Hello everyone! I should have done this several weeks ago, but better late than never, right? Oh well, onto what I need to do.
An Indroduction to My Project
My specialisation project is focusing on improving my 2D animations, and to do this, I have decided to do many animation tests, and hopefully make at least one smooth animation loop, but also start animating more than just stick figures with basic attachments.
My before I started this project, my animations looked like this:
It’s blocky, and very simple, and there aren’t many attachments, like hair, clothes etc, and what attachments do exist are me guessing how they move and have no real research behind them. They are also very stiff.
By the end of this project I hope that my animations look something closer to this:
While chunky, it is spaced out really well. One of my favourite artists on DeviantArt is Aileen-Rose, who made the video, occassionally does a live stream, where we can ask her questions about her work. She also takes the time to respond to comments on her art and on her profile. The timing of this animation is great, and the expressions on the characters faces really emphasize the emotions and complement what is happening.
To reach these goals I needed to go back to the animation basics that I learnt back in my second trimester, and use the excercises that I was given then and work on my timing, my smooth in and smooth out, as well as my follow through. I also needed to research facial animation, and more to do with follow through. I also wished to start looking into lip sync and hair animation.
Ideas and Reference
The ideas that had at the start of this specialisation project were very ambitious and it was soon discouraged by my lecturer, who encouraged me to do something that would have been more obtainable. However, though I did listen to my lecturer, I shall share my original idea here.
My first idea was to try and animate a short scene from a book that has never been turned into a movie or tv series etc. And the book, well, books, that I turned my attention to for this were the “Black Magician Trilogy” by Trudi Canavan.
I thought it would have been interesting to try, so I collected a few reference images to add to my pitch, as well as draw my own short concept.
However, with that idea being pushed aside, I had to find new ideas for my new project. So I found all the animation exercises that were given to me back in my second trimester and looked though those to see what I could attempt again, I also came up with a few new ideas that I could make.
Ideas that I came up with were a small things like testing cloth animation, hair animation, and animating something from an old script that I wrote in Grade 10. I also wanted to test facial animation.
So I looked up reference for this. Here’s a few of them, so that I don’t fill up a scroll bar of images.
All the artists that I have seen on DeviantArt have used the same workflow for their art, and I believe that I can convert that workflow from digital still images into animation. The artists that I have watched and asked will often draw the rough sketch, sometimes this is on paper, then sketch over that in a paint or photo manipulation program, such as PaintTool Sai or Adobe Photoshop. After they finish the sketch, if it is a commission for someone, then ocasionally send the sketch to their customer and ask their opinion. If the customer wants changes then the artist will do another sketch, then ask again, if not then they do the line art. I have seen some artists in their live streams colour the background before completing the line art. After the line art is finished then they will add the colour, then shading. Speedpaints on YouTube show this workflow well.
I use this workflow with my own images already, so I feel comfortable using it. I have improved on my workflow over the years by asking artists questions, watching speedpaints like the video above, and watching live streams where I can type questions and get them answered right away. Now I just have to translate it to work for animation. I believe it would look something like this:
– Block-out animation
– Rough animation
– Second rough animation
– Line-art animation
– Colour added
– Shading added
I do not think I will be able to complete the whole workflow, just the first few steps, during this project, but just as I did with my art workflow, I shall continue to improve upon my animation workflow.
Practices and Techniques
As suggested by my lecturer, I picked up “The Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams, and it has been my bible for animation for the past weeks. It has many tips and tricks in it that I have looked at and tried to follow, and others that haven’t really stuck yet. I’m sorry Mr. Williams, but I’m afraid that I am unable to work in the dead silence that plagues my house sometimes. I need that music, even if the volume is only at 4%.
This book shows numerous ways to do one movement in animation, such as three catagories of sneaks, a recipe to a walk animation, and the different key poses in a run animation. There is also four pages of the same two frames of animation with different breakdown poses inbetween to change the way the expression is interpreted.
One of the most useful pieces of information that I found in this book were the pages on flexibility. “A great way to get flexibility is WHERE we’re going to place the BREAKDOWN drawing.” (Williams, 2009) These pages include the four pages of the same two faces with different breakdowns. The journey from the face going from one expression to another is all dependant on what emotion the animator wishes to convey. Such as making the mouth flat and bringing it up closer to the nose is a gulp, showing fear or aprehension, or making the smile larger and turning the head up slightly before going to the sad expression would be a show of false confidence. “This ‘simple overlap’ gives us action WITHIN an action. More ‘change’ – more life.” (Williams, 2009)
Another page that helped was the page with the breakdown of the run cycle. It helped me block out my own run cycle, though it isn’t perfect yet, and it has shown me the positions that I needed to draw for my animation.
I probably need to colour the arms to make their movement clearer.
This book has also helped my with my “Mr Amazing Invinci-Ball” skit.
Though it has no squash and stretch on it yet, it works in the stage that it is in now. I will get the squash and stretch finished on this one before my next blog post.
“The Animator’s Survival Kit” has been very useful to me so far, and I’m glad I was able to borrow it from SAE’s library.
Another source of information that I used for this project was the old lessons back from my second trimester at SAE, going back over all the principles of animation. It was very useful going back over the basics again. I don’t know how to reference the lessons, but I can reference the the YouTube playlist that each lesson was focused on.
The “12 Principles of Animation” video series by Alan Becker is a very good series to watch if you want to understand these principles quickly. The videos are only a few minutes long, but explain the topic well and get the point across easily.
This has been a very long blog post, perhaps not my longest, but still long. I hope I haven’t killed your interest. I will post my last two blog posts for this trimester tomorrow. I’m sorry that this is so late and so long, this blog was meant to be in two parts, but I chose to place both parts in one post due to it being so late. So I thank-you for reading this long post, and I’ll see you all tomorrow.