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Computer ArtsTutorial

Animate stencil graffiti

Creating stencils is a straightforward process that can produce impressive results. But what if you want to take the technique further? Motion graphics pro Lee Heyward reveals a simple way to animate your stencil designs.

Stencilling is an age-old way of transferring a design on to fabric or other surfaces. The technique has recently risen in popularity among graffiti artists, such as Banksy, because it enables them to tag complex designs quickly without getting caught. However, if you don't fancy risking prosecution, there are other ways to show off your graffiti steez.

This tutorial will demonstrate a simple way to create the illusion that a piece of stencil graffiti is being sprayed onto a concrete background. It's possible to create a convincing stencil effect by combining and manipulating a couple of images in Photoshop, then, by erasing and blurring the stencil image in stages, you can produce a series of still frames that give the impression that the stencil is being sprayed. Finally, you can import these stills into a video or animation package, such as Premiere.

Although it may be more time-consuming to create an animation from single frames, rather than using tweening techniques, frame-by-frame animation has its advantages. By creating frames individually you have greater control over the manipulation of each image as well as over the movement and timing of the spraying strokes.

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