Into a Downward Spiral

There are a number of artists, digital and otherwise, in the world of 101, but Zanzidia does something that's pretty unique. The integration of moving elements and concept art or in-game models in cinemagraph-style animations is a specialty which the community thoroughly enjoys. Zanzidia will share the creation process for these works of art.

Hey there, I'm Zanzidia and I'm a Wizard101 fan graphic designer/animator. I primarily use Photoshop and After effects for all of my fan animations and have been playing Wiz for 10 years now. I started out using Photoshop to make gif sets to post on Tumblr and made a dedicated blog for Wiz content only as a sort of experimental grounds for things I wanted to try but wasn't confident enough to post on my main blog. It eventually got to the point where I became more passionate about animating Wiz content than anything else on my main blog.

One of the many gifs made in Photoshop

As I kept animating and experimenting with different methods, I started to move toward After Effects to achieve things I couldn't do in Photoshop. I had played League of Legends since season 2 and have always admired their animated splash arts. I made that my goal, to get to a point where I could bring other peoples' artwork to life seamlessly. I realized that this wouldn't be as easy as I thought once I opened the art file in Photoshop because EVERYTHING has to be separated into layers and the empty space needed to be filled in for a smooth animation.

Layers in folders keep everything from becoming too chaotic in Photoshop

Here is an example of my typical Photoshop workspace once every element has been separated. I decided to use my Morganthe animation for this example. I make sure to name every layer - not because I'm neat or anything, but because it's SO much easier to work with and keep track of when the file is imported into After Effects. I also put elements into a folder if they're part of the same whole, like strands of hair go into the "Hair" folder, and so on. It keeps everything tidy which makes the animation process flow smoothly.

Once imported into After Effects, I use the puppet pin tool on every strand of hair to animate it

I like to choose pieces that have a lot of flow in them. It makes animating hair and clothes really fun even if it is a pain to separate everything into layers. As long as I can picture the elements moving in my mind when I see the artwork, I will do my best to bring it to life. The puppet pin tool is my best friend when it comes to animating limbs. It’s just a matter of assigning which puppet pin will move and decide at what point the keyframes will have it move and at what speed. Putting everything together at the end completes the animation, though I still need to work on how to seamlessly loop every element.

The final Morganthe animation

At the moment, I'm currently looking into using Cinema 4D to further enhance my animations to truly bring artwork into 3D and land on the next stepping stone of my journey. I'd like to thank Swordroll for having me as a guest writer! I really appreciate the opportunity to blab about my hobby to those who are interested in it! If you'd like to see more of my work, you can find me on Tumblr and Twitter under the username Zanzidia.

Thanks to Zanzidia for this post!

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

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