When I started this channel….I just had in mind to create a couple of video tutorials, just for fun and test myself in something new..trying to explain my animation method to others through quick and simple videos demonstrations. I wasn’t sure to be able to do that and I was ready to “delate” the first video uploaded if I would have received a flood of insults 😅But…this didn’t happen and a lot of aspirants animators just founded my videos easy to understand and a font of inspiration, so ..I want to say thanks to all this people that supported this project and when I read my Blog listed in article like “10 Awesome Animation Blogs for your Inspiration”….I just feel happy😁Thanks Florian and Introbrand.com for the mention!!!😊
Rigs Showcase #1 – I’d like to present “LEE”, a new cartoon style character RIG created by SquigglyRigs
Buy “Lee” Character using the special coupon with 50%OFF applying the code you see in the image below
WHERE WERE WE? 🙂 We still miss 5 Animation Principles and here a new one “Exaggeration”!
Is not so easy to figure out how to use this principle … it requires a marked sensibility, a good eye and a lot of practice! As soon as we’ll finish the principles I was thinking to create an E-Book to gather what we have done so far…so… I’ll keep you update! 😉
I really didn’t had enough time for this channel in the last days, I’m having big changes in my life so… sometimes it’s really hard to find a little “moment” just for my stuff 😛
BUT…. I’m working on a new video tutorial/breakdowns based on a shot connected to the last lesson “Follow-through and Overlap”!
This is just a little preview, a wip of the blocking, showing part of the shot! Just few poses…
I used two rigs for this shot: my Tail ball/head and Arc the Dragon by Josh Sobel!
Both the rigs have an element like tail and wings that show the principle of follow-through and overlap applied to an easy basic tail animation (for the ball) and a more complex animation of tail and wings for the Dragon! 😉
In the video I’ll show you how I concepted the shot from 2d sketches up to the refine version!
So…I hope to be able to continue to work on that and…post it as soon as possible! 🙂
In the meantime you can follow this blog (just clikc on the follow button on the right :P) so that you’ll receive an email when I will post something new, and….. like and follow my: Facebook Page – Twitter and Youtube Channel! 😉
-How to Animate a Throw-
How to Animate a Throw RECAP
In this quick tutorial I will show the main poses, the timing and the spacing to animate a character throwing an object. The tutorial is linked to the Lesson 08 “ANTICIPATION”
I’ll use Ink, the official rig of my channel! Ink has a very simple design to better focus on the poses and animation, and has this flat monochromatic texture with shoulders, chest and hip lines to helps you to create nice and appealing poses for him! 😉
Let’s create the object he will throw away, a simple ball. We go to create the control for the ball and we parent the mesh to it
I set the camera, with the character on a side and I create a plane to check feet position and compenetration
We set the first pose, you can do the pose you want. In my pose he holds the ball with both the hands, he’s quite relaxed, the shoulders are rotated downward, the head is a bit rotated downward like he’s watching to the object and the feet are pretty spread, the weight of the character is more on the left foot
Let’s adjust the finger position, to avoid compenetrations and be sure that the hands are really holding the ball, so keep attention to pose each finger in good and natural pose
Now add a constraint for the ball! Select the right hand control, then the ball ctrl and create a translation and rotation constraint
Let’s create the anticipation main pose, around frame 28
The timing I’m using is just indicative, to give you an idea of the distance between a key pose and an other, but you can do it with your own timing
So, for the anticipation he will move backward with the entire body, stretching the chest, and he also moves back the right foot to balance the weight, raise the hell of the right foot (he’s really stretched in this pose, so he needs to stand on his toes)
Now just one hand holds the ball, the right one and I move it pretty backward, is not completed straight but a bit bended (try to simulate this movement yourself, you will see that the more natural pose is keeping the hand faced towards the area where you will throw it, and you will naturally move upward your shoulder)
The left hand started to move forward and it’s bended towards the body, it helps to maintain the balance and gain more energy
Now let’s move forward in the timeline for the extreme throw pose, around frame 42
The body moves and roates forward. The weight of the character is on the left foot, but the right foot in the air helps him to balance the weight and contrast the power of the throw that moved him forward. Create a nice and pretty relaxed pose for the right foot, with the toes pointing down.
The right hand is now straight and stretched in front of the character, the left arm moves backward, and it’s still bended at this point
The head is rotate upward, contrasting the rotation of the chest, he’s following the ball movement
Let’s add an other little anticipation, around frame 8 with the very small movement upward with the hip and the hands, just before the big backward movement (pose 28)
Practically, we go to create an anticipation of an other anticipation!
Now we add an important breakdown, around frame 15, when he starts to move backward, here we need to slow down the spacing between the pose at frame 8 and the pose at frame 28
The body starts to move down and backward, the left hand is not touching the ball anymore but it’s still pretty close to it, the chest is squashed and rotated forward, and the right foot started to slide backward, I keep it flat on the ground, I just overlap a bit the toes that moves offsetted by 1 frame
Let’s add an other important key to slow down before the pose at frame 28
(we need to keep this pose longer) so let’s add a in-between approximately 5/6 frames before the pose at frame 28
On this new in-between, frame 22, the body is already stretched and ready for the throw (with a pose really close to the pose at frame 28)
So the big movement and change in position is between frame 15 and frame 22
Now we slow down again just after the pose at 28
Add an in-between at frame 34 where he just starts to move a bit up and forward , very small change
On frame 39 he continues the movement up and forward BUT the chest is still rotated backward
Bend backward the right arm so that the hand with the ball don’t moves too much, maintain a position closed to the position of frame 28 (use deformers for the arms and create a very dynamic pose)
The right foot starts to move upward in the air and the hip in this transition moves a bit upward as well
Now we need to add two poses at the end for the SETTLE
On frame 46 the body continues to move and rotate forward, the right hand goes down, the left hand continues the movement upward, and the same for the right foot
On the last frame the body starts to go back, the right foot to go down and forward, and we have a follow trought of head, forearms and wrists
Now that we have all the poses we can switch the curves in stepped to see the result (the ball is still attached to the hand, but let’s ignore it for the moment, we will animate the ball in a second time)
We can now proceed with REFINE, we change again the curves in auto tangent and let’s polish the path of arms and the right foot
We start with the right arm: if you create a motion trail, you will see that the path of action of the arm movement is not so nice, we can do better then this so we go to add some poses for the arms in order to create a nicer path
Continue to polish your curves and when the body is done you can move to the ball
On the frame where you want to turn off the constraint on the ball (frame 41 for me) add a key on the ball control and it will create a blend parent attribute: set it to 0 and add a key
On the frame before (frame 40) add an other key on this attribute and set it at 1
Now the constrain is active up to frame 40, after that you can animate the ball
On frame 41 we move the ball forward following a linear path, it must be already pretty distance from the hand, with a very fast spacing
Add a stretch on it, then move forward in the timeline and place the ball so that it goes out of the screen in very few frames, 3 or 4 frames, keeping the stretch!
That’s it, this is my final resul! 😉If you want to re create this throw animation you can do the Exercise #4 following the steps of this tutorial and send me your animation (adding a link in the comments) to receive a feedback !
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!!! 😛
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!
that’s why we use ANTICIPATION! That, as the word suggest, is nothing more than the “preparation to the action”!
We can have
let’s see some example:when 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!
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!
Or… 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!
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
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
Some 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
Example: the door settle doing little movements back and forward in few frames
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! 😉
-How to Refine a Shot –
PART1: Before start to show my workflow to Refine a Shot I need to do a quick explanation of the main tools of the Graph Editor (for Beginners), here the main topic:
– Introduction to the Graph Editor
– Main Useful Tools
– Create a Cycle Animation
– How to Bake an Animation
– Quick fix gimbal Lock and Flipping with Euler Filter
In the Tutorial I used the “Alya’s Rig” https://www.facebook.com/AlyaRig/
PART2: I will use an animation I made a while ago to show you my workflow when I have to refine a shot! 😉 ANIMATION SHOT
In the Tutorial I used the “Eleven Rig” http://elevenrig.blogspot.it/
“Refine a Shot – Graph Editor” – RECAP (BEGINNERS)
First of all, it’s not something you have to be scared of!
I know exactly how you feel when you open it for the first time, ’cause when I started this job, I tried to avoid it as mush as possible, I found it too
…. “technical”, I had the feeling to lose part of my instinct and I always preferred to work directly in the viewport, like “I don’t care how my curves look like! The animation works so ….it doesn’t matter!” but…in hindsight, now that I’m used to work with it and I know how useful and important is to make beautiful animation, I would like to show you and explain the Graph Editor in the easiest way, so that you can focus on the important aspects and you don’t be too much intimidated by it!
When you have your keys on the timeline, open the Graph Editor
Window –> Animation Editors –> Graph Editor
(I’M USING MAYA 2015, so … if you have other versions you may find it a bit visually different!)
Like any other panel you can click in the button right angle to scale it and adjust it as you want
Or, you can change the layout of you view scene by choosing the Persp/Graph option and you will have the view scene splitted in 2 windows: with your camera in the upper part (in this case you have the persp but you can change it with the camera you prefer) and the Graph Editor below. By clicking in the middle you can change the size of the windows
Select all the controls of your character and … as you can see your animation is visualized in the Graph Editor as CURVES
Each curve is the rapresentation of the motion of the different axis, that you can see on the left
You can select each axis one by one, or select multiple axis by keeping press shift!
To Move in the Graph Editor, just do as with the viewport navigation:
- Pan: press Alt or Option and middle-drag
- Zoom: press Alt or Option and right-drag
To Fit the entire curve in the window: point on the graph editor and press A
If you want to zoom on a part of the curves: select the keys and press F
I’m going to show you the tools you’ll use most of the time from this menu:
When you have an animation and you want to create a cycle (a walk cycle or anything else you need to loop) the first thing to do is to open the Graph Editor and switch on the Infinity to visualize the cycle from VIEW –> INFINITY
then… select the curves and from the menu Curves turn on the cycle on both Pre Infinity and Post Infinity. In this way you will cycle before and after your first and last keys
an other type of cycle you can use is the CYCLE with OFFSET, in this case when you have the first and last keys values different (for example like in a walk cycle forward, or in a cycle in place when you move forward the main control with the first and last keys with different values) the cycle starts from the values of the last and the first keys (in a progressive way)
If you want to take off the cycle: just select Curves –> Pre and Post Infinity –> Constant
in some cases you will need to bake your animation: this means that the software will convert each frame in keyframe (this is useful in case you need to convert in keyframe a cycle or to keyframe a constraint, or to export your animation for a game engine and other cases)
to bake the keys, go on CURVES –> BAKE CHANNEL and open the options:
here you can choose which part of the animation you want to bake: you can decide to bake a range of frames based on your current time slider or to chose a range typing the start and the end.
And the interval between the keys: you decide if have a keys any 1/2/3 or more frames
this is not the only way to fix a Gimbal Lock or a Flipping rotation issues, and it doesn’t work always, but it works in many cases! 😉
so, if you have this type of issues you can try to use the EULER FILTER: you can see in the graph editor the curve with the issue (should be pretty visible :P)
select the keys and go to CURVES –> EULER FILTER!
This is my personal workflow when I go to refine an animation.
I’ll use this animation I made a while ago, this is the final version
For a matter of time I’ll show just a little part of the animation and this is the blocking I started from
If I’m sure that the blocking works well, that everything is readable, that I have the right timing, appealing poses (nice and readable) that perfectly fit’s the character mood …..so… when the biggest part is done, what we are going to see in the shot is already there, I just need to refine the animation: make everything fluid, polish the curves, adjust the spacing, offset some parts and add some details!
I set in spline (or auto tangent) all the keys and…let’s see how it looks like
if you have done good blocking (adding the right keys in the right position, with a good timing) when you’ll convert your tangents in spline, the result should be something enough clear and polished! 😉
BUT … if you just started to animate recently…you may have something more chaotic the first times!
Some animator tends to add too much key poses during the blocking, two many acting choices or too much breakdowns and in-betweens, and when they convert in spline … the graph editor is a bit confusing! Sometimes they have to delate most of the blocking and re-do the work, so here some tips for your blocking:
so don’t be angry if the first times you will have something more confusing, you’ll get used to it with the experience! 😉
My version already works but the movements are a bit robotic the character needs life and a bit of love ! (Don’t care about the lip-sync ’cause I just added some poses in the BLK and I’ll try do do an entire lesson just for the lip-sync ’cause it would take too much time)
the first thing I’ll go to adjust is the:
for example: the first movement is too slow, everything starts to move too soon so I want to keep the first pose for more frame. But I don’t want to freeze it, I just go to slow it down!
In the timeline I quickly add keys and move them back or forth to edit the spacing! This will make the process faster, ’cause after that… I’ll go to clean them in the graph editor but I already have the right spacing to work with and is also faster ’cause in this way I can move all the controls at the same time and not one by one
after I worked on the timeline, I go to clean and adjust the curves in the graph editor, trying to smooth the motion.
Now I will adjust the Moving Holds at the end of a movement, slowing down the spacing in the final part! To do that I add an in-between before the last key pose, with a value really close to the final one, so the animation stops more softly.
If you reach the final position too fast and then you don’t keep a bit of motion (a great motion and suddenly a flat curve with no motion at all) the resault will be an abrupt stop and very mechanic motion.
If the stop is too slow (so if we have too much motion at the end) the result is not realistic anyway and would result too floaty
Now I go to add Follow-through and Overlap offsetting same parts, example:
- offset the upper torso from the middle torso, the neck from the torso, the head from the neck
- the same for the arm, I need to offset the forearm, from the arm, the wrist from the forearm, and the fingers from the wrist
- same for the leg, shin offsetted compare to leg, foot offsetted from the shin, and toes from the foot
after the blocking I have all the keys on the same frames, so each part of the body reacts, starts to move and ends the motion at the same time, on the same frame with exactly the same timing! We need to add variation, ’cause each part would react in a different way and time!
To offset the keys I just select all of them (a controller at the time) and I drag them forward in the graph editor or directly in the timeline as much frames as I need, then I adjust the curves in the graph editor and I add some in-betweens when necessary (adjusting shapes, arcs etc)
Then I add more Breakdowns: I add the blinks where needed or I simply adjust them, I animate the squash for the head and I check my arcs!
I want to be sure that each movement follows a nice path: the arm, the head, the chest…you can use motion trail to visualize the paths of your movements and adjust them to create smooth and nice arcs!
To use the motion trail you have to select the control of the parts of the body you want to check, and in the Animation Tab, go on Animate —> Create Editable Motion Trails and then turn on the visibility from Show —> Motion Trails
the software will displays a red line that is your path of action. Anytime we move the control (so we change the position), the trail changes. You can also turn on the handles to adjust the arc. In this example you can also see a motion trail displaying a figure 8 path, that is very used in animation, for example for the swing of the arms during a walk.
Why arcs are so important? Most of the movement should create an arc in their path of action, this makes the animation more fluid and more realistic!
BUT There some particular cases where straight paths are necessary so … always keep in mind the type of animation you are doing and make your decision based on that.
In the in-betweens and breakdowns you can use deformers to adjust the shapes to better follow the arc.
before the arms stops I added this little settle back and forth ‘cause the gesture is pretty fast and strong, so adding a simple slowing down at the end would take off a bit of power from the gesture, resulting too soft! I already have a smooth and slow movement before, when she moves the pencil while she thinks and stalling before make the question, so… it’s more interesting to break this rhythm adding a faster and stronger movement when she finish the question, also the contrast with the soft bended arm before and this straight rigid line at the end helps to emphasize the acting!
What is a settle at the end of a motion? Some type of movements need to settle after the stop! A sort of soft or strong rebound back and forth
An object reaches a forward position, then goes back and forth 1 or more times!
If the object (or the character) is composed by different parts, they will stop at different time and different way to settle!
Now I add a bit of movement to each part of the body, this because we should always move the entire body!
A human body is composed by parts connected to each other and each part has an influence on the closest one!
So even if with very subtle movements, in most of the cases we should consider that when we animate a part this should affect an other one.
In my blocking I didn’t add any movement to the right arm, it’s totally freezed in position and also there’s no movement to the lower part of the body, the hip, ’cause this parts actually don’t do nothing, but they need to react anyway! Something soft, but enough to make it part of a body in motion, and not a separate object and also to add vitality to the entire animation!
I look throw each poses to be sure that are nice and readable, I use deformers if necessary to adjust arm and legs shapes
I check if there’s some compenetrations with props and environments or with the body itself!
I check the eyes, the more important part to make a character alive, eyes are so important, the look have to be focused on something (unless the character is thinking to something, or…other particular cases where the eyes just stares off) I check the pupils position, when a look is on a side, keep attention to don’t put the pupil too inward, it’s unnatural, and we lose the characters life! So keep at least half of the pupils visible!
I go to add all the little details at the end, like the offset of the prop, the pencil, that must has a bit of delay compared to the hand movement. I add the hair animation and….that’s it!
I hope this video helps a bit to show you how useful the graph editor can be, and how to approach refine to make your animation looks better! 🙂
-Animate an Head Take-
Learn how to animate an Head Take in two variations, a soft take and one more cartoony! 😉
This tutorial is connected to the Lesson 07 where I explain the principles of SQUASH and STRETCH!
In the Tutorial I used the “Eleven Rig”
After the tutorial I suggest you do do the Exercise#3 “Animate an Head Take”
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”)
I’m working on the new Lesson but in the meantime I’m also working on this Shot for a friend with Alya Rig 😉
When the shot will be finished I will post a breakdown video on how I created the shot, step by step! 🙂
This is just a wip, a sort of animatic, I put together some poses of the 3D charcater and I painted over them to create the outfits (the 3D outfits version will be modeled at a later stage). In this way I already can choose the timing, the main poses and actions and I will have a more clear idea in mind when I will start the animation!
So far, I created some sketches, studied the outfits and the concept of the shot! It’s an introducing video for Alya so we will show her in different styles…it will take a while to finish ’cause I never have enough free time but…I’m really enjoying working on it! 😉
-Animate a Character Turn-
Learn how to animate a Character Turn in two different Timing, Fast and Slow! 🙂
This tutorial is connected to the Lesson 05 where I explain the principles of TIMING and SPACING!
In this Tutorial I used this lovely Rig “Alya” by Eyad Hussein https://eyad.tv/home/ 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…
After the tutorial I suggest you do do the Exercise#2 “Animate a Character Turn”
Charater Turn Tutorial RECAP
Let’s see how to animate two different turns of a character:
The first Turn we are going to do is the:
We start setting the two key poses. In the first one she looks on the left screen, and in the last one she looks on the right, with a surprised expression.
The idea is that she suddenly hears something coming from the right screen. So, the movement will be pretty fast: 10 Frames
The software create the interpolation between this two poses
and the result is a linear movement that is really far from the result we want
let’s add an in-between two frames after the first pose, at frame 3
the position of the head is pretty close to the first one, so we slow down the spacing!
To slow down the head rotation, go in the graph editor, select the head rotation axis and drag down the key at frame 3, so that we have less change in position between frame 1 and frame 3
So, REMEMBER THAT: in the part where we have a SLOW SPACING we have less change in position, the movement is slower and the curve is almost flat, where we have a FAST SPACING we have more change, the movement is faster and the curve go down, or go up, depends on the axis movement!
so, in the In-between at frame 3 the head is still rotated on the left, we have a little downward translation of the chest, the shoulders rotate a bit upwards and the eyes open a bit! JUST A BIT!! 😀
Let’s add a breakdown at frame 5
the chest continue to go down (just a bit)
and we speed up the spacing of the head rotation. It starts to rotate on the right
and we also add a little squash of the head. So the head volume deforms a bit, decreasing in height and increasing in width
between frame 3 and frame 5 we have the change of the look direction, it moves from left to right
and we shouldn’t use more then 2 frames, otherwise we would have a floating look result and the characters would result totally lifeless!
So at frame 3 we still have the same look position of frame 1, but at frame 5 we already have the same look position of the last pose
So, at frame 5 we move the look manually on the right
This movement must to be really fast and two frames is even too much, so let’s go at frame 4 and we move it a bit more on the right
So the big movement happens between frame 3 and frame 4, and at frame 5 we have a bit adjustment
Let’s reduce the spacing in the end! We add an in-between at frame 8, where the head almost reached the final position
To slow down the movement we do as before, in the graph editor, we move the key more close to the last one so the curve is almost flat
Last, we add a MOVING HOLD, approximately 10/12 frames after the last pose. We just smooth the movement: the head, the chest, and the eyes continues to move just a bit, just enough to don’t result that the body freezes
Now you can also add some details and overlap, like the hairs animation or a blink in the breakdown!
Let’s now do the:Like the other one we start setting the two key poses. For this slow turn let’s imagine for example that she’s just looking around. On the first key she looks on the left screen, now in a much more relaxed expression, and in the last key, she’s turned on the right screen. The movement now it’s slower, 30 Frames
The software create the interpolation between this two poses
and we have this LINEAR movement
Let’s add a breakdown approximately more close to the first key, at frame 12
on this breakdown the head is still rotated on the left screen, we have a small translation downward and a bit of squash of the head, we add an half blink, so we translate downward the upper lids and the eyebrows, and just a bit the bottom lids up
we add an in-between around frame 20. We slow down the spacing, at this point the head almost reached the final position
we add an other in-between just after the first key pose, at frame 5
here the change is really imperceptible, the head almost doesn’t move, it just have a tiny translation downward, also the upper lids and the eyebrows moves upward just a little bit
So…the main head turn happens between frame 12 and frame 20!
Between frame 14 and frame 16 we change the eye look direction, in this three frames (at frame 15 the eyes almost reached the position of frame 16)!
And after that… we add the moving hold at the end
and some hair animation!
11 Second Club – February Competition
I had some free time last month so I attended for the first time the 11 Second Club Competition 🙂
Time of work: 3 days
Rig: Eleven RIg http://elevenrig.blogspot.de/
Audio from the movie “Ghostbusters” 2016
Lesson #4 –Principles of Animation RECAP
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! 😉
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)
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.
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”. After 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.
Clear? 🙂 Let’s sum it again:
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:
Let’s start …!
The 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 movement
The SPACING is the variation of the speed during the change of position
SLOW SPACING: less change in position
FAST SPACING: more change
SLOW-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.
A 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.
The 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.
If 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.
To 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.
When 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!
APPEAL 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!
Any 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.
When 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!
There 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.If 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.
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!
Quick Introduction to the “Principles of Animation”
In the next lessons I’ll explain each principles in more detail with tutorials and exercises! 😉
Short guide for those who want to became 3D Character Animator!
A very fast “tour” in the pahses that make up the creation of a 3D Projects! 🙂
Lesson #1 – Animation Techniques RECAP
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 characterI always says that…as animators we moves and lets speak these characters, in practice, we control their movements like “actors” and… in this way we create the…an 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!
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!!!
Main Animation Techniques
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)
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! 🙂
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.