Are pegasus legs involved in the use of flight in any way? I'm not knowledgable in this area.
(Boring stuff ahead)
Thanks for spreading my pixel ponies around, friends. Maybe any of you are curious about what the process is in the creation of these GIFs. Here's what I do:
- In my mind, I have to plan and imagine how the pony will walk/fly, and how she would be different from the others. For example, I plan on making Rarity more of a skimmer than a walker.
- Google search images of the pony for reference. Fully profile shots (including the head) are just slightly uncommon.
In Rainbow Dash's case, I also had to find out what the overside and underside of the wings looked like.
- Draw (not trace) the first frame of the pony, attempting to find a good balance between keeping her on model, and pixel animation clarity. Comparing Rainbow Dash to Twilight Sparkle, I believe I'm getting better at keeping the ponies on model. Maybe I'll fix up Twilight later.
The first frame of a walking pony would have one of her front legs just contacting the ground, at the lowest height, while her back legs are in mid-swing, at the tallest height. I usually do this to avoid synchronised steps; except if the animal is a camel or a cat. Then maybe I would do something different.
- To make the rest of the frames, there are two parts I copy and move around: The head and the body. The rest of the pony, including her cutie mark, is redrawn every frame.
With Twilight Sparkle I've found that 16/100 seconds per frame was the ideal frame rate.
- Every pony animation runs for eight frames. This, in my opinion, is the least amount of work I have to do to make a pleasant looking loop. The right leg has to reach the ground, and then straighten as the body is carried over. That's two frames. Then the same has to be done for the left leg. That's four. Finally, I just add one inbetween per frame, which I think is enough. Sometimes the drawing for the inbetween is literally in between frames, sometimes it emphases one of them. That's eight.
Even Rainbow Dash stubbornly has eight frames. If you look closely, every frame is unique.
- I usually finish animating the parts of the pony in this order: head, legs, tail, hair, cutie mark, eye blink. In the case of Rainbow Dash, the wings and hair were finished before the legs, which don't do much. It would be a little different for Fluttershy.
I don't copy the cutie mark because I like to make it stretch and compress with the pony's flank. I'm pretty sure they don't do this in the cartoon, but this is my animation >:C
- Fix mistakes. I review the animation continually during production, but sometimes I forget to make the pony blink, and in Applejack's case I decided to revamp the order in which her legs moved.
- Crop borders. Save as GIF. Post.
Software used: GraphicsGale