2019. Animated .gif. Photoshop. 5” x 5”

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This project started out as a drawing and then watching a lot of online videos to see how chameleons move. I noted that they have a slightly jerky movement in real-life and this lent itself to the limited frames in an animated gif.

The challenge with this fun project was in reducing the movements of a real chameleon to the bare minimum while still getting a believable looping animation.

One big challenge was when the lizard opens its mouth. Trying to stay true to anatomy and having the jaw dropping down to open the mouth involved too many manipulations of the lizard’s body and branches. On a whim I tried hinging the top of the head back while adding slight lift to the lizard’s body.

Another challenge was in keeping the movements of the main actor – the chameleon – as simple as possible. I spent a fair amount of time sorting out the sequence of the chameleon’s main movements. Then it was a matter of trying to make sure any other movements in the scene didn’t distract from the chameleon.

After that, the rest of the composition was straightforward. I started coloring the chameleon after it eats the bug and hit on using the same color scheme as the bug.

One last pitfall was in animating the leaves. It took awhile to get just enough movement in the leaves so it looks like the chameleon is passing through, but not so much that it takes away from the main action on the branch.