Like this page?
Send it to a friend!
We wonít lie, animationís not easy. But the results can make the work worthwhile. To make sure the final product matches the initial concept, here are a few guidelines to make the best possible animation.
What are your options?
CGI (Computer generated animation) is animation created with the aid of digital computers and specialised 3D software. Itís often used in tandem with live action to create fantastic effects. Think Terminator 2, the Matrix, or any number of blockbuster movies. It looks great but takes time and effort to master.
Stop Motion Animation
Central to the clay animation technique used in Wallace and Gromit, Britainís best-known Ďstop startí creations. The process is painstakingly slowl! A couple of seconds may take days to create, but the great thing is, all you need is a video camera and lots of patience.
Disney, The Simpsonís, Bugs Bunny; traditional animation began with each frame being painted and then filmed. It is still used today despite the advances of modern animation technology.
There are lots of different packages for animation, but be warned, prices vary dramatically. The main software packages can be divided into the categories: 3D animation, web animation and motion effects. Unfortunately, using some of them for the first time is akin to landing a Concorde with your hand stapled to your face. So, if youíre new to animation, either immerse yourself in 3D software training or go for one of Comedy Soupís slightly more accessible options:
These days your average home PC has a pretty decent spec. But before you think about installing, or even buying animation packages, you should check your PC can handle the pressure. You may need a good graphics card or more RAM then you currently have. Why? Well it's not just running the programme that requires lots of processing power, it's rendering the animation.
Once youíre happy with your equipment, take time to familiarise yourself with it and go for it. Hereís a guide of need-to-know information.
Before you put move a cursor across the screen, do a storyboard - it will save you a lot of problems in the near future. Basically, itís breaking down the story into a comic book format and serves as a guide as you go through the process.
Some animators even go as far as scanning in their storyboards and setting a scene-by-scene timeline to gauge how long their animation will last. This is called an 'animatic' and it's a useful approach which could save you a lot of time by dropping bits that you envisage wonít work, before modelling and animating them. The same goes for character and environment design. Sketch it out.
Do you know what your animation is going to look like? Is it more Akira than Wallace and Gromit? Have a look at the different animation out there. Is there anything thatís close to the picture you have in your head? If so, find out how it was done and what it was done with? The animation forums on the web are good for sourcing this kind of information. You never know, you might actually end up chatting to the person who made the animation you like.
Keyframes and Tweening
Keyframes are those frames which tell the story - the main focus of the action. Without keyframes, there is nothing to tween. Having worked out your keyframes you can then start to tween them - filling in the gaps. Short for in-betweening - the method of making the frames between two images to give the appearance that the first image evolves smoothly into the second image - tweening is a key process in all types of animation. High-end animation software enables you to identify specific objects in an image and define how they should move and change during the tweening process.
Words of the wise
Some of the content on Comedy Soup is generated by members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. If you consider this content to be in breach of the house rules please alert our moderators.