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1_The Basics of Animated Movement Animation Techniques In Process

Animation Approaches and Styles

Animation is a process and the malleability of time is its primary material.

‘Time is what prevents everything from being present all at once’ Henri Bergson. The animator seeks to control at what pace, rhythm and direction things appear.

“What happens between each frame is much more important than what exists on each frame” Norman McLaren, Computer Animation
It is not the image, drawing or shape of each frame that matters in animation, rather it is the difference between the frames that generates the illusion of movement in animation.

It is the animator’s ability to control and play with these intervals between frames that matters. It is important to think in terms of intervals, rates of change and flux, rather than thinking in terms of still images or compositions.

There are two main forms of animated movement: manipulation and replacement. These can be used in a number of different ways.

  1. Traditional cell animation. Frame by frame flip book. Requires very good drawing skills.
  2. 2D vector-based animation eg Flash. Can create rigs for tweened animation.
  3. 3-D computer animation or CGI . This can by hyperrealistic or output in various illustration styles.
  4. Motion graphics moving elements in space
  5. Stop motion frame by frame capture of moving elements using eg Claymation, Cut- outs, Silhouettes, Lego.
  6. Rotoscoping drawing on and manipulating video or photo sequences.
  7. Scratch video

Types of animation

There are two main forms of animated movement: manipulation and replacement. These can be used in a number of different ways.

  1. Traditional cell animation. Frame by frame flip book. Requires very good drawing skills.
  2. 2D vector-based animation eg Flash. Can create rigs for tweened animation.
  3. 3-D computer animation or CGI . This can by hyperrealistic or output in various illustration styles.
  4. Motion graphics moving elements in space
  5. Stop motion frame by frame capture of moving elements using eg Claymation, Cut- outs, Silhouettes, Lego.
  6. Rotoscoping drawing on and manipulating video or photo sequences.
  7. Scratch video

Many of these types can now be simulated using Aps on tablet, smart phones and iPad as well as computer software. The different types can also be combined in different ways. See posts:

Early animation

  • Winsor MCKay 1914 Gertie the Dinosaur was one of the earliest animations made on film. Each drawing was redrawn on each page and captured on film and then projected at a rapid rate. McKay presented his animation as a stand-up show with live narrative. Written text is also included on some of the frames.
  • JR Bray Dachshund: introduced the background shot and discovered use of celluloid sheets for layering where only certain elements changed each time.
  • Raoul Barre: Dreams of Hercules and Crazy Cat uses write on text.
  • Willis O’Brien stop motion animation of a prehistoric world.
  • Paul Terry move the background to show movement.
  • Fleischer rotoscoping to create realistic movement Clown and ink
  • Pat Sullivan Felix the Cat

Traditional Cel animation: to reduce the amount of drawing required each image was constructed using multiple overlaid layers of drawings on transparent sheets of celluloid (cels). In this way, the background scenery for say, Mickey Mouse could be drawn once for use in a scene, while Mickey would be re-drawn multiple times. Typically, an animated feature would require over 100,000 hand-painted cels. These would be photographed one by one onto a painted background using a rostrum camera – a specialised camera used to animate still objects.

Common visual conventions include:

  • Use of lines radiating from eye to show noticing something.
  • Lines out of mouth for noise
  • Dream bubbles.
  • Use text screens and build-up text to drive the narrative. These screens move up and down to continue the feeling of movement from the animation.
  • Music of different moods and tempo
  • Whole screen moves up and down like camera shake. On old films the grit and scratches also flicker to give movement.

Gertie the Dinosaur, Winsor McCay
1914 Produced for a Vaudeville Act it took McKay a year to draw the thousands on pictures needed for this film.
Uses cycles and loops. When Gertie raises her feet, right and left in a little shuffle dance approximately 8 minutes into the film, the same sequence of drawings were used in a loop.

Flipbooks

flip book or flick book is a book with a series of pictures that very gradually change from one page to the next, so that when the pages are turned rapidly, the pictures appear to animate by simulating motion or some other change. Flip books are often illustrated books for children, but may also be geared towards adults and employ a series of photographs rather than drawings. Flip books are not always separate books but may appear as an added feature in ordinary books or magazines, often in the page corners.

Flipbooks work on the same principles as frame-by-frame animation. They can be made in very many different styles. Software packages and websites are available that convert digital video files into custom-made flip books.

In addition to their role in the birth of cinema, flipbooks have also been commonly used in marketing of items like cars and cigarettes. They are also in art and published photographic collections. Vintage flip books are popular among collectors, and especially rare ones from the late 19th to the early 20th century have been known to fetch thousands of dollars in sales and auctions.

Andymation

‘Andymation’ is the YouTube channel for Andy Bailey – a stop-motion animator and worked on Laika’s movies ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Missing Link. He has produced a series of very useful tutorials for creating paper flipbooks using a lightbox. The same principles can be adapted for tablet Flipbook Aps.

Simple basics of making a Flipbook with examples of waving stick figure, bouncing ball and alien spaceship abduction.
Discusses perspective
What to do with just a line. Flexlines and sraight lines and learning about the physics of gravity.
How to do a much longer Flipbook with coloured scenes, drawing on Japanese anime techniques of trembly shots, framing etc. Uses reference photos and drawings to get perspective and consistency. Produces 658 pages in 35 days over 3 months.

Amusing fun with a Scribble
I hour challenge with humorous ball story

Traditional cell animation.

Requires very good drawing skills.

2D vector-based animation

eg Flash. Can create rigs for tweened animation.

Steve Cutts

Patrick

Filmbilder

Ross Bollinger Pencilmation

https://www.youtube.com/user/rossbollinger

Rotoscoping



drawing on and manipulating video or photo sequences.

3-D computer animation or CGI .

This can by hyperrealistic or output in various illustration styles.

Stop motion

frame by frame capture of moving elements using eg Claymation, Cut- outs, Silhouettes, Lego.

Motion graphics

After Effects. Adobe Animate. moving elements in space

Scratch video

Resources

Key Resources
  • You Tube
  • OCA Moving Image 1: Animation
  • Howard Wimshurst YouTube channel and tutored courses on Animator Guild
  • Proko – A channel which specializes in teaching observational figure drawing.
  • FilmMaker IQ – So much of Animation is linked to Film Making. This channel is a fantastic resource for film makers of all kinds.
  • Striving for animation – for those who are specifically focused at working in the Japanese Anime industry, this channel gives excellent advice and training.

BOOKS

  • Animator’s survival kit – Widely considered to be the cornerstone book for animators
  • The Illusion of Life – This covers the principles of animation in a lot of depth as well as being a valuable insight into classic Disney-style animation and drawing.
  • Drawn to Life – Another good book for learning animation and drawing
  •  Framed Ink – A fantastic book on dynamic composition
  • Framed Perspective – A lot of people get hung up on perspective. If you are one of them, this book explains it very well and gets pretty advanced in book 2.
  •  Force: Dynamic life drawing for animators – This book helps you to understand gesture – getting energy into your drawings!
  • Directing the Story – Highly recommended. Explains very simply how to tell a story with drawings – it shows you that you don’t need to have mad drawing skills to be able to convey a compelling story.
  • Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – For breaking bad drawing habits and learning to draw what you see.
  • Atlas of the Human Anatomy – contains good pictures and diagrams if you want a deep dive into anatomy and proportions.
  • Color and Light – an inspiring book which teaches all about colour and lighting for artists.