Tips for creating faster more efficient animations for new animators for a faster project workflow.

  • Collect images and any relevent materials and put them in a folder.
  • Set up a project folder which means all rigs, materials, and a UI for animation is setup.
  • Take the time to observe or study what you want to animate.
  • Draw multiple sketches like a comic or flickbook, this will give you an idea of coordination and space.
  • Concept sketching can be handy for poses, just to clear it up stick figures are fine, thats basically what a rig is.
  • Look at bodies, male and female form, learn the names of muscles and bones, i.e. learning what bones cause muscles to contract and detract creates a more realistic look.
  • Use small weights or a can of beans in each hand, do various stretches as a visual aid to show weighted movements.
  • Snakes, Fish and Tiger are animated very fluid, faster and dynamic, realise the human form animates very differently to many other animals.
  • When learning to make rigs, take notes or draw variations of clavical bone and extend it to a tail.
  • Take into account the object your animating, is it big, small, a car just needing moving wheels or wind in tree's ((remember physics is a major factor))
  • Name each section of the rig to apply to a model, think right leg as R_Leg_01/R_Arm_01/C_Spine_01 as what side it is, what part it is and what number it is when plenty of bones are involved.
  • FK (Forward Kinematics and IK (Inverse Kinematics) systems can be used in the same rig or sampled individually, FK is manual, IK is more automatic and elastic.

  • Camera's and Lighting can be animated to add a sense of mood.

Animation is a 24/7, everyday thing, go outside and see something moving, learn how it moves and apply it to any 3D package.
Remember an animation is 24 FPS (Frames Per Second), cut it down to 12 FPS, this can easily make for a better animation sequence walking or a face moving where a sound file is applied.

These are just some basic things to take in, keep your eyes open, look around and soon animations will be easy.

(Mo-Cap) Motion Capture is a different area of animation, technical and fun... Any questions about this thread, get in touch.

Scott AKA Cypher.