Picking Up Items With A Cut-out Character

Cut-out animation is one of the most efficient ways to produce animation. However, it can be challenging than you might expect. One such problem occurs when you want your cut-out character to pickup an item.

Cut-out animation is one of the most efficient ways to produce animation. However, you can sometimes come across some interesting problems that are more challenging than you might expect. One such problem occurs when you want your cut-out character to pickup an item.

How do you do it? Read on to find out.

Draw the Item as a New Element

The first step, after deciding which item you want your character to pick up, is to draw that item as a new element. In our example, we decided that the boy will pick up a shovel. Draw and colour your element and then place it into your scene exactly as it should be when you start animating it. Extend the exposure of the item up to the frame where the character will start to pick it up.

Picking up an item

Use Cell Swapping to Hold the Item

When your cut-out character holds an item, the item should be part of the hand element, this means that you will create a cell where the hand is holding it. If you have already drawn the item to be picked up as a new element, you can easily copy and paste it to the new cell of the hand. Retrace and recolour the hand if needed until you are satisfied with the result. You are now ready to do your animation!

Use Cell Swapping

Combine These Two Methods for Seamless Animation

If you want your character to pick up the item, it is fairly simple if you have followed the previous two steps. You only need to animate your character to the point where the item is picked up, then do some cell-swapping to the hand, so that the cell is the one which is holding the item.

Make sure that the item element is now empty at the moment the hand element is switched to the cell with the item.

Combine picking and cell swapping

You must make sure that the item element and the cell of the hand holding the item are the same size. The easiest way to do this is to adjust the item element making sure you do not resize the hand at the same time! Place the item element temporarily as a top layer and extend its exposure so that for one frame the element overlaps the character. Then in the sceneplanning view, align and resize the item as needed. Once you are done, adjust the exposure of the item to what it was before. You can now animate your character if needed.

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