There are so many tools out there to help us animators that it sometimes it’s hard to shift through the good and reliable ones. As I have done before I would like to highlight some now that will help us animators along our journey to becoming masters of this craft. SO this time around I’d like to highlight some sketch tools that can help when it comes to tracking your arcs and also giving some feedback. I’ve come across a few that are free and some that are a price but very inexpensive.
The first one is called ZoomIt. Now this one is free and made by Microsoft, so it has some credibility..respectively. They display it as a good for presentations program but you can totally use it for a sketch tool. This is the pitch from the publisher.
“From Microsoft :ZoomIt is screen zoom and annotation tool for technical presentations that include application demonstrations. ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the tray and activates with customizable hotkeys to zoom in on an area of the screen, move around while zoomed, and draw on the zoomed image. I wrote ZoomIt to fit my specific needs and use it in all my presentations.ZoomIt works on all versions of Windows and you can use pen input for ZoomIt drawing on tablet PCs.”
“Have you ever had trouble explaining your idea on a computer to someone? Have you ever simply wanted to mark on your screen for illustrative purposes? Have you ever wanted to sketch an equation or figure to the side of your notes? Well now you can. With Sketch It! you can draw on top of any program on your computer including your desktop. Sketch It! will allow you to turn your ordinary computer into a virtual drawing surface. With a variety of features from changing the appearance of the line your drawing including size and color to placing the screen’s image into the clipboard or saving it to a file it’s all there. One of the best features about Sketch It! is that you’ll hardly notice it until you want to use it since it stays on the task bar waiting for you. Sketch It! is a perfect tool for a variety of individuals and professions.”
And then there is Annotate Pro. Which there is a free 30day Trial version and then you can pay $19.99 and get the latest version in all its glory. You might have heard about it or seen it on Keith Lango‘s tutorials. He speaks of it well and uses it all the time.
As you can see Keith sketches away in Maya. So hopefully you can find one that suits you and will only help you become a more efficient animator.
So in honor of Veterans Day, I thought that I would post some shorts just having any military connection. All of them are not what we would usually honor the military for but they are all military related and all animated! So I think that just watching some shorts about the service on VDay is good.
The First… I first saw linked on Mark Mayerson’s Blog. It’s called Germans in The Woods done by the Rauch Brothers. If you check out the page, it actually tells alot about the story behind the short and is a great switch to just watching and forming your own storyline.
The next is one I watched a long time ago and has great characters and good camera work. It’s called Hold The Line. “It’s an animation about four soldiers marching through the remains of a ruined world. Discipline keeps them together. When they are ambushed by an invisible foe, the men come up with the ultimate tactic to take him out.” That’s from the site. Check out the site…it seems to have won various awards and was first put together in 2005. It’s a fun one!
The next one has also been out a while. It’s called Fifty Percent Grey by Ruairi Robinson. I will let this one speak for itself but it’s really well done. It shows you how you can make a good short film with virtually nothing but a good story.
And the last has also been around a while and has quite the following. It is a great film and really well done. It’s called Fallen Art done by Platige Studios. You can download lots of freebies on this site but the one thing that you can’t do is watch the film?? So you have to go to the companies site to check it out here. There is a small intro to the short here. So check it out.
Happy VDAY and hope you enjoyed. You can also check these films out under the Short Films category on the right along with some great others.
The time has come for another Animation Mentor free webinar!! This time CEO/Founder Bobby Beck will interview the brilliant veteran animator Eric Goldberg about his new book. Along the way I’m sure that he will add some great animation tips and it should be a great webinar. Also if you haven’t picked up his book, Character Animation Crash Course…I highly recommend it. It is probably one of my favorite educational tools. If you have not hit up Animation Podcast either Eric did a podcast there a while back that was great! You can check that out here.
I thought I would try something new here once in a while. I know under the Animator’s Website section, there is a ton of sites and it’s hard to explore them all. Soo I figured that I would highlight one every couple of weeks or once a month. I think that some of these sites are great references for us animators out there. Really to see some great work and possibly always something to strive for and appreciate good animation.
The first site I chose to highlight comes to us from Ron Zorman. It seems from his recent updates that he still and has been at Pixar for a while. He has a ton of his shots listed on there in Quick Time format which I enjoy greatly because you can actually frame-by-frame things. I really do prefer that to the alternates of YouTube and Vimeo just for the simple fact that you can’t frame-by-frame and really appreciate the animation.
It seems that he is still in the process of uploading his stuff from Ren & Stimpy and his personal work but the stuff from his Pixar films is def a good ref. So take a look, frame-by-frame and enjoy some good bits of animation.
So you probably have seen these posts by David Anthony Gibson about his workflow and process on some of the shots he worked on for Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs BUT….I thought it was worth highlighting here just in case you missed them. So check out the links below.
I ran across this quick and easy lighting tutorial and thought I would share it. Lots of times I know that I am not the best lighter and if I do go to light and render my shots out it takes me a bit longer than I would’ve like because of the fact that I am an animator 🙂 So this quick tutorial by Stephen Melagrano goes step by step on how he lit and rendered one of his shots. It seems like a simple process and real easy to change depending on your scene. So check it out and see if it fits.
A friend pointed me in the direction of this site the other day and WOW! There are more animation tools out there than I realized. I guess as more and more people enter our industry there will be more tools made for the various programs that we use. TradigiTools has made scripts for Maya that will make life that much easier and our workflow that much faster. It is equipped with various tools like, a tweener that actually highlights your breakdowns with green ticks and keep the normal red, Timing incrament tools so you can automatically select how many frames you want or need between Keys and a Redundant key remover. There are quite a few more options and they have it setup in all nice drop down menus. Have a look at there Promo Vides to see for yourself..click here. Animation Mentor has also gotten together with them in promoting their tools. I honestly feel more schools should invest in this and let their students enjoy some of the tools that will be available to them as they hit the industry. So check them out and enjoy.
I wanted to share a quick link some workflow tips. One of my co-workers Dave Vasquez post a bit ago with a tip about IK Arms and how to speed up some of your blocking. Now he talks about switching IK and FK Arms. Most if not all rigs in the industry have this switch and i believe that most free rigs are equipped with it to so just look into it. If not try to get a rigger into adding it for you, but I think it’s pretty standard now. So if you get used to it in school or at home it will only help in the industry.
Check out Dave’s site too, he has some great stuff up there.
Just wanted to throw a quick reminder out there to let everyone know that doesn’t already. The resources on this site are constantly being updated as I encounter more and more of them out there. I am always trying to find new content in the form of good animators, resources and shorts to upload. So each time you come back there could be something that you haven’t seen before under one of the tabs. Any suggestions that you have or something that is not here that you know of please feel free to contact me or leave a comment. Thanks again!
This site has been on Animators Resource since the beginning…but a friend recently called my attention back to it. There are a few tools on this site that can be super helpful to animators so I thought I should highlight them. As animators we always have issues with parenting objects. Well Paolo Dominici’s site offers some solutions. He has developed a ZV Parent Master. It allows you to parent and unparent at will. Parent multiple object and see all of this in your timeline. The best part is that its free! He gives a demo of it on his site too. You can also get it on Highend 3D here. He also has developed a ridicules GUI picker for characters. He has multiple demos of it on his site or click here. It will be a way to help speed up your animation and we all know anything helps. He has a list of other products as well. Check them out.
Just wanted to let everybody know that there is another FREE Animation Mentor Webinar coming up. It’s a webinar of two animators in the industry working at Dreamworks and ILM about getting a great job after graduating hosted by Mentor Kenny Roy Founder of Arconyx Animation Studios. Should be a good one.
I don’t think That I’ve posted on this yet…but Animation Mentor puts out FREE EBooks every now and again. This one is on “How to become an Animator.” It also follows with some bonus material Industry Report. They have put together a few in the past as well and are all available for download at animationmentor.com. Or you could just click here and go to their Resources Page, it has lots of good stuff for free.
I wanted to write a quick note to let everybody know that there is a new round of Jason Ryan Webinars starting this month. I have participated in all of them for the last year and let me just say that it has been an amazing experience. It only cost 100 bucks and is probably one of the greatest investments that you will get throughout your animation career. The last year has been invaluable in terms of learning process and workflow. Jason Ryan’s webinars have both taught and inspired me to keep animating and always strive to get better. If you are weary of spending the money he has plenty of resources online to help show you what he is about before you commit to it. First you can check out his tutorials. Then you can go to his webinar site and he has free Rampup downloads which will help you understand what he is about. You can also view the highlights of the entire year of this last round of webinars here. You might ask, “What if you can’t make the webinar?”, well I then would say that he makes all the webinars downloadable when you sign up. He also provides resources with the shots to help make it easy if you want to go ahead and try the shots yourself. Check his site out and even get some free goodies like wallpapers. It has been a great ride so far and I am truly excited to see what is in store for the next year.
Enjoy and I’ll see ya there!
Just wanted to throw in another resource for ya. This book Simplified Drawing for Animation by Wayne Gilbert is another great resource for learning and really constructing poses for your animation. He breaks them down in really easy to follow ways that make sense and it seems to be an invaluable resource to add to your collection. Here are a few inserts from his book that you can find on the site. You may remember him from the free Animation Mentor webinar not to long ago. If you missed it here’s the link.
So check it out…some of the best $$ you’ll spend.
Today I’d like to talk a bit about posing. I recently was given a great lecture on posing. I know for me, when it came to my learning process in animation, not enough emphasis was placed on posing. I mean, really drawing and figuring out your poses before even getting into the computer. Also really pushing your poses. I always get feedback saying push those poses further.
I always seem to contain my posing. It seems that the best way is to push too much…because then you can always dial it back some more.In my experience it is to push the pose, step back, look again,then push more. It’s like when they say, “It’s always better to be overdressed than under-dressed”. Never go with your 1st pose, ask yourself, “Can I push it further?” In the lecture I received he discussed 3 Main Principles of Posing.
1. Staging of the Shot
2. Line of Action
3. Pose Design
As animators we are exposed to staging all the time. Before we were animators it was planned out for you to see in all of the films that you watch. If you stop on a frame of animation, you can really study the staging in a shot. Where the characters are placed in the scene also in relation to the objects or even other characters. Most things in a shot as you might notice in many great photos do not lie perfectly center but are slightly offset. Take a look at this still frame from Foghorn, you can see the staging set up clearly and direct. All of the action and staging leads the audience directly where they want you to look.
This is discussed in John K’s Blog as he takes this shot and breaks it down frame by frame. John’s Blog is a great resource for this as he seems to do this type of stuff alot. He examines different shots of classic animation all the time and breaks them down. Check it out.
Now the Line of Action in a character is one of the most important aspects of posing. How you pose the character I believe will determine how much smoother your animation will flow from one extreme to the next. I never realized it early on but having really strong poses can actually make your animation easier when you go from your blocking to splining. It will also help your animation read clearly. You can convey just about every emotion with your posing. It also ties in with your framing of the shot in that many elements of the shot will follow your line of action. Think…if your character was just a line…Would it be clear?
These are a few poses of Louie from the Jungle Book drawn by Milt Kahl. I saw this post on Michael Sporn’s Splog. There are many frames from this animation, so check it out cause they are amazing examples of how you can get good weight and character through Line of Action. Next time that you see a great piece of animation I encourage you to pause it on a single frame that best describes it. Then frame by frame it from pose to pose and see how clear the animation really is. This is all made possible by these types of poses.
There are a few elements within Pose Design that were covered in the lecture I received that I would like to bring up. Simple vs Complex and Straight vs Curve. They run hand and hand but you will see it. It is mainly all about balance in the pose when you are constructing it. Ask yourself what it is that you are trying to say. What emotion are you try to sell? Then you can start with your line of action and in that line of action will fall your attitude. Here are a couple of examples…one from animation and one from real life.
The 1st example is a Glenn Keane drawing for the prince of Rapunzel.
If you look at the left side of the Prince then you see Simple and Curved. The right side is Complex and more Straight up and down. Same with the pic of the the kick boxer his left side is Complex and the other side is Simple. In any good pose you can find these. Please check out Glen’s site The Art of Glen Keane. There is always great examples of posing on there.
There are so many examples of great posing out there so do your research. I have put together a few more resources for everybody. So really take the time and think about your posing it will make a world of difference in your animation.
The ones above are from a great site called The Animation Art of Bobby Pontillas that has plenty of great examples.
to be continued…
Hey everybody. The time has come for another free Animation Mentor FREE Webinar. This one features a brilliant animation producer in Don Hahn. The webinar is a little different in which Bobby “Boom” Beck and Don will discuss the life, work and teachings of Disney legend Walt Stanchfield. Bobby Beck the CEO of Animation Mentor is a former Pixar animator and I have joined his webinars in the past in which he brings tons of great knowledge and enthusiasm! This should be lots of fun and a rare treat of two great industry specialists getting together to share some stories and experiance. So sign up now and enjoy!
So I always go back to look at different tutorials on many of the sites and blogs that I follow. Even if I believe that I have a good understanding of certain principles it is always good to go back and revisit them. Just like Keith Lango did on his workflow of breakdowns. Much to his credit, Keith revisited an earlier tutorial that he wrote titled Pose to Pose- Organized Keyframe tutorial. As animators, we are always learning and growing in our craft. The more we animate, the more we practice, the more we learn about this amazing process. What we thought might have worked for us earlier, as it may well have, the more we simplify and perfect our workflow. In this case Keith has done just that as he writes in this follow up tutorial titled Breakdowns Can be Such a Drag (building better overlaps in breakdowns). He goes on to compare his earlier views and techniques with a new and revised one based on more experiance and practice. Not only is it a good tutorial in building overlap into your breakdowns but he is able to show a clear diffrenece in the two different types of workflow. As as animator, I am always trying to perfect my passion with time practice and knowledge. It is not always this easy and clear on how we do this but this tutorial is a great example of that. So check it out and also check out the rest of his tutorials keithlangotutorials. Here it is.