the best way to practice animation is to animate.
Sounds like a silly answer, but hear me out.
Animation is fundamentally Keyframes and Timing. Gesture will help you when your figuring out natural positions for Keyframing, but, there really isn't a non-animation exercise that helps with Timing. You really need a sequence of images to play with Timing, there's just no getting around it.
If your really keen on getting some Animation training away from your desk, aside from Gesture, you can people-watch. You have enough studies of Walk Cycles, Picking up Heavy Objects, and other general movement in the Animator's Survival Kit. But with people watching you can focus on the non-purposeful movements people make that can lend believability to your character.
Like, how often people *blink*, for instance. It's something our minds automatically edit out of our own experience, so the only way to get an accurate impression of how much (and when) your character should blink is to unabashedly stare at some poor unsuspecting individual one day.
Last edited by Zilant; September 15th, 2007 at 01:21 AM.
The drawing exercises that your looking for as an animator, is what Glen Vilppu teaches. Learn how to get rythm down, and practice timed gestures and sequences. Learn to be a draftsman. It use to be in some large studios, youd have the lead animator make the keys, inbetweener do the suicidal job of filling (shipped over seas these days for television shows for that job) and in some cases youd have the cleanup artist. These days though, it really varies depending on what you want to do, or where you work.
If I were you, learn to be really good at digital animation. Develop thos tablet skills, and become profecient in programs such as toon boom and other good paperless animation programs.
Last edited by Costau D; September 15th, 2007 at 03:30 AM.
ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER
"Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work. " -Chuck Close
Space Chimp's: I agree that learning digital animation is so import now. Not only will it save me a lot of time if I wanted to make something, but it's also an essential skill in studios these days.
I still love using paper though... Nothing compares.