And for the last of my blog posts this trimester, I give you the post-mortem for my Specialisation Project. I wish that this had been the main project for this trimester, and that the group project had held less sway on our learning outcomes, then I’d spend more time researching animation techniques then worrying about how much time I have to complete a shot for someone. Though I will conceed to the point that many of our learning outcomes are all about following the project brief, going from pre to post preduction, and working with a team towards the final deliverable. Anyway, onto what this blog post is actually meant to be about.
My specialisation project this trimester focused on improving my 2D animation skills, and broadening my understanding of different techniques so that my animation look more believable. So in the end I endevoured to make this:
What went well, and why?
I think, in the end, what went well was my research. I found websites, articles and books that were able to give me information and recommendations that I could use and that I could easily read over several times to make sure I understood what I was doing. There were also plenty of sources of information to cross reference. The most helpful source was “The Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams, and I say that because it is a book, that I can physically hold, and bookmark. I can keep it open on the same page and not change tabs on my computer while I am animating.
Another thing that went well was the actual animation. I had a few problems with my laptop maxing out it’s memory usage, but that is such an easily fixed problem that it was merely an inconvienence. For once I didn’t focus on the look of my drawings and just focused on getting the movement right.
What didn’t go well, and why?
To continue off the animation part of the last question, there were some animations that I did focus on the look and not the movement, and the quality of these animations was blocky and very flat. This would be a case of I need quantity over quality, where I need to make more sketchy animation with good movement, rather than a few nicely lined animation with horrible movement. At the same time as having bad animation, focusing on the detail slowed down my work progress and I wasn’t able to do as much work as I had planned to do.
What else didn’t go well? My time management. With the Meet the Team project running past the due date, as well as cross-discipline work and my elective subject, I had a lot to juggle around my timetable, and I should have been able to do so, I just haven’t been able to. I haven’t worked out the right way for me to manage my time yet. I should listen to everyone who gives me a way to try out. My time management skills cut the time I spent on all of my projects, not just my specialisation.
One last thing that didn’t really work, was the study group that our lecturer had set up. Nothing happened in it, no one spoke after the initial silly chat, it was just dead, which defeated the purpose of the study chat group.
What would I do differently next time?
Next time? I would definitely start this project sooner, as to have some work ready by the time that we are starting to talk about it in class.
I would also make sure that I try and write down a to-do list, and some semblance of a schedule to follow. This should hopefully get more work done. With this, I shouldn’t feel like I’m stuck in a web of assessment.
One last thing I would do differently next time is ask for the opinions of my peers more, good advice comes from them, and ideas to improve your work. At least, that is what I have seen. If the lecturer sets up a group chat then I shall use it, ask for help and opinions, offer opinions and advice, and share the knowledge that I have aquired.
What I learnt during the project?
I learnt a few things during this project, such as lip sync and the beginnings of cloth animation. I also learnt the beginnings of facial expressions in 2D animation. But I also learnt different ways of extending my animation and making it shorter or faster. Such as giving key frames longer periods on screen, deleting some key frames that slow the animation down and are unnessasary for the movement.
One thing that I discovered was the limitations of Adobe Animate, where there isn’t a way to change the opacity of a layer. Or perhaps there is and I haven’t discovered it yet. There is no soft brush either, meaning I am stuck with hard lines.
From this I learnt about animating in Adobe Photoshop, where every layer is a new frame of animation. I didn’t get to test this myself, however I did watch one of my classmates doing this. It was very interesting to watch. Adding new frames to the animation also allows you to choose which layer is being used, so the layers don’t need to be in order. The order just makes the layers easier to find.
Future goals for skill development
My goal for future skill development, is to get to a point where I can have a few frames of smooth, coloured and shaded, finished 2D animation. To do this, I will most likely have to move on from Adobe Animate and find more animation software that gives me a greater range of tools to use, such as Anime Studio. I also want to get better at lip sync. I might grab some voiced lines from movies or cartoons that I can animate a character’s mouth to.
One last thing I learnt was the dire need that I have to learn how to draw a character that isn’t facing front on, I had much trouble drawing any character from any side view other than profile. I should do more drawings with characters in three quarter or around there side posing. It will make my animation better.
That’s all I have for this blog post. I enjoyed this trimester, and I hope to learn much more next trimester. Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I’ll see you all next time.