Make Your Characters Rock On to Life!

epic student animation tips 7 Animation Tips To Make Your Work Rock
Sure you have the skills and know-how when it comes to animation, but there are times that even the best of us get into a slump. Luckily, here are some awesome tips from Animation Mentor alumnus Theresa Adolph of Blue Sky Studios.

Your Guide to Awesomeness:

First, do your research
We can’t blame you if get giddy with excitement and dive right into work, but before you know it, you’re already waaaay in over your head. Problems that could’ve been avoided now arise. Always remember: DO YOUR HOMEWORK-RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. Since animators usually work with more than a single character at any given time, it’s best to know everything about that character before starting the shot. What is its personality? How does it move? There is intense research done on each character even before production begins.

Since there’s always a list of things that are in the back of our heads as we are animating, it’s a good idea to make use of character sheets. Made at many studios for most of the main characters, these sheets basically guide us to keep us on track. It’s important to read and understand these sheets before starting your shot and to always refer to them as you animate.

Explore ideas
Sometimes, we have no time for this. But always do take a moment to explore ideas, even it’s just to scribble down a few sketches or toss some thoughts around with coworkers and friends as it can be helpful in making one’s thought solid. As you talk through it, it might ever spark other ideas – propelling you to move forward.

So the next you find yourself stumped – explore.

Find ways to push your way
Focus on strong posing and clear ideas. Don’t be afraid to try out new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Break it down frame by frame
Take a look back at the animation that inspired you and ask yourself why you find it so appealing. Break it down frame by frame and learn about timing and posing while taking what you’ve learned and apply it to your own work.

Have a break
Notorious procrastinators by nature, animators are also notorious perfectionists. So, in order to keep a fresh eye on things, step away from your computer every now and then to give yourself time to clear your thoughts. You’ll come back rested and ready to tackle the task at hand.

Show your work often
Show your work to others – your peers, your supervisors and get feedback. By doing so, it can help with your time management. If you can get buy off on your rough blocking for example, then you will have more time to devote to polishing later. You don’t want to work on your shot for a long time and have it almost completed just to find out that they wanted to go with a different idea.

Polish and work through the finer details
Have enough time to work through the finer details. This mean having worked through overlaps and the ease-in and out, as well as tracking your arc. Even the little things that you do – like making facial poses slightly asymmetrical – can add interest and appeal, making your much stronger. So don’t forget that the little things count, too!


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