After animating the open few shots for my short, I realised to my despair but relief that my animation skills while passable, are not as good as I think they are. I will need to improve my animation techniques before I continue.
Below are some of the notes I gathered, while researching online. I will have to put these into practise on a few test scenes. It will take some time but hopefully the quality of the animation will improve.
http://www.3dark.com/archives/animation/richard_williams_notes.html (From a Richard Williams MasterClass by Dave Bailey. )
What is animation?
- Change is the basis of all animation
- There are two types of animation Morphing and the type that gives the illusion of life.
- Animation is all in the timing and spacing
-You must show where the weight is, where it is coming from and where the weight is going to.
KEY FRAMES - are the story telling frames (The story board drawings)Frames where the character makes contact (heel strike pose, touching an object, etc.)
EXTREMES - are the where there is a change of direction. They are NOT Key Frames.
BREAKDOWNS are the middle or passing position.On breakdowns always add an extra bit of movement -- almost anything will work.Don't go from A to B. Go from A to Z to B
Methods of Working:
1) Straight-Ahead - Just start and see what happens. (Creative but lacks control)
2) Pose to Pose - (Lots of control but restricts creativity)
3) The "Best" Method - A combination of "Pose to Pose" and "Straight Ahead".
Steps to take before animating:
1) Before working turn off all other stimulus --"UNPLUG"
2) Write down what you want to do
3) Act it out
4) Work out the timing
5) Then animate
(Animation Notes from Ollie Johnston - from Course 1 at SIGGRAPH 94, "Animation Tricks".)
1. Don’t illustrate words or mechanical movements. Illustrate ideas or thoughts, with the attitudes and actions.
2. Squash and stretch entire body for attitudes.
3. If possible, make definite changes from one attitude to another in timing and expression.
4. What is the character thinking?
5. It is the thought and circumstances behind the action that will make the action interesting.
Example: A man walks up to a mailbox, drops in his letter and walks away.
A man desperately in love with a girl far away carefully mails a letter in which he has poured his heart out.
6. When drawing dialogue, go for phrasing. (Simplify the dialogue into pictures of the dominating vowel and consonant sounds, especially in fast dialogue.
7. Lift the body attitude 4 frames before dialogue modulation (but use identical timing on mouth as on X sheet).
8. Change of expression and major dialogue sounds are a point of interest. Do them, if at all possible, within a pose. If the head moves too much you won’t see the changes.
9. Don’t move anything unless it’s for a purpose.
10. Concentrate on drawing clear, not clean.
11. Don’t be careless.
12. Everything has a function. Don’t draw without knowing why.
13. Let the body attitude echo the facial.
14. Get the best picture in your drawing by thumbnails and exploring all avenues.
15. Analyze a character in a specific pose for the best areas to show stretch and squash. Keep these areas simple.
16. Picture in your head what it is you’re drawing.
17. Think in terms of drawing the whole character, not just the head or eyes, etc. Keep a balanced relation of one part of the drawing to the other.
18. Stage for most effective drawing.
19. Draw a profile of the drawing you’re working on every once in a while. A profile is easier on which to show the proper proportions of the face.
20. Usually the break in the eyebrow relates to the highpoint of the eye.
21. The eye is pulled by the eyebrow muscles.
22. Keep skull size constant but get a plastic quality in face — cheeks, mouth and eyes.
23. Attain a flow thru the body rhythm in your drawing.
24. Simple animated shapes.
25. The audience has a difficult time reading the first 6-8 frames in a scene.
26. Does the added action in a scene contribute to the main idea in that scene? Will it help sell it or confuse it?
27. Don’t animate for the sake of animation but think what the character is thinking and what the scene needs to fit into the sequence.
28. Actions can be eliminated and staging "cheated" if it simplifies the picture you are trying to show and is not disturbing to the audience.
**29. Spend half your time planning your scene and the other half animating.
30. How to animate a scene of a four-legged character acting and walking: Work out the acting patterns first with the stretch and squash in the body, neck and head; then go back in and animate the legs. Finally, adjust the up and down motion on the body according to the legs.
more notes at
The last are a few of John Lasseter's old Siggraph notes.
What I tell myself everyday.
To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien