Digital skeletons

15 Feb 2023 | Industry insights, News
Screenshot-2023-02-15-at-09.40.54 LION-ROAR screen-shot-2 screen-shot-1 Graph-complete-still Gradient with White R

Over the last two months the Reuzer team, along with long term collaborators Andy Ward and TIPS for Good Management have been hard at work creating some slick, eye-catching digital learning resources for the next generation of business leaders.

Along the way, we’ve pushed the boundaries, tried a few new pieces of software, and moved up a gear – especially when it comes to 2D animation development.

In this article, our multi-talented Creative Media Designer Samuel Stephenson-Dawss talk us through some of our findings.

Over to Sam…

When it comes to creating a digital learning resource on a topic such as conflict resolution, it’s essential to have engaging visuals that effectively convey the message. And instead of relying on stock assets that vaguely point our users in the right direction, we needed something better, clearer and more visually appealing, because at Reuzer we won’t settle for less.

With 3D animation out of the question due to deadline and budget constraints, we leaned on a favourable method of 2D animation. However, creating complex character and animal animations from scratch can still be time-consuming and expensive, and with half an eye on budget and a looming deadline, we needed to think outside the box. That’s where the After Effects plugin Duik Bassel 2 comes in:


Attention to detail

To create both people and animal characters for the content – of which there are dozens of each, we looked toward Andy Ward for some clever and budget friendly approaches. In doing so, Andy not only defined some user friendly colour palettes to work within, but he also worked closely alongside our animation team and created vector drawings of each and every animal and character, including various different facial expressions and poses. This attention to detail resulted in characters with unique personalities and subtle expressions that supported the course’s conflict resolution message. It then allowed us to take Andy’s work and bring it to life.


Digital skeleton

With the vector-based artwork in hand, we utilised Duik Bassel 2 to rig and animate the animal characters. The rigging process began by separating out the limbs and features that needed to be animated. These separate parts were then connected to create a “digital skeleton” using inverse kinematics. The digital skeleton consists of joints and bones that allow the characters to move and be manipulated as a puppet.


This rigging process allowed us to create sophisticated puppet rigs that could then be used to create complex animations for all of the characters and animals which Andy created. And by manipulating the control points and joints, we could quickly create a wide range of natural movements and actions, allowing us to effectively convey the message.


The collaborative process

The collaborative process between a professional illustrator and the rigging process using Duik Bassel 2 proved to be a highly effective and efficient way to create engaging 2D character animations for our learning resources. The versatility of this method means that it could be used for all kinds of content going forward. And the flexibility for us to try these new tools and adapt our working process for a project requirement has been a key element to project success.


Final thoughts

This new tool has impacted our workflow positively. It has enabled us to streamline the animation process, resulting in faster turnaround times for projects and a very happy client who has been consistently impressed with the content we’ve shared.

Additionally, the relative ease of making changes to the animation sequence, whether a walk sequence or lions roar, means that we can edit quickly and efficiently, without having to start the entire process over again.

Gradient with White R

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