Struggling [to be] a[n] artist











From Animator Island, 51 Great Animation Exercises to Master

Level 1 Exercises

(Do not discount their simplicity! Here you have the principals of animation, which all other animation is built on. They are worth your time and effort.)

  1. Ball Bouncing in place, no decay (loop)
  2. Ball Bouncing across the screen
  3. Brick falling from a shelf onto the ground
  4. Simple character head turn
  5. Character head turn with anticipation
  6. Character blinking
  7. Character thinking [tougher than it sounds!]
  8. Flour Sack waving (loop)
  9. Flour Sack jumping
  10. Flour Sack falling (loop or hitting the ground)
  11. Flour Sack kicking a ball
Level 2 Exercises
  1. Change in Character emotion (happy to sad, sad to angry, etc.)
  2. Character jumping over a gap
  3. Standing up (from a chair)
  4. Walk Cycle [oldie but goodie!]
  5. Character on a pogo stick (loop)
  6. Laughing
  7. Sneezing
  8. Reaching for an object on a shelf overhead
  9. Quick motion smear/blur
  10. Taking a deep breath [also tougher than it sounds!]
  11. A tree falling
  12. Character being hit by something simple (ball, brick, book)
  13. Run Cycle
Level 3 Exercises
  1. Close up of open hand closing into fist
  2. Close up of hand picking up a small object
  3. Character lifting a heavy object (with purpose!)
  4. Overlapping action (puffy hair, floppy ears, tail)
  5. Character painting
  6. Hammering a nail
  7. Stirring a soup pot and tasting from a spoon
  8. Character blowing up a balloon
  9. Character juggling (loop)
  10. Scared character peering around a corner
  11. Starting to say something but unsure of how
  12. Zipping up a jacket
  13. Licking and sealing an envelope
  14. Standing up (from the ground)
  15. Pressing an elevator button and waiting for it
Level 4 Exercises
  1. Character eating a cupcake
  2. Object falling into a body of water
  3. Two characters playing tug-of-war
  4. Character dealing a deck of cards out
  5. The full process of brushing one’s teeth
  6. A single piece of paper dropping through the air
  7. Run across screen with change in direction
  8. Sleeping character startled by alarm then returning to sleepy state
  9. Opening a cupboard and removing something inside
  10. Putting on a pair of pants
  11. Opening the “world’s best gift” and reacting
  12. Any of the above exercises using a very heavy character/object next to a very light character/object. Enhance the differences the weight change makes!

and it gives some nice advice at the end:

Things to keep in mind:
  • Reading these exercises will do as much for you as reading about push-ups would do for your physical muscles: NOTHING. If you want the benefit, you must animate them. Take a deep breath and just do it.
  • Do not forget the famous words of Ollie Johnston: “You’re not supposed to animate drawings [3D models]. You’re supposed to animate feelings.” If a character isn’t thinking, they aren’t alive, and the animation has failed.
  • Keep it simple! There is no reason to over complicate any of these exercises. Going back to push-ups, would push-ups be harder if while doing them you also recited the Gettysburg Address? Yes. Would they be any more beneficial? No. Keep things nice and simple and clear.
  • Do your best. There is no reason to do these exercises poorly. Give it your all. You don’t have to show anyone, these are for you. You owe it to yourself to try your very best. Something not quite right? Take the time to fix it.
  • As always, have fun. Push ups are not fun. Animation is supposed to be. Be joyful in your work!



{8 February 2013}   And the winner is…

Program line up:

Spriter

It seems really light and simple, and everything is in the open. There aren’t a lot of features for it; this last update they put bones in I think. I’m looking forward to see what they do with it, but the lack of documentation   and uncertainty of it’s stability concerns me for this project. It seemed to do everything fine, but the tight deadline isn’t something where we can deal with some unknown issue pop up and wait for replies on the forum for a maybe fix.

UMotion2d

I found this one a bit more troublesome to work with. Granted it was just the demo. The timeline was hidden, and very easily could be toggled while working on it. The thing that nixed it, was exporting the images produced blank files. It stated the unity export wouldn’t work, but the PNG export did not produce any images.  Not really sure why that happened, and didn’t look much into it. I expect at least a partially functioning demo, where I can see a final product of some sort. A water mark or limit on what it will produce, fine. But I still need a final sampling. While it did have slightly more documentation than Spriter, it was still scarce and thin.

I won’t give any sort of review on flash. It’s well known enough for anyone looking into animation to find information. It has the most official documentation, plug-ins, and tutorials around. The boning feature won over my co-worker for using flash. She’s more than happy to rig the things up for me to animate. I do want to work on rigging them. Maybe I can do a monster or something.

My next concern is do we do Raster or Vector art for it….



{8 February 2013}   2D animation

The next project Sic’em Studios is working on is a prototype for pitching. Our previous attempt to make this was thwarted by hardware more or less. Anyway, the team has gotten larger since then, and another person will be working with me to make the art. She’s not an animator in any capacity, and was a bit hesitant to help out, but working together I think we can do it.

Anyway, the first thing we need to figure out is what software to use. We did a bit of research and decided to check three out: Spriter (still in alpha), Umotion2D and Flash. We’re both more familiar with flash, but neither of us are certain it can do what we need it to. The game will be built in Unity, so all we need is something to animate and make the sprite sheet with.

I was playing with all three of them with a really bad test character thing. The first thing I learned; you need to cut down all the piecemeal images to as big as they need to be; not the full size of the character, as how I do them when I’m making sheets by hand. All three of them bring the dimensions in and don’t cut them down, nor have an easy way to do so.

The test we need to do on them is to see if we can even use the program, if it animates to our desire/ how difficult it is to animate, and how the tweens/animation/everything is exported out, and how it does so. Umotion can export to Unity, so there’s a plus for it. Documentation for Spriter and Umotion is pretty lacking, even more so with the former. I hope Flash will win out, since working that will have more “industry” application for larger jobs, but what bit I’ve seen with the three of them, I don’t see whatever we learn/relearn not being applicable to Flash.

This will be good and interesting. I need to work on more animation things.



et cetera