Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Improving Your Animation 101



       If you are an aspiring animator (or artist) and you find yourself spending more time reading than actually DOING anything then I'm writing this for you. No  baseball player ever read a lot about baseball and then was an amazing baseball player. If you think that since animation isn't a sport you do not have to practice?? Wrong. Articles and tips can get you motivated and inspired to work but thy wont make you great.

      The nine old men of animation (9 men who invented the guidelines of HOW TO ANIMATE) they didn't have anyone give them tips or tricks. They had to do Good ol' hands-on-training. I've searched the internet and asked around and I have put together a list of exercises for an aspiring animator to do! Even if you consider yourself advanced I would suggest you still start from level one. never hurts to make sure you have your abc's/basics locked down :)

      Always remember the 12 principles of animation (google it if you do not know them bc it will change your world!) you should try to incorporate all of them in all your animation test if possible! I put in parenthesis the skills the exercise challenges but always remember that all the 12 principles should addressed.

Bouncing ball (loop) (squash and stretch/spacing)
Bouncing ball across the screen (2 bounces) (squash and stretch/spacing)
Cinder Block sliding off a shelf, hitting the floor. (spacing, form)
Flour Sac Jump (mass)
A blink (spacing/squash and stretch)
A head turn (transitions/ arcs)

breaking a sweat
walk cycle (technical)
run cycle (technical)
character jumping (physical/ spacing)
Suicide backwards fall off a ledge (subtle delays and overlap)
A character getting up from a chair (physical, anticipation)
A smile (face muscles, appeal)
A sneeze (exaggeration and timing)
Do an action that requires a 'smear' (technical)
Laughing (reference studying)

Marathon training
Animate a hand doing something-close up (anatomy)
character lifting a heavy object (weight)
animate a dog shaking after a bath (overlap follow through)
hammering a nail (timing spacing)
character blowing up a balloon (physicality)
piano falling on a character (timing weight)
character brushing their teeth (personality)
character eating a sandwich (personality)
getting up out of bed (physical personality)
waiting for the bus stop (entertainment/ appeal)

Quitters quit, winners win
character throwing a bucket of water on another (physical acting)
tug of war b/w two characters (tension)
character drinking wine (research)
character making an egg- full process from fridge to mouth (rhythm and timing)
A feather falling and being blown by the wind (reference)
character reacting to "your parents are dead" (acting)
putting on a pair of pants (physical)
sleeping character being startled, then going back to sleep (rhythm and texture)

KEEP IN MIND - These will make you better not get you a job. Studios want to see dialogue and acting. what these exercises above do is help you become a better animator!

You are not animating lines, you are animating a personality, an emotion, the feelings. you are animating something deeper than just what you see.

keep it simple.

You don't have to show anyone, these tests are for you!!!

working out isn't fun, animation should be. that is the ONLY difference between sit ups and animation :)

internship deadline 2 weeks away?  ...SMH


  1. These are great tips! Some of these I never would have thought to do a lot of these as a simple exercise

  2. It is very important tips for anyone to improve in your work. The tips you shared was very short but informative. Thank you so much for sharing this info. Keep posting


  3. Seriously thanks a million for the workout routine. I want to get buff.

  4. Seriously thanks a million for the workout routine. I want to get buff.

  5. These are awesome man! I loved your last little piece of advice about how animation should be fun, but that you still have to work at it. As an aspiring animator, I have to admit, it's difficult to set your mind to doing these exercises when you know they're not 'exactly' what's going to get you a job. I find myself wanting to just skip right to doing another dialogue piece because it's going to be 'the one'. I have to remind myself, and sometimes need you to remind me through these blog posts, that it's the studies, tests, and 'workouts' of animation that are going to make my dialogue pieces get me a job.


    1. you hit it right on the nose. glad you got that epiphany now rather than later!!

  6. It feels like this was written for me.
    I dream of being a hand-drawn animator, and I've spent the last year drawing like crazy to try and improve my skills. But I'm still afraid that despite my fascination with animation I still won't cut it.
    I haven't been able to really practice animating much because I don't have enough money to afford any software or equipment (there are cheap free stuff, but they stink). I feel a sense of urgency that if I don't get some cash together and buy ToonBoom or something quick then it will be too late to get in the game.

    1. Check out Pencil. It's not full-featured production software, but it's excellent workout equipment. Grab the cheapest wacom you can find or even use a mouse. http://www.pencil-animation.org

      Or use MonkeyJam if you're drawing on real paper. http://monkeyjam.org

  7. Tools are cheap - skillz are the hard part - you will find your hard work on paper very transferable to digital media. :)

  8. got that parents are dead audio?

  9. Thanks for sharing such a nice knowledge with us. A must read blog. watch cartoons online

  10. You’re so interesting! I don’t believe I’ve truly read something like this before. So great to find someone with genuine thoughts on this issue. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

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