It's never been a more exciting time for web animation. With user interface designers and interaction developers increasingly relying on animation to improve their online experiences, demand is on the up. And with better in-browser tools on the horizon thanks to the new Web Animation API, web animation is becoming an essential creative discipline.
Whether you're an illustrator looking to take your skills online or a designer hoping to corner a profitable new market, award-winning cartoonist and interaction developer Rachel Nabors is on hand to offer valuable advice for getting started in the exciting world of web animation.
01. Getting started
02. Web animation tools
What are some good tools for digital drawing that won't break the bank?
RN: I recommend Manga Studio and a Bamboo stylus to anyone wanting to break into drawing digitally. I'm sure there are other products and combinations out there, but these two together are affordable and deliver beautiful lines.
How can I incorporate storytelling?
RN: That's a question with a long answer! I actually run a month-long online course on the matter.
I recommend reading books about storytelling from outside web development. Scour your local library for books on film, writing, cartooning and animation, as well as those that have 'story' in their titles and descriptions. Take one of these up as a side hobby, and soon you'll find it forms a feedback loop with your more technical work.
Do you prototype your animations in something like After Effects or Framer first?
RN: The web animators and UI designers I know send their materials to development teams with little movies of how they should look in action. They often use the tools they are most comfortable with designing motion in: After Effects or even Flash!
05. Web animation API
Will JS animation dominate the future with the arrival of the new Web Animation API?
It'll open up the browser's rendering engine for browsers and extension developers to build better in-browser tools for manipulating animations, and give animation library developers access to hardware acceleration that's currently only available to CSS animation. Full support cannot come soon enough!
Want to learn more about web animation? Come to Generate San Francisco, where Rachel Nabors will be speaking about the web in motion, looking at how animation helps people interact with touchscreens, how those same principles apply to the web, where animation has been all this time, and where it's going. Book now!