Animated Advent Calendar Making Of: Digitally Drawn

For quite a few years I have planned on making this animated advent calendar to countdown to Christmas. But for the past few years I have had too much on to be able to do it justice. However this year I finally decided to take on this challenge, and boy was it one! Last week I went through the Hand Drawn elements of the Making, this week is Digitally Drawn.


Introduction Shots

Advent Doors
Advent Doors, Drawn out each door with Adobe Photoshop on Microsoft Surface 3

The biggest initial Digitally Drawn films I created were the Advent Doors Intros for each of the 25days. I started by dividing up the segments so there was enough space for each day. I then drew the doors out and coloured each of them so it works as an overall pattern (e.g. Not having the same colours next to each other). I then drew little ‘Christmassy’ patterns on each. To animate the movements I then put this drawing into Adobe Premiere Pro and zoomed into each door and had them fade to a Green. This meant I could add the appropriate frames underneath using Ultra Key tool, as you would with greenscreen, when they are animated. This was a great idea and meant I was ready to go with the introductions when I needed them which is highly important.


‘Music + Lights + Tinsel’

Music + Lights + Tinsel
Drawn with Adobe Photoshop on Microsoft Surface 3

Door Five: was the first digital drawn animation I have done in a while and the first digital drawing I have done with Adobe Photoshop since Graduating. This animation uses the Christmas ideas ‘Music’, ‘Lights’ and ‘Tinsel’ and shows my red travel record player spinning surrounded by twinkling lights and tinsel shining. I started by sketching out the concept on a lighter layer, then drawing the final outlines over this on another layer. I then added coloured layers, starting with plain block colours then adding highlights and shadows on another layer.

Music + Lights + Tinsel
Screenshot of drawing on Adobe Photoshop

I would animate the frames after this – for the lights for example I used different opacity layers for the frames. Using sound effects ‘Christmas Bells’ by zoefitzgerald to open the animation and ‘Turning a Record Player on’ by IESP-FS for the record player click  from Freesound. And then adding the only music with words in this project as ‘Deck the Halls (Jazz)’ by E’s Jammy Jams (from the Music Section of the YouTube Audio Library) comes on when the record plays. .

‘Bells + Candles’

Bells + Candles
Drawn with Adobe Photoshop on Microsoft Surface 3

Door Nine: is the second Digitally Drawn Animation combining the Christmas ideas of ‘Bells’ and ‘Candles’.

Bells + Candles
Screenshot of drawing on Adobe Photoshop

Once again I initially sketched the design with a lighter colour which I re-worked on new outline layers. I then coloured these parts and added light and shadow layers – focusing on these when animating the candle flicker of this animation. I then add the music ‘O Come All Ye Faithful Instrumental’ by Jingle Punks from the YouTube Audio Library.


‘Mistletoe + Hot Chocolate’

Mistletoe + Hot Chocolate
Drawn with Adobe Photoshop on Microsoft Surface 3

Door Eleven: uses the Christmas symbols of ‘Mistletoe’ and ‘Hot Chocolate’ seeing the warm steam from a winter favourite drink! For this I drew out all the layers in Adobe Photoshop on my Surface 3 tablet again. This time animating the steam using the smudge tool as well as brush to try re-create a natural move of the steam. Then adding the music ‘Shattered Paths’ by Aakash Gandhi from YouTube Audio Library.


‘Mince Pies + Turkey Dinner’

Mince Pies + Turkey Dinner
Drawn with Adobe Photoshop on Microsoft Surface 3

Door Seventeen: takes two iconic Christmas food ideas with ‘mince pies’ and ‘turkey dinner’. I drew the scene out first with a light toned layer in Photoshop to rough out. On top of this I drew the black outlines layer with the final colour, light and shadow layers on top. I wanted to make the animation look inviting and have the audience want to diver right in and not have it being dived into, so animated the steam form the Turkey Dinner, created with another layer and the paint and smudge tools. Brought together with the song ‘Beth’ by VYEN form YouTube Audio Library.



Drawn with Adobe Photoshop on Microsoft Surface 3

Door Twenty One: is the only Digital Drawn Animation that uses different shots, based around the big Christmas symbol ‘Santa’. It starts with some gloves seen on a table before switching to a shot of a hanger with Santa’s Jacket and Hat. I drew out the hanger as a whole first, so I knew where everything would be and had this ready in the shot before animating the clothing moving.  It then had a shot putting big black boots on which I simplified by keeping the shoes themselves still and the feet moving. Not as realistic but a good time saver. The shots all worked together well overall expressing the images of Santa in a more subtle way, showing a sort of ‘He’s prepping for Christmas’ kind of shots.  I then added the ‘Kiss the Sky’ by Aakash Gandhi from YouTube Audio Library.



Using Photoshop with my Windows Surface 3 tablet has greatly built on my digital drawing skills through this project. I really enjoyed working on the lighting and colouring within the frames especially. I recon the next step is to work further on my figure drawing skills in my digital work. Come back next week however to read about the final set of films I made for the Animated Advent Calendar.


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