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FBF: The Ant Experiment

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Oh if only you knew what was under that pre-loader.

This started out as an experiment to see how well I could handle frame by frame. I think it turned out pretty well. Over the last month or so, with roughly 40 hours of work put into it, it's finally done for everyone to see.

It took so long because I started out with just animating the outlines, then I did the coloring, then backgrounds, shading, and other minor tweaks. So it was a very long process, but so worth it in the end. It's also animated at 30fps...
I also decided to throw in some last minute grunts and noises, so it didn't seem so quiet.

I probably won't be using this method of frame by frame again, unless I'm working on some big project that I want to look spectacular, and I know is going to take a while to make anyways.

Well, enough of my babbling, and I hope you enjoy.
Feedback is welcome, as it only helps me, and since this is experimental, I would appreciate helpful advice on how to improve.

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The flash is about an ant and his curious attempt to pluck a small flower from the ground. It was very short, but acknowledging your animation skills and talents, it is fair that the story does have a beginning, middle and end while providing a very minor amount of satisfaction.

The best thing about flashes, or any form of visual entertainment, is the idea. The best thing about your idea is that it generates a mild amount of emotion. Good flash artists understand that their idea must be more than just a visual spectacle. But, the whole expression of your idea is extremely limited and you need to develop it further by providing a character which generates long term interest. You can do this by making the character your mascot.

However the real negative issues are with your graphics. They are of a basic standard, although not so basic that they fail to create an environment. YouâEUTMve added environmental details such as the grass fern and a background layer, although you really need to concentrate on better ground texturing. You can achieve this by spray canning sand, gravel or manually making many waves to show layers.

The big improvement you need to make is to the detail and animation of your character. Frame by frame, the character appears to move properly, but because of the lack of texturing it often appears to move as one, almost as a blob. You need to focus on making the creature move as if it has a skeletal structure, otherwise it seems unspectacular.

Your audio is actual a high point. The music indicates a positively humorous environment, and your high pitched voice effects are surprisingly convincing and perfectly timed. Honesty I donâEUTMt have any recommendations for improvement.

Overall itâEUTMs clearly the work of an amateur, but a determined amateur, one who understands the principle of creating a plot and a story, even if its length is extremely limited. It would be amusing for young children, and itâEUTMs mildly amusing enough for a couple more rewatches, but it is only your style, not your quality, which is shining through. However for forty hours of animation itâEUTMs struggling to reach even a mediocre standard, but you should be proud that it is somewhat watchable and entertaining.

* * * ( 3 - 10 ) "Messy"

artistunknown responds:

Thank you for an actually useful review. It's a rare sight nowadays.
Most of your negative points seem to be aimed towards the story and overall character structure. Trust me when I say that most of my serious non test animations are heavily story and dialog oriented. But this, starting off as a test, at first I didn't feel needed a story, but I decided to throw in an ending, knowing that I did want some sort of basic structure to it. My last submission is filled with plot (about 10 minutes worth to boot) I would recommend checking it out if you would like.
Character structure is something I seem to have a problem with. I will improve on this in the future. The main reason a lot of things aren't detailed is the fact I'm using a mouse to draw, which still isn't a very good excuse, and I probably could do better. I will admit a lot of the inbetweens and motions were drawn rushed, and probably not to proportion.
Textureing is another thing I have a problem with, and it's another thing I've been experimenting with recently. I will use all the advice you have given me, and try out different methods.
Thanks for the comments on the audio. I'm glad the voices worked well, they were a last minute decision.
I'm glad it's somewhat watchable. I have more story oriented projects in the works, and from what you've said, it sounds like if I combine these new visuals with my in depth stories, it will be a very enjoyable flash. Of course I will be doing this with my next submission, plus the character animation won't be as sloppy, I can assure that, now that I've had practice, and know what I'm doing with frame by frame.
Thank you for the helpful review, and I hope you stick around and check out some of my other submissions, and maybe even review my next submission when it comes around.

Very ok.

Well, the effort is definitely there.



- Smooth animation.
- Nice environmental art.
- Fitting sounds and background music.
- The coloring.
- The shadows.


- Really jittery movement. This is mostly because there's practically no proportion.
- Sloppy inbetweens. I freeze-framed a lot and a lot of times, the line quality was fairly sloppy.
- Timing. Before you do the fbf, it's advised that you time and plot out the actions, and time it well.
- Jittery camera movement when it does the close-up.

artistunknown responds:

Well, glad everything that was intended to be good was good. The jittery movement is most likely due to everything being drawn over again (and I'll admit sloppily). Sometimes I do have trouble with proportion (usually when walking a character of mine tends to gradually get shorter) even when using onion skinning, so that's something I need to work on then.
Most of the bad line quality is because I had started this project with 100% smoothing, then it somehow went to 50%, then I went back to 100%, and finished it up with 40%. I could have gone back and polished up a lot of these lines, but again, that would be adding a lot more time that has already had a lot of time put into it.
Since it started out plotless, and then I decided to somehow have an ending, I guess things would be a little poorly timed, which they are. Of course, if I did something scripted, I would be sure to time everything right.
Honestly I'm not sure what happened with the close up, it was smooth in flash, plus by logic it should have gone by fast, and not look laggy like that. Either that or adding more frames there would help, which I did attempt to do. Originally I think there was only 3 or 4 zooms, then I did an inbetween for each of them, and apparently that wasn't enough. But whatever.
Well, at least the good out numbers the bad in this one :D.
Thanks for the review!