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Animating water: getting it wrong!!

Updated: Mar 22, 2018

Sometimes something can be more difficult than it looks

Lately I have been on a quest to convincingly depict the flow of water down a river.

It hasn't been easy.......

In making a running water loop I first wanted to investigate how simple animated shapes and lines could be used to indicate movement. My first point of call was to look at Gifs of rivers and streams, these short animations were very interesting in that they held a minimal amount of images yet believably depicted an ongoing state of flow.

I attempted to replicate some of these Gifs and struggled a bit with the photographic ones which ended up coming across as clunky and heavy. There is a lot of light reflected at different strengths and my animation didn't seem to do it justice.

Gifs cut from pieces of anime were more helpful as they were simplified and the movement of water was designed to compliment the painted backgrounds, not compete with them. However after visiting some of these rivers lately I have found the that there were a few differences between the anime gifs and real rivers such as the way water moves against the banks, which looks quite different in real life.

Overall I think a lot can be gained from studying looped Gifs since many of them do an amazing job at making the most of as few images as possible, such life can be created from no more than 5 drawings. At the same time I think its important that one also animates from real life and observes the corresponding subject matter for them self. I will be taking a closer look at my recently acquired footage to see what can be simplified and translated into animated form.

Last 2 Gifs were taken from Tumblr

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