After designing, I did a quick animation test on it in AfterEffects:
I used a recommended rig called ‘Duik’, it was easy at first, but later I found that it was really troublesome, as I modify the character model, it tends to ruin the rig, the additional layers it makes for the rigs causes lagging and also bothersome all around. So I don’t think I’ll use it again…
after animating the character, I realized that the animation doesn’t convey how much the cat wants to become a cow, so I added cow posters and an additional introduction. With that done, here’s my final animation piece again without sounds…
Animating with AfterEffects using Illustrator’s vectored paths is relatively fast and simple. Illustrator allows me to draw out simple shapes with an overall clean aesthetic, while after effects allows me to bend these shapes using puppet-pins/mesh, the animation process is relatively simple since the program moves the shapes from one key frame to another smoothly and easy ease allows me add cushioning to the animation, making it less stiff.
However, while animating, I often find strange glitches to my time-remaps, so it sometimes views other frames while on the timeline, I don’t see any extra frames in. Most of the time, I end up having to check the Pre-compose files and redo time-remapping on the layer.
Given the chance to design and animate our character, here’s final animation without sounds:
But how did I come up with my character?
My initial plan was to make a magical creature, something cute and cuddly, but could seem to be out of this world.
I had this idea since I’ve always wanted to create an adventure fantasy, and I wanted to make cute animal sidekicks. So it was always about making it cute, but they never really had a personality.So I held onto a cat base design and see what kind of personality I wanted it to have.
Cat overall gives an aura of pride, elegance and agile. So I began to imagine what if I strip of the agile idea. It was relatively easy to find reference of clumsy cats videos, so I had a lot of fun laughing at clumsy cats.
Drawing the cat covered in paint, I thought “what if I strip of its pride”. It was the harshest thing to think, but it got me thinking more about what it could be. Like it doesn’t want to be a cat at all, because it likes milk so much it wanted to be a cow?
Now it’s a cat that wanted to be a cow. I was inspired by peg dolls to cover the character with a massive cloth, as if hiding its body, but the cow posture isn’t working, it doesn’t seem like it’s happy when it’s on all fours and the back is arching out, so I made it stood on it’s hind legs.
For additional reference, I looked at the way Jon Klassen and Oliver Jeffers draws cat. I liked the way Jon Klassen draws narrow eyes and squashed oval head shape, so I went with the squashed oval head which makes the head seem somewhat fluffy with minimal details and to hide it’s whiskers.
The image above is my original design, but when asking other’s opinion, they don’t see how the cat wants to be a cow – it just looks like the cat is painting himself. So, instead of having a normal bell, I made it a cowbell instead, as well as adding an udder to him.