I use a wacom Graphire to draw in the computer. Since I get it, never felt comfortable drawing with it. The feed back loop hand-wacom-screen-eye was not satisfactory. This evening something has changed.
First I put a piece of of paper between the wacom surface and the pencil. The paper feeling helped me heaps to increase productivity. Also I managed to change the body position in front of the screen and the wacom. Befre today I had the wacom just as much close to me as possible. It made me very difficult to coordinate the had movements and the eye feed back. I’ve just elonged my arms a bit and separated the wacom from my body. Not much but enough to make more “similar” the hand movement and the visual feedback.
The result was very intresting and I wanted to share with you.
Here I present the partner of Mr. Shipwrecked. This cat would make the life very annoying to our lonely man.
But it is not a mad animal. It is just a question of good luck and opportunity.
Opposite to our Shipwrecked man, this can looks fat, happy and funny. So, do you understand now why our man “hates” this partner? Anyway our man never would make any damage to this lovely cat because it is the only real partner he has.
I have to define what’s its color. Also I’m not so happy with the eyes. But the most important thing is to make it easy to animate.
It hasn’t a name yet. Hmmm, I have to think on one for it. Anny suggestions?
I did it mainly on Krita.
This character has been rounding my head a lot of time. This is going to be the main character of a set of adventures of a shipwrecked in an island. But he is not alone. There will be a partner that would make his l(already difficult life) a hell. Most of the time the problems comes on search and obtain food (look how thin is he).
This is a first sketch. Maybe can suffer some variations and simplifications. Let’s see where do I arrive with this.
I used Krita to create it and I plan to trace in Synfig to animate it.
In this post I’ve listed the physical tools that an animator might need to produce animations. But all those tools are nothing if you don’t apply them with the proper ingredients.
A good story
You have something to tell, something interesting, that keep the attention to the spectator. This is the most difficult part of an animation, find an interesting story.
A story can be developed in the three classical acts: Setup, Confrontation, Resolution. This formula works in the most of the cases, but you can be imaginative and (depending on the thing that the story is about) use different techniques. You can start presenting the final situation and then rewind the time and try to explain what happened.
One of the most important ingredients of the story is the rhythm. The rhythm consists in concatenate small stories inside the story. The global story has a development line but each scene has the same structure of a story: setup, confrontation, resolution. In this way the spectator attention is kept from one scene to other, making him wondering what would happen next?
A good character
The story and the character are sometimes linked one to the other. In some cases simply a good story works (for example in a stick animation) and the character don’t add significant value to the story, but ususally the character is a good part of the story.
Construct a good character is give him personality. A character has two main ingredients that defines its personality:
- Physics: he can be thin or fat, short or tall, muscled or weak, male or female, etc. Physics condition lot of the character relationship with its enviroment.
- Psychology: A character can be happy, sad, proud, inquisitive, indifferent, aggressive, shy, extrovert, etc. The psychology of the character defines how does it interact with the environment and the situations that, you the narrator, put him on. The psychology of the character can be a permanent situation or a temporal reaction to past or future event. The spectator should have this information in mind to judge the psychology of the character.
Usually good characters tend to make easy the creation of a good story. Have a character with personality makes very easy to put him in an interesting situation to see the reaction oft he character to the new environment or deal.
A good drawings
Most of the people confuse good drawings with good animation. That’s not true. You can create a very bad aniamtion with very good drawings but without a good story or character. And viceversa, you can have a good animation with bad drawings if the story and the character are good. So this is not a must. You can be a bad drawer and become a good animator. Oh! So I must concentrate just on the story and the character! No. An animation has more ingredients. How to draw good is a long issue so I’ll leave it for now.
The secret ingredients
An animation is basically a sequence of different images at a given time that gives the illusion of movement. But the illusion of movement is not a mechanical question. To go from point A to point B you can think on a straight line. But real life is not that way. There are curves. I mean, give the illusion of movement in a believable way the animator must take account some of the classic ingredients:
- Timing: Not all the actions occurs at the same speed. Even the speed changes from the beginning, the middle and the end of the action.
- Weight: Objects have weight. A good animation should reflect it. The weight feeling is accomplished by the combination of the drawing and the timing.
- Anticipation/Reaction: By using a good anticipation, the spectator should predict what’s going to happen later. The reaction is a natural way of express the believability of the actions.
- Overlapping: Actions doesn’t occur one each time. They always happen overlapping with other actions.
- Posing: By carefully selecting the key poses, the spectator can feel the storyline without need to have visual feedback of the in betweens. Human brain can make up the middle images if the poses are good enough to describe a good action.
- Exaggeration: Usually exaggerate the matters of things helps on the rest of ingredients. Exaggerate the ingredients allows make them more noticeable for to the spectator.
So even if your drawings are bad but the story/character is good and you do good usage of those secrets ingredients, the animation will be a hit.
Ok, so let’s start.
To be an animator you’ll need:
- Observation abilities.
- And finally, lots of paper an pencils.
Really!. If you think that having a computer a the most cutting edge animation software would help you on become a good animator, you’re wrong. Anyway it will be crazy, or at last not productive, to try to do an animation without the help of the computer.
Seriously, this is the list of things I consider you should have todedicate to the animation:
- Paper and pencil: Most of the animations start with a draft, an idea. Use them!. You can also use the computer directly if you feel confortable doing that way. But nowadays most of the people uses the pencil and the paper for drafts. Later I’ll dig into the best options of paper and pencil.
- Scanner. Any kind of scanner would help. It is just for convert your artwork to digital media that can be uploaded to the computer. In other moment I’ll study what’s the better size for each occasion.
- Software. The decision of what kind of software you need is not a simple question. Basically you’ll need:
- A Word Processor for Screenplay and Storyboard tasks.
- An Image Manipulation Program. Even if you use the paper and pencil it will be the first application you’ll use after import it to the computer. It is a fantastic tool for color management.
- An animation software. This tool is a key. Choose it carefully. Specially the output capabilities are the most important of its features. Or do you want to open the render output into other application to obtain the final format result?
- A Compositor: even if your animation has not sound you’ll need to mount all the scenes into a continuous stream before release them all. It must have non linear edition capabilities.
- A Sound Recording software. You’ll have sometime the need to create a dialog based on the screenplay. You can have the need of record the voices of the actors.
- A Sound mixer and special FX generator. Maybe you can use your video compositor for mixing tracks and the sound effects can be obtained already created, but in some cases you need to create the sound effects artificially or use a live record and a effect software to obtain the desired result.
- Audio devices: microphone, mixer.
- A computer: The faster, the best. Animation involves some hard tasks like image render, sound mixing, vodeo composition, video encoding, etc. that will be much more satisfactory if the computer is fast enough.
In the tool page you can find all the ones I’ve collected that satisfy my desires.
Animation is a very difficult task. At least, for me, it’s difficult. It involves several skills that not all the people have at the same time: drawing skills, humor sense, story telling, time sense, …So if you want to be an animator be sure that it will not be an easy trip.
Still there? 😉 If you want to be an animator and never thought how complicate is it, this is your space!. I pretend here to help my self on the hard trip of turn my self into a decent animator, and help others to not to redo the wheel.
Also this blog will be part of the development of more complex animations that I’m trying to do. I hope you enjoy it.
Wish me good luck!