8 Best Tips and Tricks of Animation
Learn great animation tips and tricks to elevate your work. Below are 8 Best Tips and Tricks for Animation.
1. Animate Acting Shots One Phrase at a Time
It is best to have explicit full-body posing in phrases at the expense of smooth transitions, especially early on. The animation follows phrases and beats, each with its own purpose. For a scene in which a store assistant is helping a customer, one phrase might be him waving as a customer enters, the next might be him putting his hands in pockets as he listens to the customer.
Treat each phrase like its own shot. Reduce your timeline to display only the phrase you are working on, and create a starting, middle and end to the idea being animated.
2. Loosen Up When Animating Contact
Avoid keying the whole body at the point contact occurs. On most actions, especially faster ones, the instant of contact won’t be captured on 24fps film. More importantly, you will bias the movement towards culminating at the moment of contact, flattening your arcs. If the character picks up a glass, the arm is the stronger force.
Animate the hand going through the glass, overshooting the contact point while staying on nice arcs. Now correct the glass position and constraining of the glass, to make up for the moment of contact missed between frames.
3. Play Blasting Is a Huge Waste of Time
Don’t freak out yet. Of course, there is no replacement for watching your animation at real-time speed, and you absolutely must watch your animation this way to be productive. However, hours are lost every week waiting for previews and play blasts to render. Reclaim your productive time by creating a layer or a button to hide everything in the scene except the character and proxy-resolution sets, so you can simply hit Play to watch the animation.
If you are working with a rig that’s too heavy to do this, request a proxy version from your supervisor. At least take notes while watching play blasts to avoid the re-rendering continually.
4. Facial Animation Is About Motion, Not Just Poses
Whether there are specific poses that should always be built into face rigs to assure the character can effectively express a natural range of emotion. The result is that real feeling is expressed with the movement of face: a lip quivering when a character is about to cry, eyes darting around when a character is at a loss for words, or a character pressing their face tightly to avoid the laughing at something.
Treat these moments like movements of the face and observe their movement as closely as the poses they contain.
5. Mute the Dialogue
You must listen to dialogue over and over when you start a dialogue shot to get into character, the subtext, the mood and the show. But later on, when you work in the body mechanics and full-body gestures, it is common to rely too heavily on the dialogue to fill in the performance that’s lacking in the body.
Best dialogue shots work as well with the sound muted. Diagnose the communication in shots by muting them before showing. If your associates don’t get a strong impression of the relationship between the characters and a right gist of what is being spoken, the body language is not developed or supportive enough.
Go back into the body and reinforce pose choices for the major points. Speak the line entirely with the body language before un-muting the dialogue and working out the lip-sync.
6. A Mirror Is a Dangerous Thing
Be careful using a mirror for doing lip-sync. When speaking into the mirror, we slow down our pronunciation to copy a shape. It is misleading because it disregards true lip/jaw independence.
Key lip-sync in separate passes for the lips and jaw and use a mirror for information to help one pass at a time either lip shape or jaw motion.
7. Mess up Your Physical Work
Fill physical shots with all slips, hitches, falls, bumps and misses. Audiences get bored of watching perfect runs, jumps and tackles. Creating a little chaos is fun to watch, and it is impressive to see an artist who can animate their way out of a situation that’s gone wrong.
8. Do More of Less
Take on shorter shots for practice. The reason you practice is to get better for the industry, so practice the length of shot you are likely to encounter on the job, which will rarely be more than 10 seconds. You are more likely to finish shots that are manageable, gaining skills from blocking through to final polish.
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