One of the things I've gotten really into is Loopdeloop! It's a really awesome bi-montly internet & real life event where people from all over the world make looping animation based on a topic. They can range from a few frames to almost a minute, can be gifs or movies, and run the gamut in style and media. They all get put up on the site for everyone to see and then get screened at regular loopdeloop events in Melboure and Los Angeles.
It's a awesome place to sandbox out ideas or new techniques or just get motivated to animate something without being overwhelmed by the magnitude of a short film or other project. It's a great way to discover new animators/artists and keep tabs on what the regulars are up to. I actually got a freelance gig from a creative director seeing one of my loops, liking the timing, and reaching out based on that. It's kinda crazy. But the best part of it all is that making loops is fun!
I'll admit most of mine get done in the few hours before it's due because I'm busy with work and/or the deadline always surprises me when I convert it from Melbourne to California time and it turns out to be way sooner than I realized. As such, most of the ones I've done have been pretty quick and show it, but I'd rather make that push to get something new made than do nothing at all - and besides, it's all in fun! Some people go all out and make small films out of their loops. I try to keep mine small, as on the scale of a walk cycle. This is partly so I keep the project small and manageable so I can worry about other aspects of it other than sheer production volume, but I also enjoy the challenger of thinking about things on that small of a time scale and exploring what works for it. Since January I've made 5 loops.
#1 - Hollywood
This was my first go at it and the most involved. I used this one as a first foray back into 2d animation, which I've neglected since sophomore year. The rough was done in flash, final frames in photoshop, and then everything was taken back into after effects for the flicker and editing. Since making this I've found Alex Grigg's super helpful photoshop animation tutorial which everyone should check out. Animating is photoshop is pretty straightforward but Alex shows some super workflow actions that he's put together that really streamline the process.
#2 - Sports
#3 - Frantic
What if a robot was frantic? Another quickie made from non-motion blurred and randomized sections of this project (which is also to get a blogger write up eventually).
#4 - Food
Getting the downshooter I made back in use. Cut up a strawberry, did some stop-mo with it, and edited it to music by Craig Smith. Full song and original video collab with Sishir Bommakanti over here in tumblr land. I shot some other material that night as well but didn't have time to developed a layered edit with everything, so it stayed just strawberries. I've been revisiting the footage though, so expect to see that.
#5 - Frustration
I had recently ordered an LED light pad to get back into doing some traditional animation and had discovered tailor's chalk while wandering around the garment district of down town earlier that week. (Tailor's chalk is awesome! It comes in both clay (chalky) and wax (crayony) compositions, features very limited colors, and is shaped in chunky rectangles or triangles that let you really leverage it and get some neat marks!) Anyways, I put all those things to good use in a five hour chunk of night after work. It's all straight ahead, which was really really fun.