I want to be…an Animator ✏️Mention


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!!!😊

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+20.000 subs!!!


The youtube channel reached the +20.000 subs!!😊THANKS! I would just want to be able to post more videos even if the time is never enough 😣😣😅 #animation #beananimator #iwanttobeananimator #tutorial #lesson #youtube #channel #mentoring #animationforbeginner #learnanimation

Lessons 14 – STAGING


▶️🎈Ok now the video is available for everyone 😉 (sorry for the problem with the premiere) 😛 https://youtu.be/EZ3WFgPBJgo #animation #staging #animationprinciples #beananimator 

LESSON #13 – Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose


-LESSON #13 – Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose-

Let’s see how to approche an animation shot and what’s the best method for us! 😉

Lesson #12 – ARCS


-Lesson #12 – ARCS-

A simple principles that will make a huge difference! ♥ HERE THE LESSON! ENJOY 😉

Arcs01_Iwanttobeananimator.gifSchermata 2018-07-06 a 20.19.54.png

 

Lesson #11 – Exaggeration “RECAP”


Here the written recap of the Lesson #11 based on the animation principle “Exaggeration”

here the Video Lessonindexw

-RECAP-

When we talk about this principle we actually also talk about the other principles we’ve seen so far, because

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.48.18.png


Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.48.23.png

It means to go out from the limit of the realism and exaggerate the actions and the poses to make the final result more instantly readable for the users!

ex1

ex2

It can be applied on:

  • KEY POSES (pushing the lines of action, exaggerating the way you represent a feeling or an action)
  • BREAKDOWNS (exaggerating the arcs, the amount of squash and stretch and breaking some joints)
  • CHARACTER DESIGN (exaggerating shapes, proportions and caricature elements)
  • STORY (exaggerating a concept, an action to make it stronger)
  • POSES (exaggerating the representation of a mood or an action)
  • TIMING/SPACING (make it more cartoony exaggerating the contrast between acceleration and deceleration of a movement)

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.49.44.png


But as animator we have to focus just on some of this:

  • KEY POSES
  • BREAKDOWNS
  • POSES
  • TIMING/SPACING

But it’s not as simple as the word would suggest!

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.50.03.png

When we exaggerate we must be sure that it helps to:

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.50.12

Exaggerate doesn’t means to do something completely out of any physic principle and realism, BUT it means do something starting from realism and exaggerate it to make it more interesting, enhancing and push an idea!

And it gradually increases depending on the level of cartoon style of the animation!

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.50.29.png

 


I’ll show you some of this example but this principle would really requires long talks and practice to really understand it and know how to push it!

Exaggerate Poses

Do it in KEY POSES pushing your poses to cleary show the mood, always based on the style you need. You have different solutions depending on how much of realism you want!

 


In this simple example we can see a normal jump:ex3.gif

…and this other one more cartoony and exaggerated!ex4.gif

If we compare the two jumps, we can see that the first one is more close to reality: there’s a small anticipation, the jump distance is not so long, so this is very close to how a real jump looks like

In the second version: I made a bigger anticipation (the hip goes much more down, the arms raise more) and the spacing is different, there’s more preparation to the jump so during the anticipation there’s a longer pause, then I over stretched the body during the push (especially the legs and the chest), the jump is higher and there’s a slower spacing when he stays in the air so he jumps very fast and then decelerates in the air. Then he accelerates when he falls, I stretched the body again and when he lands I made the feelings that he’s heavier making a stronger lands, with the hips that goes very low and a big pause before he stands up again! Also the jump distance is exaggerated!


You also can use it in BREAKDOWNS: for example when you broke a joint during an action, this is not reality but it’s an exaggeration of the arc that you will create with this movement!

You can use deformers (if there’re in the rig) to accentuate the curve of the arms and give (for just 1 max 2 frames) an innatural flexibility to the “bones” to give more energy and create a nice arc and it also help to create a smoother transition in a very fast spacing whenre the arms moves from point A to point B in few frames!

ex5Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.51.54

 


Use it in EXPRESSION you can exaggerate the organic feel of the face, make it super flexible. Exaggerate the asymmetry, exaggerate the lines of action, just as for the body poses, to make the acting and the feelings more convincing!

When you stretch a face, push it to give the idea that the head and the muscles could really stretch as a balloon of water! Stretch the eyes, the mouth and the neck and use the shoulders to emphasize the push upward that we have during a take!

Do the same when you squash an head, press it in the chest and raise the shoulders! Also squash and press the eyes between the eyebrows that push down and the cheeks that push up!


Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.52.54.png

Starting from a realistic bouncing ball, you can create a version more cartoony and exaggerated: increasing the contrast with fast and slow spacing, when the ball is in the air we have a slower spacing, and when it falls we have a big acceleration!

We can also exaggerate the amount of squash and stretch, keeping the stretch longer during the fall and make a bigger squash in the contact!ex6.gif

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.53.15.png

In this simple animation of a ball you can exaggerate the timing and the spacing to add energy to the scene and If this would be a character ….. we would have two different jumps and the exaggerated one, with more contrast in the spacing and an exaggerated use of the squash and stretch, results more cartoon and appealing!

ex7.gif


This is all for this lesson, don’t miss the next one! 🙂

LESSON #11 – EXAGGERATION


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! 😉

COMING SOON: Exaggeration Lesson


Working on the next lesson, the ways we can use Exaggeration are infinite but the good result depends on our ability to use it in a proper way 😉 I’ll need a bit of time to finish this one, is not easy to find the best way to explain this complex principle! 🙂
#animation #learnanimation #exaggeration #lesson #beananimator #animationforbeginner

Lesson011_ExaggerationBEG.png

exaggerationPreview.jpg

NEW: English SUBTITLES!


English subtitles available!

From now on you’ll have the possibility to turn on the subtitles on my next videos and I’m working to add subtitles also on all my previous lessons and tutorials! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFH3EZs1BE4&t=4s

subtitles.png

Lesson #10 – Secondary Action “RECAP”


Here the written recap of the Lesson #10 based on the animation principle “Secondary Action” 😉

here the Video Lesson

indexw

-RECAP-

Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.21.29

Secondary Actions are the kind of things I like to put in my shots to add details regarding the character’s attitude and personality, and ’cause I really like to have some “natural” movements that we usually do in real life but that we probably don’t notice!

This is not the easiest principle, you really have to learn how to use it and when the shot requires it, otherwise you risk to add too much movements in your shot that would result confused and unreadable for the user!

Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.21.39

In a piece of animation you have the PRIMARY ACTION, the main action that is necessary to describe the story

But, you can add SECONDARY ACTIONS to give more depth to the scene, to add more informations about the character’s personality and make the scene more entertaining!

Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.21.50.png

Example: in a scene we have to see a character sitting at a table, this is the main action, but we can add the action of moving the chair forward and some adjusting movements to make it more natural and interestingSitting01.gifIf we take off the secondary actions, the main action is still clear and it works, on the contrary, we couldn’t take off the primary action ’cause the secondary ones are subordinate to the main one!Sitting02.gif

  • MAIN ACTION + SECONDARY ACTION = tell the story and perfectly work together
  • MAIN ACTION – SECONDARY ACTION = tell the same story
  • SECONDARY ACTION – MAIN ACTION = ? (no sense)

Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.22.34.png

Secondary actions are just a plus, something we add to:

  • support the main action
  • to make the performance stronger and appealing
  • to add realism and authenticity to the scene

IMPORTANT: This secondary actions don’t have to “steal” the attention from the main action, but just fortify it!


The secondary actions are strictly connected to the characters in the shot and they are based on the character’s personality and mood in that moment

But they are also specific to the location and props in that environment!Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.23.10.png


Tip: study the body language to add the right gestures to well describe the character’s feelings!


 -Examples of secondary actions created using BODY MOVEMENTS-

  • A character sitting and waiting for someone could be a bit nervous and you can add a movement of the foot to better show this feeling

Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.23.39.png


Waiting.gif


  • Or… someone uncomfortable could scratch his head while speaking <- secondary action Scratch2.gif

  • Or… a sad and resigned mood could be emphasized with the body shape but also with a secondary action like kick a pebble, so we add this little movement of the foot kicking a little stonePebble.gif


     -Examples of secondary actions created using EXPRESSIONS and FACE MOVEMENTS-

  • a character crying could wipes a tear with an handSchermata 2018-01-10 a 16.24.30.png

Cry02.gif


  • A character that moves his eyes left or right while talking to someone…shows his embarrassmentRight.gif

  • A fast look up during an acting to communicate disappointmentUp.gif

  • During a walk, that is the primary action, you can add the head movements looking around and changing expression according to the character’s mood

Walk.gif


-Examples of secondary actions created using PROPS INTERACTION-

I personally love to add props the characters can play with during a dialogue or in many other situations!

  • A character playing with a pen while speaking to someone, the pen is a prop connected to the location (we have a desk so this is a common prop for this type of location)Pen.gif

  • We could do the same with a prop connected to the character like his glasses, he could take them and use them to support the actingGlasses.gif

 


  • In this case… the character is eating and he just stands there, because he’s thinking and probably someone is speaking to him, but we could add a secondary action of him playing with the food to give the idea that he’s thinking about stuff or just annoyedeat.png

  • If your character is sitting on a sofa, he could bring a cushion to make the action more realistic and interestingSofa

  • If he’s drinking he could touch the glass while speaking or thinking, just to avoid moments where the character doesn’t do nothing and again, in this way it’s easier to have a connection with the character’s feelingsdrink.png

This are just some common and easy secondary actions, with the experience you’ll be able to add more complex secondary actions


Workflow tip: Start blocking the main action first, watch the shot several times and ask yourself…how you could make it more interesting in terms of rhythm, entertaining and to better describe the character’s feelings and mood?

Then decide where to add this secondary actions and watch it again and again to make sure that they …don’t overshadow the main action!

In that case…is better to avoid too many secondary actions! 😉


That is all about this principle! See you for the next one “Exaggeration”! 🙂

Lesson #10 – Secondary Action


One of my favourite animation principle: SECONDARY ACTION! How to play with props (and not only that) to make your animation more interesting 😉

Cry01

Rigs:

Alya https://www.facebook.com/AlyaRig/

Ink https://iwanttobeananimator.wordpress…

Lesson 10 “Secondary Actions” COMING SOON


I’m working on this new lesson right now, another explanation with examples of the anination principles “Secondary Actions” 😉

Tutorial 10 – Breakdown of a Dragon Animation


-Breakdown of a Dragon Animation-

Well…after a big break I finally uploaded a new tutorial (it has been a bit hard to finish it…I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on it) but I hope you enjoy it 😉

Schermata 2017-12-03 a 23.59.38.png

In this Tutorial I show the breakdown of a Dragon Animation, step by step I’ll show the process for the creation of the shot. I made this animation in 2 days and this tutorial is based on the principles explained in the Lesson 09 “FOLLOW-THOURGH AND OVERLAPPING” https://iwanttobeananimator.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/lesson-9-follow-through-and-overlapping/

Tutorial #09 – How to Animate a Tail


– HOW TO ANIMATE A TAIL –

How to Animate a Tail RECAP

If you watched my Lesson 9 you should be able to put in practice what Follow-Through and Overlap mean and how to use them

We will start from a very simple example:Follow_Through10

I will use this super simple rig of an head/ball with a fluffy tailTail01

Tail02

To approach an animation like this, I usually start animating the body

In this case…the head/ball, ignoring the tail for the moment

So I hide the tail mesh and I animate the ball up to the refine and polishingTail01.gif

When my animation is finished, I go to animate the tail

At this point you should already know that I’m used to use different shaders to simplify my workflow so I create a sort of rainbow tail assigning different colors to each section of the tail connected to a jointTail04.png

So, I set the first pose for the tail…Tail06.png

…and then I go to animate the first section, the ones directly attached to the ball, that is the leading partTail05.png

that will drag the rest of the tailTail07.png

but in turn, the first section is dragged by the ball headTail08


 

So, following the main action of the ball, I go to animate just the first section that would react to the ball movementTail09

It’s important to determinate if the tail will be just dragged by the ball movement or if will also moves independentlyTail10.png

In my case, the tail is mainly dragged by the ball, but also has an independent movement when needed

For example: at the beginning I want to use the tail to have the “push” for the jump! So, even if the ball has a very small rotation and the squash to gain energy for the jump, I move the tail right and left to increase this push and have more power for the jumpTail11.png


During the jump, when the ball is stretched, the tail must point downward, ’cause it has a delay compared to the ballTail12.png


Also during the spinning in the hair, the tail overlap the main action, the ball rotation. As you can see, here I rotate the tail on the right, dragged by the rotation of the ballTail13.png


When the ball stops his rotation, the tail will stop with a delay of 3/4 or 5 framesTail14.png


For all the time that the ball stays in the air, the tail will continue to move upward, with a very slow spacingTail15.png


When the ball starts to fall, the tail is raised up Tail17.pngand just as before, after the ball landed on the ground, the tail will arrive with 3/4 frames of delayTail18.png

Don’t care about compenetration for the moment, cause we will go to adjust the position when we will animate the rest of the tail!


Then we have the following little bounces so, we go to animate the settle, moving the tail up and down for a couple of time, decreasing the movement up to the complete stopTail19.png

This is the animation of the first section of the tail:Tail02.gif

After that we go back to animate the rest of the tail, one section at the time, and following the order starting from the topTail20.png

Each section will have a delay of 2/3 frames compared to the previous sectionTail21

What you have to remember is that each part would first react to the movement of the part that drag it, moving in the opposite direction

 

Let’s see an example with less tail’s sections:

when this section moves forward…Tail23

…the following part is dragged but it turns in the opposite direction due to the delayTail24

and then it will follow the first section movementTail25

The last part would have the same reaction but it’s dragged by the second section, so at the beginning it would rotate on the right when the second one rotates on the leftTail26


 

Even during breakdowns and in-betweens you have to be extremely careful to create a nice and rounded shape

Avoid straight lines, except when its completely stretched like during the fall, in this cases a straight line is allowed!


Keep attention to the arcs that you will create with the tail action!Tail30

A nice tip is to use maya tools or script to create an onion skin that shows you the previous and following poses or to draw on maya…

…but I prefer the old school transparent/celluloid paper that I put on the screen (that is always attached to the back of my Mac and I easily turn it on when I need it) Tail31.png

Tail32I can quickly draw the arc I want for the tail movement and then, frame by frame I go to adjust the positions, following that path

Tail03.gif


With this simple rules and if you well understood this principles, your final result should be something like this:Follow_Through01So, this was a simple tutorial for a basic tail animation, with a straight ahead approach! 

I will do an other tutorial with a more complex rig but if you are just beginners…

I suggest you to start with a short and simple animation and became familiar with the concept of drag, follow-trough and overlap!

You can follow the Exercise 05 based on this tutorial! 😉

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

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! 😉

How to make the best use of this channel!


Little and quick video with some explanations 😛

Tutorial #07 – How to Refine a Shot


-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)

GE01.png

First of all, it’s not something you have to be scared of!GE02a.png

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! GE03

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 wantSchermata 2017-06-22 a 16.57.04

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 windowsSchermata 2017-06-22 a 16.57.09.png

Select all the controls of your character and … as you can see your animation is visualized in the Graph Editor as CURVESSchermata 2017-06-22 a 17.05.18

Each curve is the rapresentation of the motion of the different axis, that you can see on the leftSchermata 2017-06-22 a 17.05.23

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

GE05.png

I’m going to show you the tools you’ll use most of the time from this menu:

_________________________

GE05_cycle.png

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 –> INFINITYSchermata 2017-06-22 a 17.23.58.png

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

cycle1

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)

cycle2

If you want to take off the cycle: just select Curves –> Pre and Post Infinity –> Constant

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GE05_bake.png

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

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GE05_euler

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! Schermata 2017-06-22 a 17.52.32.png

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GE05_refine.png

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 fromBLK.gif

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 likeAUTO.gif

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 recentlyyou may have something more chaotic the first times! Schermata 2017-06-22 a 18.35.31.png

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 roboticAUTO 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:Schermata 2017-06-22 a 18.45.10.png

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! 🙂

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”)

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! 😉