various projects. I am in two student film projects, I auditioned for a web series called “Tradecraft Blues,” and got the role as one of the main daughters. I filmed the pilot for this in September, but the producer is currently trying to pitch the pilot to Hulu/Netflix/Sony/other outlets. Sony is very interested. I got another Primavera Commercial which is still aired on TV, with some promo pictures in print ads and..a random billboard along the highway, LOL..I’ll be on the Discovery Channel sometime in September/October. My most recent audition is for a SAG movie “I’m Going to Graceland.” Being a part of this movie means that I will be SAG eligible, which is a big step for me. A lot of LA projects, shows, casting notices are SAG only. So by being in this movie, I will have a lot more doors open to me in LA. I sent in an audition tape for this on Monday, and heard not even 24 hours later that I got the lead. It’s too early to tell a lot of details, but I will share the the info I am allowed to as soon as I know. I’m going to LA in two weeks to meet the directors and producers and take some promo pictures, sign contracts, etc. Unreal. 

..Sorry if this was messy. It’s 12:23.

🎨 get the look: how to paint sorority canvas shoes! 🎨

Painted sorority Keds and Toms are super fun for bid day, big/little reveal and any day! Get the look with these step-by-step instructions for creating your footwear works of art. They are totally wearable and a FAB way to show your greek pride all around campus.


  • Pair of white canvas sneakers (Keds), or white/ivory slip-ons (Toms), or similar brands. 
  • 1-2" blue painter’s tape
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint pens and/or Sharpies
  • Firm small brushes
  • Tissue paper
  • Pencil for tracing or penciling freehand 
  • Tracing paper for preferred technique
  • Nail polish remover & Q-tips
  • Clear matte sealing spray such as Krylon

❉ STEP 1 Prep the Shoes: 

  • Remove the laces if you are painting Keds. 
  • Tape all around the sole with the blue painter’s tape, protecting the edges from stray paint.
  • Stuff tissue paper in the toes of the shoes to keep your painting surface firm.

❉ STEP 2 Lightly Trace Your Design:

  • With a pencil, lightly freehand your design. Or trace one using your favorite tracing technique. Please refer to the sorority sugar Letter Tracing Guide for different ways to trace. 
  • Another option is to print a design from the computer, cut it out and use it as a “stencil.” Secure your stencil with pins and lightly trace around it.

❉ STEP 3 Paint the Design:

  • Using firm, small brushes paint your design on the canvas surface. 
  • A light touch works better than a heavy application.
  • Accent and outline with paint pens and/or colored Sharpies.
  • If there are multiple layers to your design, allow for drying time.

❉ STEP 4 Finishing Touches:  

  • After shoes are completely dry, spray clear sealant over the painted surface.
  • Remove the blue painter’s tape. 
  • Touch up any stray paint spots with a Q-tip and nail polish remover.
  • Remove the tissue paper inside the toes.
  • Re-lace the shoes if you painted Keds.

{DIY photos & info from: google search}

🎨   🎨   🎨   🎨   🎨  🎨   🎨   🎨   🎨   🎨 🎨   🎨   🎨   🎨   🎨

In preparation for his Dungeons & Dragons play group this weekend, the boy worked on his dragon-born chaotic rogue character design. I showed the boy the light-under-the-glass-coffee-table-trace technique that I used as a kid. The boy’s designs are pretty good!


Mad Max: Center Framed - Vashi Nedomansky

Film Editor Margaret Sixel was given over 480 hours of footage to create MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. The final edit ran 120 minutes and consisted of 2700 individual shots. One of the many reasons MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is so successful as an action film is the editing style. By using “Eye Trace” and “Crosshair Framing” techniques during the shooting, the editor could keep the important visual information vital in one spot…the Center of the Frame.

Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterclass in editing. Here are some tips for framing and editing fast paced action scenes. Narrated by DP John Seale.

Beaded Heart Pendant

I got my inspiration for this project on Pinterest. This is the pin that I’m talking about. This was the first time using these techniques: tracing an image with wire and adding beads to a wire base shape. I’m really glad with how my pendant turned out and I think the colour combination looks great! I really hope you like it too :)

Okay so here are my drawings of Sebastian next to each other and the 2nd photo I will explain.

I do not trace. The underneath picture is a line drawing done with drawing pens. Mind you, I waste lots of paper perfecting the line drawing. And you can’t label me as a tracer cause I do not have a printer of my own, nor are there any working printers in my home.

What I do is then put a blank paper on top and do the shading on the blank piece, thus making it a “line free” finished drawing. The light box is merely a tool I use to help with my shading.

Here ya go, then. Both are going to be sent to you, Sebastian. I will actually be laminating (hopefully spelled right) and then framing them together before sending them. Mostly cause I really don’t want them damaged or smudged along the way. Plus it will look fancy as hell.

(do not remove caption please)

1.  Paco Huamán

As legend has it, Paco Huamán arrived in Philadelphia from his native Peru bereft but for the poncho on his back and six other ponchos in his carry-on. He understood a mere three words of English: “hello,” “positronium,” and “equine.” In time, Huamán joined a group of fellow Peruvians in Franklin Square, performing native songs for appreciative tourists who had scheduled trips to Philadelphia without realizing that there was nothing to do there. Huamán played second pan pipe.

Months passed with little fanfare until the fateful day when University of Pennsylvania Professor Dr. Herr Günter Frederickson, Ph.D., a world music authority with a specialty in poor-looking people, happened upon the band. As Professor Frederickson later described in the liner notes to El Intróducioñemente Paco: “This was no mere street musician, but a maestro of the pan pipe. I could instantly identify the sophistication of Huamán’s breathing technique while tracing the lineage of his rhythmic articulations to the nomadic Qotico tribe that, in the 17th century, traversed the area we recognize today as Peru and El Salvador.” Under Professor Frederickson’s tutelage, Huamán toured throughout America and Europe while recording two acclaimed albums. Critics raved about Huamán’s breathing technique and Qotico-derived articulations. All agreed that it was among the best pan-pipe music set to record, reflecting an authenticity lacking from the chintz so recognizable from public squares the world over.

Scandal, however, rained upon the Huamán camp after the pan pipest was booked on a tour of his homeland. Although most modern Peruvians loathe pan-pipe music, tickets sold briskly on account of Huamán’s growing international repute. Soon after the musician assumed the stage, draped in his trademark golden poncho, laughter spread through the concert hall. Huamán, the so-called maestro of the pan pipes, clearly had no proficiency beyond that of the average nine-year-old. And, come to think of it, the pipe-smoking professor who introduced him onstage had not been speaking Spanish at all, but rather reciting the ingredients of a Choco Taco in a smart-sounding German accent. Professor Frederickson was a fraud: Thoroughly unversed in world music and ignorant of all languages but his native English (spoken with a fake German accent), it turned out that he had won the designation “Professor” from a voluble street person to whom he was in the practice of giving loose change.

Because he was tenured and sexually involved with two of the university’s deans, Frederickson remains on faculty at Penn. His protégé Huamán, however, currently plays pan pipes for tourists in Franklin Square, the only sign of his glory days being his faded gold poncho.