Halloween Break


The life of an Animator is also this… have fun doing anything handmade! ^^ Halloween is coming and so my birthday 😛

What is needed:

– a patient dog

– an even more patient dog ^^’

– a black hoodie and colored felt! 😀

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Update


I would definitely need longer days….I’m so busy right now that I can’t create new contents for my blog as much as I would like to! I have so many ideas in mind…but no time to realize them!! 😥

As you know, my tutorials and lessons and all the time I dedicate to create them and give feedback etc….is totally free so… for most of the time…I have to work on other stuff 😀

Besides this, there’s my life: complicated sometimes, there’s my lovely dog that deserves my time, relationships that end, relocations, new jobs….but I really want to continue what I started, so…keep following my blog and I’ll try to do my best to post as mush as I can! 😉ioWORKING

Lesson #9 Follow Through and Overlapping


I had quite busy days during the last month but I finally find the time to create a new lesson … ready to learn how to “section” your character? 🙂

Follow Through and Overlapping RECAP

The principles of follow-through and overlapping will help you a lot to refine your animation and make it more realistic and fluid

Follow_Through01.gif

Behind this principle there’s a simple rule:follow_through01.png


follow_through02.png

Follow-through is the principle that a parts of the body follows the movement of an other part (the leading one), with a bit of delay

Example: when you have a stop a part stop first and an other one has a delay, so it will stop in a different timeFollow_Through02.gif

Overlapping action is the principle that some parts have different timing or speed compared to other parts, so they overlap the main actionFollow_Through03.gif


follow_through07.png

– We can use them to delay each parts of the body:

  • for human characters we can apply this principles on several parts: arms, neck and head, upper chest, legs, hair…

Follow_Through04

All this parts will move with a bit of delay compared to the main part of the body that leads the movement, they are offsetted and they OVERLAP the ACTION

  • for animals or anthropomorphic characters we can also have some different elements like long ears or tails to animate using this principles

follow_through14.png

Is quite simple, if you analyze for one second the movement… you should be able to recognize which part leads the action, here some examples:


When you know which part leads, you just have to delay the other parts

Don’t forget that… at the beginning of the action, this parts react to the movement of the leading one, by moving in the opposite direction!

In this example we have a simple arm movementFollow_Through05.gif

the shoulder and the upper part of the arm lead the movement, so when they start to move forward, the forearm reacts moving in the opposite direction, then we have the same reaction on the wrist and the fingers

When the leading part arrives to a stop, the forearm, the wrist and the fingers stop with a delay and different timing

So the arm and shoulder drag the lower part of the arm and during this movements you can also break some joints and use some deformers to emphasize the delay and the arcs

So… at first animate the upper part, the leading one, then the lower arm, then the wrist and last…add the fingers animation

You can also delay each finger from the others or even the single parts of the finger

To complete the movement you can add a…follow_through20.png

to avoid a sudden stop, keeping a slight bit of motion for all this parts for more frames

Follow_Through06.gif

or add a…follow_through21.pngafter the stop all this parts go back and forth for few times, always decreasing the motion, keeping the delay between a part and an other. The leading part could have just a small and short settle, and the other parts a longer settle

Follow_Through07.gif

or just the…

follow_through22.png

In this Lesson I explain more in detail Moving Hold and Settle


How to manage follow through, overlapping action, moving hold and settle depends on:

  • -the type and speed of the motion
  • -the length and weight of the parts that follow the movement

 

An other situation where you need to apply this principles is when your character has some cloths like: an hat, a scarf, a coat, a skirt, etc…

This elements will have the follow through and the overlap just like the body parts. The body movement drags this elements and they will react in different ways, depending on the type of cloths, the material’s weight and the speed of the movement


A good way to manage and animate parts with follow-through and overlap is to visualize the body as sections

follow_through26.png

In this way will be more easy and fast for you to manage all the delays 😉

Also a tail can be visually split in section:follow_through27follow_through28

the upper part would lead the movement, moving first, the second one would follow this movement, the third one would follow the second one and so on…Follow_Through08.gif

Compared to the main section, the second one has a delay of 1 frame, the third one a delay of 2 frames, the forth one of 3 frames and so on….

in this way your movement would result smooth and realistic! 😉Follow_Through09.gif

Do the same for objects or parts of the character and the practice will help you to naturally apply this principle in the right way!

Follow_Through12.gif

Follow_Through11b.gifFollow_Through10

Do you need feedback?


I know…sometimes animators are a bit shy and reluctant to show their animations but feedback are really important to improve your skill. A “fresh eye” can see what you don’t see, to have a more “general view” of the shot and can helps you to improve it where really necessary!

I really enjoy the “feedback” process! (♥)

Usually I have a quick view at the shot “Does it works?” “Did I understand what’s going on?”Could be better with just some little modifications?”

After that I got to check the Poses! I have a thing for poses 😀 I love to see the characters in natural and original posesit’s probably the step where I spent most of my time when I animate! Then I check the Timing/Spacing, the Arcs etc..

When I prepare the image reference for the feedback I always try to keep them as much clear and easy to follow as possible, I don’t want to confuse the animator….I should just help him, not make him frustrated 😛

So, have a look on the feedback I’ve created so far (based on you “colleagues” works) and if you have an animation test or a shot and you need feedback…just use the page “Your Animation”and add a link in the comments! I will provide you with a feedback in a couple of days (usually) 😉

Have FUN! 😛

#iWantToBeAnAnimator #beananimator #animation #learnanimation #animationforbeginners

Lesson #8 – ANTICIPATION


A new Lesson available! This time talking about ANTICIPATION and the different types of animations that need it! 😉

In the Lesson I’m using my NEW “cute and super cool” (♥) personal and official channel’s rig INK!!! 😛


Anticipation RECAP

One of your first goal, when your are creating an animation, should always be to make something that is perfectly readable! You can create awesome poses and have a great concept, but…if you don’t make it clear and readable… would be impossible to catch the sense of what you are trying to communicate!Anticipation01.png

Anticipation02.png

that’s why we use ANTICIPATION! That, as the word suggest, is nothing more than the “preparation to the action”!

We can haveAnticipation03.png

let’s see some example:Anticipation03b.pngwhen the movement of a body (or an object) prepares for an action

Example #1: if a character throws something far, he would prepares the action by moving back the arm with the object (preparing for the throw)

In this way he will have enough energy but this movement also prepares the users for what will happen. From this anticipation, you already can imagine that he will throw the object!

Example #2: a character running out of the screen, is made more readable thanks to an anticipation of the character moving in the opposite direction and raising one leg!

This helps the user to read a very fast action. Without this anticipation…. the user could have some problems to read the scene!

Example #3: or you can use it for a very cartoon effects…. or for something more realistic, with a much more soft anticipation!


Anticipation09.png

Another way to use an Anticipation is to create a funny effects!
Example: if you see the same run anticipation of the run we’ve seen before, you imagine that he will run away super fast…but…adding a pretty slow run just after this big anticipation…you will create an unexpected result!Run_Fun.gif


Anticipation10Or… you can use it to direct the attention to something that is going to happen or leading the eye in the right screen area.

Example #1: if your character is standing in the middle of the screen and something is going to enter from the right, if you don’t add an anticipation, the users would probably miss the first part (when the second element is entering in the screen) ’cause you are looking at the character in the center.

But…if you add an anticipation of the character looking on the right your attention would be re-directed in the right area, just in time to better follow the action!

Example #2: in case the character is going to take something, a fast look at this object prepares the users to what he’s going to do

Or you can use the anticipation with the hand, holding it in the air for few frames, this is an other way to communicate to the user that he’s going to take the glass!


Anticipation15.png

Example: thanks to the anticipation you can better feel the weight of the character in two different jumps.

In the one on the left he makes a soften anticipation cause he’s pretty light.

In the one on the right he’s bringing an heavy backpack so he needs more energy for the jump, he needs a stronger anticipation, bending and keeping this pose a bit more


Anticipation17.png

depends on the action!

Usually with fast action or big change in position we need more anticipation!

Like for the fast run or the cartoon one, both this examples has big anticipation, and a very fast action just after them!
Or, an angry reaction like, a character smashing a door, would require a big anticipation to enphasize the action and after, the door is closed in very few frames


Anticipation20.pngSome Anticipation must be really subtle!

Example #1: an hand that is going to grab a light object would have an almost imperceptible anticipation! The hand just goes upwards for few frames before going down to grab the apple

Example #2: in a simple take we have a little anticipation, a very small movement with the character moving upwards before the take, few frames of anticipation, is there but it’s not so visible


Anticipation24

Example: the door settle doing little movements back and forward in few framesAnticipation25


Anticipation26.png

You absolutely don’t need an anticipation for every single movements of your character…with practice and experience you will get used to it and you will naturally know when an action need it, as I said, usually we use it before big and or fast action, but also to make the movements more fluid and readable! 😉


Now that you know how to use ANTICIPATION you can follow the Tutorial #08 “How to Animate a Throw” and try to do de Exercise #4 following the steps of the tutorial! 😉

I Like To Present: Ink


INK – Character RIG

I want to introduce you the Official Rig for my Channel – INK 🙂Ink_Rig3.gif

I wanted something simple to better show you same basic principles and I love the 2D effect in general!

Finally is ready and I already started to use it for my new lesson! 🙂

(the Rig is not available for download)

How to make the best use of this channel!


Little and quick video with some explanations 😛

Little Update!


I know….it’s been a while since I’ve posted my last video but in this month I had (in order):

  • a RELOCATION ( from Hamburg to Italy )relocation
  • a “PROBLEM” WITH MY RIGHT ARM (unfortunately I’m not ambidextrous) arm
  • And….I also started an EDUCATION COURSE for my little “tank” EVY……evy

so, I was a bit busy.. 😛

BUT! I’m working on some new videos and soon I will post a lesson based on another animation principle “ANTICIPATION“! So, wait for updates! 😉 LessonTitle_ANTICIPATION.png

Lesson #7 – Squash & Stretch


Let’s continue with the Principles of Animation … let’s see how to handle with “Squash & Stretcht”! 😉

(In the Lesson I used the “Eleven Rig”)

Feedback is always Welcome! ;)


Lesson #6 – Slow In & Slow Out


Let’s continue with the Principles of Animation … let’s see how to smooth our animation with “Slow In & Slow Out”! 😉

(In the lesson I used the rig “Pete” by Long Winter Members)


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Slow In & Slow Out RECAP

The Slow In and Slow Out principle or Ease In and Ease Out is so important but also really easy to understand and put in practice!

The concept is:

 an object doesn’t have a constant speed during a movement. It will have an acceleration at the beginning and a deceleration at the end

slow_in_slow_out_02.png

So, will starts slower, SLOW IN, increase the speed in between, and ends slower before to stop SLOW OUTslow_in_slow_out_03.png

To add a Slow in and Slow out to a movement we need to change the spacing of the in-betweens at the start and the end

If we have an object that moves from A to B and the tangent is linear, so we don’t’ have any variation in the speed, we would have a stiff and mechanical movementslow_in_slow_out_06.png

But…if we have the same movement, but we just change the position of the in-betweens  near the first key pose and the last one, the movement result more soft, smoothed, and realisticslow_in_slow_out_07.pngslow_in_slow_out_08.png

Always remember that we are doing cartoon, so to have a more appealing animation, we can also exaggerate this principle!slow_in_slow_out_09.png

This doesn’t mean that you have to encrase the timing of your animation to have more in-betweens at the start and the end. It’s always based on the speed of your action. In a faster action you will have few frames but you still can manage them in order to have a slow in and slow out

slow_in_slow_out_10.png

Changing the curve in the Graph Editor is very easy to achieve the result we need, using a FLAT tangents we already have a smoothness on the extremesslow_in_slow_out_11.png

if we use the SPLINE tangents we can reach the same result using the handlesslow_in_slow_out_12.png

We can also add an in-between near the first pose, and an other near the final pose, and move them on a value closer to the extremes, until you don’t reach your desiderata effectslow_in_slow_out_13.png

But…keep attention!

When you adjust the handles don’t create this type of curve, where it goes on a higher (or lower) value compared to the last pose valueslow_in_slow_out_14.png otherwise you will have a backward and forward movement. So, if you just want to smooth the forward movement, the curve should be like this one belowslow_in_slow_out_15.png

slow_in_slow_out_16.pngSlow_In_Slow_Out_Pendulumlook how smoothed is the movement on the two extremes. SLOW FAST SLOW

But…

with the same key poses and timing, but with a different spacing, we would have a linear movement, that is really unrealisticSlow_In_Slow_Out_Pendulum_Linear

As you can see in the graph editor , I created a Loop animation so I have the two poses at the beginning and the end with the same position, and an other extreme in the middle with the pendulum in the opposite direction, in this case the tangent is LINEAR, that’s why we have this stiff effect, the interpolation has a uniform velocity, so all the in-betweens have the same distance between each other

…just switching the same curve in FLAT, the spacing of the in-between change and the movement is more realistic

If we create the same movement with a character, the principle doesn’t change, we will always have a movement that start slow, takes speed and slow down again

Slow_In_Slow_Out_Character_FrontSlow_In_Slow_Out_Character_SideSo … use this principle, with all its variations, for your objects and characters animations!  It’s easy and quick to achieve and your animations will change a lot! 😉

Follow the Blog!


I’m really enjoying doing this blog! And I’m happy to receive good feedback from you and your enthusiasm for my teaching method!

This is the reason why I created this Blog! So…THANKS! 🙂

As I already said I can just create stuff for the blog in my free time, but my Big Dream is to be able, on day, to do this… full time and also do private on-line mentoring! Because…I really love to follow and guide other animators or those who need some tips and suggestions to improve their skills! 😛

So, what can you do to help me to realize all this? Continue to do what your are doing! Follow this Blog to don’t miss my Lessons and Tutorials, Subscribe to my Youtube Channel, my Facebook page or Twitter! Likes, Share with your friends! 🙂follow03.png

Lesson #5 – Timing and Spacing


After the Introduction to the Principles of Animation in the Lesson 04 I will now explain Timing & Spacing using the example of a Bouncing Ball and the Animation of a Character Turn! 🙂

In this Lesson I used this lovely Rig “Alya” by Eyad Hussein https://eyad.tv/home/Alya2

It’s really a great rig and I suggest you to check it when will be availabe (you have to wait the first quarter of 2017 :P). But you can fill the pre-registration form on this link and you will receive an email once the rig is ready for download https://eyad.tv/home/alya_pre_registr…


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Timing and Spacing RECAP

In this lesson we will see the main principles Timing and SpacingTiming_Spacing01 A GOOD TIMING makes the difference and can really give an edge to your animation!Timing_Spacing02.png

As I said in the Lesson 04, the TIMING is the speed and the rhythm of your animation, how many frames you use to make a movement, the SPACING is the variation of the speed during this movement.

  • If you have to reproduce a fast movement you need less frame
  • A slower movement….more frames

Timing_Spacing03.pngTiming_Spacing04.png

Example of different type of ball, a RUBBER ball, a BALLON and a BOWLING ball, with their different timing!

RUBBER ball

rubber_ball

BALLON

ballon.gif

BOWLING ballbowling_ball.gif

So…Timing_Spacing07

The ball falls from point A to point B. It takes 10 frames to fall on the ground, this is the timing!Timing_Spacing08

this movement is generated by the gravity that push the ball on the groundTiming_Spacing09

 as it get closer to the ground it has an acceleration due to the decrease of air resistanceTiming_Spacing10

So we have more frames when the ball is high in the air and less frames before the contact. This is the SPACING, the variation of the speed between point A and B.Timing_Spacing11

After the contact we have a reverse of the acceleration, now the ball is pushed upward and it lift from the ground, moving fast at first and then, when it reach the high point it slow down its movement due to the opposite forces, the gravity that pull it downward and its own speed going upwardTiming_Spacing12

As it get closer again to the ground it accelerate again and we have al the consecutive bounces. Any bounce lose speed and force. The timing slow down at any bounce so do the high of the bounces.Timing_Spacing13An other physic phenomenon that happens during the bounces, is the Timing_Spacing14.png

The ball deforms its volume during the bounce. Stretching before and after the contact and squashing during the contact! Why? cause The gravity push the ball against the surface causing its deformation.

This is reality, in animation we can exaggerate to reach a more  cartoon effect!

But…

Timing_Spacing17.png

And…

Timing_Spacing18.png

When the ball bounces moving forward, it follows an elliptical path in the air, an ARC!
This gives to the bounces a natural feeling.  The forward movement starts linear and slow down in the last part, before the ball stops its movement. Timing_Spacing19.png

“Ok, but…”Timing_Spacing20.pngTiming_Spacing21.png

The choice of the timing is finalized to make the performance perfectly readable and interesting, thats why is also important to don’t create all the beats and accents with the same disance, intencity and speed!  Add variations in the timing and rhythm to make your animation more interesting!Timing_Spacing22.png

A good tip is to use a stopwatch to time yourself doing the shot,  in order to have a realistic reference to start with and to see how your body reacts to different actions and how you reach a certain position or how fast you do itTiming_Spacing23.png

And… Timing_Spacing25.png

This is my method, I always “see” the animation in my mind first, so that when I start to animate I already have clear in mind what to do and HOW to do itTiming_Spacing24.png

A quick example of timing applied to character animation: a character that turn its head.

Head_turn_fast_REFINEDShe turns fast cause she heard something, we have few frames… it’s a very fast movement

But, if we use more frames, we can have a totally different turn, she’s now very relaxed, and she’s just looking aroundHead_Turn_Slow_REFINED

So, the same action, a simple turn, but the different amount of frames makes the two animations completely differentTiming_Spacing26.png

An other thing that we can manage during the turn, is the spacing. When we create the first and last pose the software creates the linear interpolation between this two posesTiming_Spacing27.pngHead_turn_fast_LINEARNot very interesting, right?

But, let’s put into practice an other principles SLOW IN AND SLOW OUT, if we slow down the spacing in the last part, creating an in-between close to the final one, and we do the same at the beginning…Timing_Spacing30.png

and…we also add a moving hold at the end, so the movement doesn’t freeze but continues to move just a little bit, enough to be perceived by the human eyeTiming_Spacing31.png and if we also add some details like the overlap of the hair…

Head_turn_fast_REFINED

much better! 🙂

Let’s do the same with the slower turn, at the beginning we have just the two key poses, and the linear interpolationTiming_Spacing32.pngHead_Turn_Slow_LINEAR then we add a breakdown, pretty close to the first pose where she also makes an half blinkTiming_Spacing33.png

the slow in and the slow outTiming_Spacing34.png

 the moving hold at the endTiming_Spacing35.pnghair overlap and…

Head_Turn_Slow_REFINED…now the two turns have a  much more interesting spacing and the character looks more alive and appealing!Timing_Spacing36.png



Timing_Spacing37.pngNow you can watch the two tutorials “How to Animate a Bouncing Ball” and “Animate a Character Turn” and start to handle with timing and spacing!

after that I suggest you to create the two exercise based on this lesson

Exercise #1Exercise #2

Timing_Spacing40.png

In the comments add a link to your exercises and I’ll provide you a feedback! 😉

Timing_Spacing41.png

Ref_Lesson #4


Lesson #4 –Principles of Animation RECAP

here the LESSON

The secret of animation is enclosed in the Principles of Animation!

That you will have to learn, understand and well “impress” in your mind if you want to became a good animator! 😉principlesAnimation.png

but let’s quickly see “how animation works” first. The first thing you should understand is that animation is composed by:

A timeline (the series of frames that compose each seconds, sequenced over the time)keys1.png

On this frames we create some KEYS (the poses that we create and impress in the timeline, in the software are represented by the red stick)

we start setting the KEY POSES, the most important and stronger poses that describe the action (in case you are doing an Acting animation) or the EXTREME KEYS (in case we are doing an action or something connected to body mechanic like a walk cycle)  this are the pose at the start and the end, or the extreme lower and higher position, or the forward and backward. keys3.png

Between the Key poses (or the extremes)  the software will create an automatic linear interpolation, too avoid a mechanic and linear movement we add some BREAKDOWN KEYS approximately in the middle of the 2 key poses, and can be called also Passing Positions cause are the poses that we have during the movement from A to B, “how we reach position B from position A”. keys4.pngAfter the breakdown, we go to create some  IN-BETWEENS KEYS (it’s not necessary to have a key on each frames, but just the strictly necessary to have a nice movement). With the in-betweens we take control of the interpolation created by the software: adjusting positions, spacing, arcs and so on.keys5.png

Clear? 🙂 Let’s sum it again:mainterms

Ok! Let’s see all the Principles of Animation, that were showed in the amazing book “Illusion of life” by two Disney Animators in 1981:illusionLife1.png

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Let’s start …!

timing1.pngThe TIMING is the speed and the rhythm of your animation, it change depending on where you set the Extreme Poses.

MORE FRAMES: slower movement

LESS FRAMES: faster movementtiming1.pngtiming


spacing1.pngThe SPACING is the variation of the speed during the change of position

SLOW SPACING: less change in position

FAST SPACING: more changespacing2.pngspacing.giftiming_spacing.png


slowInslowOut1.pngSLOW-IN & SLOW-OUT are used to  soften the movement at the start and the end. To make it more fluid and nice to see, we manage the position of the in-betweens, if we move the in-betweens closed to the starting pose, the extreme one, the movement will starts slower, and if we do the same for the in-betweens closed to the final pose, the last extreme, the movement will also ends slower.slowin_slowout


squash_stretch1.pngA bouncing ball would STRETCH its volume before the contact and would SQUASH when it’s on the ground. During a walk the body chest would squash when the body go down, because of the weight, and would stretch when the body go up. In facial, when a character close his eyes (especially during a big change of expression) it would squash the head when the eyes are closed, and would stretch for few frames when it open the eyes again.squashStretch2.pngsquashStretch3.pngsquash_stretch


anticipation2.pngThe ANTICIPATION is used to make a movement more readable or to create a more cartoon funny effects, it’s a movement that happens before the main one, usually in the opposite direction.
If the object moves forward, we add a backward movement 3 or 4 frames before. anticipation1.pnganticipation1anticipation3.pnganticipation2


follow1.pngIf we are animating a character turning from right to left and the head leads the movement, the rest of the body follow the head. So the head moves first, then the chest, then the arms and so on. This parts FOLLOW the head movement. During this movement we can have different reactions of each parts: before turn on the left, the arms could bend in the opposite direction, OVERLAPPING the ACTION.follow2.pngfollow_trough.gif


secondary2.pngTo make the action more interesting, or to make the intentions and the emotions of the character more clear, we can use SECONDARY ACTIONS to intensify the general feeling of the animation. During a walk, the main action is the movement of the feet and hip, but we can make the character turning his head looking around or the arms swinging, this are secondary actions.secondary4.pngsecondary1.pngsecondary_actions.gif

 


exaggeration.pngWhen we create a pose, we can EXAGGERATE it to make it more appealing, or during a movement we can make it stronger and extreme to emphasize it. NEVER BE AFRAID TO EXAGGERATE! 😀 Always think, is interesting or readable enough? Take inspiration from reality but always add your creativity!exaggeration2.pngexaggeration


appeal2.pngAPPEAL MAKES THINGS INTERESTING!

The APPEAL of a character mostly depending on the design and the story, but…we can make it more strong with poses and animation. Emphasize a pose to make the appeal of the character instantly readable!appeal.png


arcs2.pngAny movement we create, follows a path and generate an invisible ARC.

A smoothed, circular arc makes the movement fluid, more realistic and nice to watch. A straight path makes thinghs more mechanic.arcs.png


staging.pngWhen we create a shot, first of all we need to plan what where are going to show and we will try to focus the attention in the correct way, so we need to work on the STAGING. Setting the camera, the character and any other assets in the scene in a way that the main action is clearly readable and with a good rhythm, so that anybody can follow the scene and well understand what’s going on!staging1staging2staging4


poseToPose.pngThere are two way to start an animation: STRAIGHT AHEAD & POSE TO POSE

If you chose for STRAIGHT AHEAD means that you start creating the first pose and you go “straight ahead” up to the last one.streightahead.pngIf you chose for POSE TO POSE means that you start creating the main poses, the ones necessary to tell the story and better describe the main actions, and in a second time you go to add the other poses, breakdowns and in-betweens.posetopose1.png


This was just a quick explanation of the Principles of Animation, in the next lessons I’ll go trough and deeper to explain each of this principles !

So… don’t miss the next lesson: TIMING!

Lesson #4 – Principles of Animation Introduction


Quick Introduction to the “Principles of Animation”

In the next lessons I’ll explain each principles in more detail with tutorials and exercises! 😉

REF_Lesson #3


Lesson #3 –Became an Animator RECAP

here the LESSON

mfq
This is the most common question I receive so I decide to make this very fast introduction to the Animation World and guide a bit those who want to work as 3D animator:

Be a Character Animator…is GREAT! I love this job and I wouldn’t change it even if sometimes it makes you angry or frustrating, but all the emotions that this job can give you (whether good or bad) worth it! 😉

But, any other job, it have his Positive and Negative aspects, so…let’s make a list!pos_cons.png

————-Are you still motivated and convinced to go ahead? COOL! Let’s see what’s the first steps to do…

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  1. Download a TRIAL version of a 3D software: you can choose between different softwares available, Maya and 3D Max (both by Softimage) are the most common.

    I always suggest Maya! It’s probably the best if you want to do animation and is very used in production companies. (3D MAX maybe is more suited if you want to specialize in Modeling IMO)trial2.png

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  2. Watch some tutorials for the software interface! This programs are pretty complex so at the beginning, just focus on the interface for Animationinterface———————————————————————-
  3. Study the PRINCIPLES OF ANIMATION

    TIMING / STAGING / ANTICIPATION / FOLLOW THROUGH / ARCS / EXAGGERATION and so on…principlesurvivalKit.png
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  4. Start to do some simple and basic animation exercise on Maya.
    Don’t use any complex character. You just need a sphere…
     

    …let it BOUNCE….and bounce………and bounce again…

    bouncingBall.png

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  5. Chose a simple character and start to create some poses! Standing. Pushing. Runnning. etcetera… Study the rules for posing a character:

    Lines of actions / Silhouette / Appeal poses——————————————————————–

  6. Now you can try with facial expression! Use some references to create some of the more common expressions: HAPPY / ANGRY / SAD / DISAPPOINTED / SCAREDexpressions——————————————————————–
  7. ASK for feedbacks! Be sure that your are doing right…

    DON’T start to do too complex animations before you learned and well understood this principles!feddback——————————————————————–

  8. Chose a nice rig on the web and create your first ACTING SHOT!
    Take a short audio track from a movie and… animate!acting1——————————————————————–
  9. Create your ANIMATION REEL! Where to mix together the best exercises ands animations you created and …look for a company that needs animators! 😉reel——————————————————————–welcome1.png

 

Lesson #3 – Became an Animator


Short guide for those who want to became 3D Character Animator!

mfq

REF_LESSON #2


Lesson #2 – Creation of a 3D Project RECAP

here the Lesson

The process to create a 3D Project (like a movie or a tv shows or a short film…etc…) is classified in 3 different stages:

  1. PRE-PRODUCTION

  2. PRODUCTION

  3. POST-PRODUCTION

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PRE-PRODUCTIONLesson0002_02ProductionStage.png

When a concept, the idea of the project, is approved… we have the permission to move forward. This is a phase called Green Light!

lesson0002_05productionstage

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So now we can start with the Pre-Production, this are the main distinct phases:lesson0002_06productionstage

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Screenplaylesson0002_17productionstage

One or more screenwriters are in charge to write the script for the project.
In the screenplay we have the narrated story, the dialogues, the actions and the descriptions of the environment:

  • (example beginning of a screenplay I made for my concept for a tv show for kids)
    lesson0002_20productionstage
  • Project Title (in this case it’s Puppet House)
  • Number of the Episode
  • Title of the Episode
  • Scene heading (a short description of the location and the time of the day of that sequence)
  • Action Description (a narrative description of what happen in the scene)
  • Dialogues (name of the character and his own speech)

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Character / Environment Designlesson0002_28productionstage

It’s time to define the design, the aspect of the characters and the environment and props. The concept artists create illustrations and sketches with different design for the characters and everything that need to be defined in terms of design.Lesson0002_29ProductionStage.png

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Storyboardstoryboard

In this step the storyboard artist create a visual description of the entire project divided by sequences and scenes.

(storyboard example)lesson0002_33productionstage-copy

  •  Title or the logo of the project
  • Number of the episode
  • Title of the episode
  • Number of the sequence (in this case this are all scenes of the same sequence)
  • Number of the scene
  • Number of the frames (the length of the scene)
  • Visual illustrations (a detailed image that show the shot, the camera take, the character actions into the locations)
  • Dialogues
  • Camera notes (for example in this case we have a track in and it’s represented in the storyboard)
  • Sound effects note (for example, i the first shot we need the sound of the rain)

Let’s see the difference between a SEQUENCE and a SCENE:

A SCENE is a part of the story with a specific camera take, any time the camera framing change  we have a new scene! So, until you don’t see a cut in the camera, is the same scenes.  scene6A group of scenes compose a SEQUENCE, this sequence takes place in a determinate location and time of the day. When we have a change in the location or time, we have a new sequence, but the number of the scenes is still progressive. SCEN11.png

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Vocal Trackslesson0002_45productionstage

A cast of voice actor dubb the script so that we will have a voice track to use for the production.

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3D Asset Modelinglesson0002_46productionstage

The design is approved so we can go forward to create the 3D models.Using a 3D modeling software, the modeler start to literally sculpt the mesh, following the design based on the illustration of the concept artist.lesson0002_51productionstage

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3D Asset Texturinglesson0002_47productionstage

In this phase, a texture artist create the texture, the surface that wll be applied on the character. He create this 2D image, for example with a software like Photoshp), after that, this image will be assign to a material which in turn will be assigned to the mesh.lesson0002_52productionstage

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3D Asset Rigginglesson0002_48productionstage

Once the model are done, the rigger can start to create the skeleton, the rig for the character. He add chains of bones, joints attached to the mesh so that in the Animation phase we will be able to move the character

Thanks to the rig we can select the controls of each part of the body and we can start to pose the character.  lesson0002_53productionstage

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Animation Test lesson0002_49productionstage

The Animators start to test the rig and create some animations, like cycles or acting or expressions test, in this phase is important to choose and set the style of the animation.

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Scheduling planninglesson0002_50productionstage

Before start the production we need a planning to set the deadlines and the plan that will guide the team during the production. In this way we can decide the time that we will need to finish the project.

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PRODUCTIONlesson0002_03productionstage

The production started!!  Let’s see all the main steps of this phase:lesson0002_57productionstage

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Layoutlesson0002_63productionstage-copy-copy

Using the storyboard as reference the layout artist create a 3D version of the storyboard. So they start to create all the single shots, setting the camera, import all the characters and the locations that the scenes request and set the length of the scene. Sometimes the layout artist also create  a rough blocking with some key poses in order to give to the animators a guide for the actions and type of acting they will must do in the animation stage.

layout

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Animationlesson0002_64productionstage-copy-copy

Here we are! Starting from the layout and reading the script and whatching the storyboard to have as much information and inspiration as possible, the animators start to think how to animate the characters: what type of acting,  emotions and actions are more appropriate for the shot.

The animation is divided into 2 different steps, BLOCKING and REFINE

During the Blocking step, the animators create some main poses of the characters, so that they can start to set the timing and the expression, the poses and the actions of the characters.blk
The curves of the blocking keys are create in “stepped” mode, in order to avoid interpolation between a pose and an other. If we play the blocking animation, this appears jerky, not fluid, it’s a pose to pose!
It’s far from the final result but it’s already enough clear to have a first supervision from the Animation Supervisor, cause the intentions, the timing, and the poses are all there, so is also a good way to save time in case we have to change something.
When the Blocking is approved we move to the Refine step. Here we take all the poses curves we created for the blocking and we switch the curves from stepped to “spline”.In this way our animation looks more fluid and we can go to polish the curves and finish our animation.
During all the animation process, the Animation Supervisor receive the shots from the animators and he gives them feedback or retakes (request of changes) for the shot and he has the last decision over the animations.ani

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Lightinglesson0002_65productionstage-copy

We need to place the lights in the shots. The lighting artist will do that. He will decide the illumination of the scene, the lights properties, the shadows and so on. Always keeping consistency between a shot and the others.

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Renderinglesson0002_66productionstage-copy

The last process of the production. The render artist will convert the three dimensional data  into a hight quality 2D images. So  he go to create sequences of bidimensional images,  based on the shots we crated so far, with textures, lights, shadings and the characters set in the highest quality.

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POST-PRODUCTIONlesson0002_04productionstage

The last process, the Post-Production, it’s finalized to take togheter what we have done in the production and, basically, edit, cut, add effects, adjust everything for the final export.

This are the phases:lesson0002_72productionstage-copy

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Compositinglesson0002_73productionstage-copy

Using a compositing software, the compositors takes all the renders, he combines them together and starts to adjust colors, lights, adding vfx in order to deliver optimized final images of the project.

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Video Editinglesson0002_75productionstage-copy

Now the editor proceed to finalized the editing of the project, adjusting the length of the shots, cutting scenes depending on the request of the director, adding fade effects and so on.

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Sound Editinglesson0002_76productionstage-copy

The same for this process: the sound designer fixes, adjusts, adds, and edits the audio, music and sound fx.

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Exportlesson0002_77productionstage-copy

Now the project is done, everything is finished with the approval of the directors and producers, and we can export the final project!

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Ok let’s sum up the main job titles:lesson0002_79productionstage-copy

and…THAT’S IT! 😉

Lesson #2 – Creation of a 3D Project


A very fast “tour” in the pahses that make up the creation of a 3D Projects! 🙂

Ref_Lesson #1


Lesson #1 – Animation Techniques RECAP

here the LESSON

Quick introduction to the animation world! I will quickly explain what’s the role of an animator and the different animation techniques!

What does a Character Animator do?

Be a Character Animator means…BRING TO LIFE a fictional characteranimrigI always says that…bringlifeas animators we moves and lets speak these characters, in practice, we control their movements like “actors” and… in this way we create the…illusionan example of an Animation (on the left) and a totally Mechanic/Lifeless one (on the right). Can you see the difference? If you do, you are on the good way… 😉

let’s see the main differences:

create asymmetric expression to give more appeal!

and don’t forget to smooth any movement with soft lines!

draw05
 I drew a lot  but, I can’t say that I’m a good drawer…

So, we must dispel this fake myth.

No, you don’t need to be a good drawer…to became a good 3D animator!!!

draw04Main Animation Techniques

animtechniques

Traditional Animation

Is composed by sequences of hand drawings created on a series of pages . All the drawings are made on an Animation Desk or Light Table!

A light table has a translucent surface illuminated from behind with a light collocated into the table, on this surface you put the sequence of papers: when you draw the animations, thanks to the light inside the desk, you can see in transparence the drawings on the previous and following pages.

An animation is composed by a sequence of frames, each frame is represented by a drawing.

The Frame rate, the number of frames per second can change depending on the type of project (THIS APPLIES TO ANY TECHNIQUE)

framerate

Computer Animation

Is the animation of objects created in a three-dimensional space.

Using a 3D Software like Maya or 3D Max, we animate a 3D object.

We start with a mesh, “the Model” that is created by the “Modeler”, on this mesh the “Rigger” will create the skeleton, “the Rig”, the series of bones, joints and the selectable controls that the Animator will use to move the character!
Selecting and moving the controls,  we create the motion! 🙂

Stop Motion

With this technique we physically move a real objects, a puppet!

Frame by frame we pose the character and we take pictures of it.

The puppet usually has a structure inside, like an iron skeleton, that allow to easily pose him.