View Full Version : The Animation Process

November 18th, 2011, 09:22 AM
I was basically making a thread about the workflow on creating a short piece of animation. Might have posted my animation here before, but well here is the general process.

Basically I did an animation module as part of my course, so I'm just farting out the process I went through. The assignment was to create an around 30 second fight/battle scene, so keep that in mind.

Also this is not a tutorial. I'm an amateur, but probably know more than regular artists on the topic so this is sorta just a rough guide on the process leading from start to end. Hopefully some people find this educational.

If you really do plan on learning animation, check out the animator's survival guide. Study the 12 principles. Cannot stress this enough. Also draw a lot, draw fast. You need to be able to do both, endurance and speed.

1. Story Development.

Basically you need to know just what the hell you are doing before you start animating anything.

Kinda padded out but what the heck. It got approved and it more or less shows what I want to do.

2. References.

I more or less half assed this step - but basically collect reference pictures for what you want your animation to look like. I more or less had a clear idea what sort of characters I wanted to draw already. This step does help if you don't.

Collect references for each character, props and environment - everything that appears more or less.

http://dgportfolio.pbworks.com/w/file/48170151/02 Reference.rar
Here are mine if anybody is interested.

3. Rough Sketch.

Rough out your characters. Get some rough designs done.

http://dgportfolio.pbworks.com/w/file/48170178/03 Rough Sketch.rar
The whole lot.

Main character and enemy sketches. The upper link includes stuff on props and environment and stuff in addition to this.
http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/1569/rs5u.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/46/rs5u.jpg/)http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/4408/rs4c.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/696/rs4c.jpg/)http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/521/rs3o.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/444/rs3o.jpg/)http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/8937/rs2it.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/10/rs2it.jpg/)http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/8937/rs2it.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/10/rs2it.jpg/)http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/8154/rs0e.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/820/rs0e.jpg/)http://img443.imageshack.us/img443/2145/rs1l.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/443/rs1l.jpg/)http://img443.imageshack.us/img443/2145/rs1l.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/443/rs1l.jpg/)

4. Final Design.

The lot.
http://dgportfolio.pbworks.com/w/file/48170287/04 Final Design.rar


Basically finalize your designs. But before you can go and start calling them final - you gotta subject them to turnaround tests. Basically - are your characters animatable?

Make a short animation of them going all around. The turnaround test.

Quite terrible but well - make a short skit of your character doing stuff you want them to do. The pose-to-pose test.

Essentially ensure you know just what the hell you are doing. Through these stress tests you find out whether you designed your character properly and whether you are capable of animating them. Now my character has a deadpan face and wears a helmet for most part - for more expressive characters you'd want to do a skit of them switching from one facial expression to another. If you are really confident, go ahead and skip this step. But you may regret it later - proving things to yourself can be important. And you're going to be drawing a whole fucking load later, time to start getting used to it.

You might want to subject props to the turnaround test if you are planning on crazy camera angles. But before we even get to crazy camera angles-

5. Rough Board
The rough board. Essentially a rough story board. Plot out the different scenes that compose your animation. Note down principles of animation that you can apply to the various scenes. This is when you start chopping off scenes that don't really do much.

6. Soundtrack
Start gathering sound files you might need if you plan on your animation having sound. Music, sound effects. My animation is voiceless - so I'm unfamiliar with how that goes. I'd wager voice acting can start once you get to the animatic at least, which is step 8.

7. Storyboard
http://dgportfolio.pbworks.com/w/file/48170592/07 Storyboard.rar
Cause I'm not uploading 17 separate images.

Basically drawn in blue, with red indicating camera angle changes and green indicating movement of characters and stuff.

8. Animatic
Essentially use your storyboard and sounds to compile a slideshow of sorts. Try to simulate camera changes such as zoom ins. I was using Windows Movie Maker, which is a piece of shit for the job and I recommend you use some real software. Like Adobe Premiere or something.

9. Scene Planning
That is what my course called it. I call this the ANIMATION part. You got your scenes laid out, your storyboards, turnaround and pose to pose tests. If you gotten here - you should know just what you are doing. So get to it.

http://dgportfolio.pbworks.com/w/file/48170737/09 Scene Planning.rar
My animation in their separate scenes. I basically animated my piece in these 'chunks'.

There are a lot of ways to animate. A lot of my class used Flash. Photoshop does have animation options.

I used Paint Tool SAI to draw my individual frames, had all my frames in different layers and used opacity settings to draw on top of my old frames. Kinda simulating a light box. Used whatever tools were at my disposal, resizing and copy/pasting as required.

For each 'scene', I used Digicel Flipbook 6 to compile them into an animation. Flipbook lets you play with the FPS, hold certain frames - generally let you mess with the timing of an animation. Sometimes this is sufficient enough a fix if something looks awkward, so you don't have to redraw parts. I found myself working back and forth from SAI to Flipbook, testing out short segments of a scene and fixing things as I went along.

200+ goddamn frames later~

10. Final Animation
You got your frames, do your post production. Special effects, add sounds.

I didn't like my sound effects, so here's my final piece without.


November 18th, 2011, 11:26 AM
You use SAI? I find it tedious going back and forth between photoshop and SAI just to test out the smoothness of the animation, lol. Possibly there is a more efficient way to do this?

November 18th, 2011, 05:59 PM
Dang that was good.

November 18th, 2011, 08:15 PM
You use SAI? I find it tedious going back and forth between photoshop and SAI just to test out the smoothness of the animation, lol. Possibly there is a more efficient way to do this?

I was going back and forth between SAI and Flipbook. I basically manually saved each frame with SAI and loaded it all into Flipbook to test my animation, bit by bit. Is there a more efficient way to do this? Probably. Depends on preference. I could just have easily been drawing in photoshop, but would have exported it out into flipbook anyway. Flipbook provides an easy way to alter FPS, hold frames and the like. Although it was a 12 FPS animation, I essentially had it at 24FPS with each frame held at 2 frames, then at some areas which looked weird - I had a few frames held for 3 frames and some only at 1. Allowed me to tweak the timing without redrawing.

I tried photoshop's animation function and to be honest, I found it clunky and awkward as all fuck =P

It all really boils down to preference. A bunch of my classmates decided to use flash instead. A few used photoshop and it's animation function.

November 19th, 2011, 03:53 AM
Very impressive~ Keep it up, man.