Cookie Animation, Happy New Year

Posted by Anne Yorks on Saturday, December 31, 2011

When I was a little girl, I loved to make flip books. Do you know what I mean? I would sketch a stick figure, usually doing a jumping jack, in a little notebook and flip the pages to make him move. My own animation project.

I love playing around with fun little cookie projects, and after dreaming a bit, I decided to make cookie animation. Initially, I had a more complicated project in mind, but I wanted to test the waters first. With it being so close to the New Year, I came up with this... my first cookie animation!  Get some popcorn and press play (it's only 40 seconds long).

It seems simple, right? 

Well, it is for the most part, but let me tell you, I had quite a few little bugs to work out to make this come together. 

We are getting together with friends on New Year's Eve, so I made these cookies to share. This project is 32 frames, or 32 cookies - just enough cookies to share with my friends. 

I made the 'sketch' on my computer, calculated the exact number of clicks for the ball to drop, and divided that number by the 20 cookies that it would take for this countdown/ball drop to finish. I sketched the fireworks by hand, using 10 different cookies to make them fill the cookie. Then I did two cookies for the 'Happy New Year' portion. 

The original cookie design evolved as I worked out the kinks of the project. I definitely wanted the ball dropping, but in order to make it a little more dynamic, I added the skyline in the background. I went back and forth on whether I should have any lights in the building. I'm glad I added them, because it's fun to watch them disappear as the ball drops in front of them.

In order to make the animation appear smooth, I sketched out every single cookie. Each cookie is different from the next to create the motion of the ball dropping and the fireworks popping up. This took a little time, but I don't think the project would have been successful if I just winged it.

Toph took a photo of each cookie and then dropped the photos into a video timeline. He added music and tinkered a bit to get it all lined up. If you're geeky like him, you'll want to know that he used a variable cookie frame rate - a mix of anywhere between 2 and 5.5 cookies-per-second.  He also used Garage Band to record a FlourBoxBakery version of "Auld Lang Syne".  As always, I think he did a great job!

I tried so hard to make each cookie as exact as possible. I rolled very chilled dough and even popped them in the fridge for 10 mins before baking to help prevent the cookies from spreading. Even with taking these extra precautions, there are still variances in the cookie size and shape. 

I used my kopykake projector to help me stick to my sketches as exactly as possible. But still, again there are imperfections in each cookie. This was a test of my patience and focus. 

I think the imperfections actually add a little extra animation to the project.

The differences between each cookie is subtle. I was careful to label my sketches. Then I also wrote the label on the parchment paper. This kept the cookies in the right order for the photos.

I used disco dust on the ball to make it shiny. But after 32 cookies of disco dust, I managed to get a coating of glitter on everything in my kitchen, not to mention me and my baby. We are still finding the glitter everywhere. But I loved the sparkle.

The fireworks were fun to make. For the first time ever I used a #0 and a #00 tip. I think these might be the smallest tip sizes available. I ran into a few clog issues. Never fun. The tips are very nice, but I honestly didn't notice a huge difference from the #1 (more affordable) tips I have been using. I think I need to play around with them a little more to make an official opinion.

Do you want to watch it again? Now that you know what you are looking at, you might spot something new this time!

This was definitely fun to create. No real purpose, other than to entertain and explore new ways to use cookies as a medium (and to wish you a Happy New Year!).  I'm looking forward to the day when I do my other idea. I think it will be a lot of fun! 

I hope you have a wonderful New Year! I am looking forward to 2012, mainly because I know it's going to be a fun year with my girls and Topher. I am also excited to see what this year of cookies will hold. 

Have a sweet New Year,