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Thread: Animating the Elements
December 26th, 2008 #1
Animating the Elements
Fire, water, things of that sort. All of them are known to be hard to learn, and I find myself at the point where I am trying to learn them, and I have hit a major stumbling block........ I can't.
I've tried many different things, and I've looked up some tutorials, but I can't quite get the hang of it, does anybody have any tips for animating fire, water, lighting, and other things like that?
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Traditional or digital 2d animation? 3d in maya, houdini, reelflow, etc..?
We cannot help without knowing what you want to do.
December 26th, 2008 #3
Last edited by Mystical Chocobo; December 26th, 2008 at 11:22 PM.
December 27th, 2008 #4
Effects animation is a career in itself. If you want to know how to create convincing effects, so a LOT of research into good reference and learn about physics.
Different fluids have different viscosity, and you should try practicing a pencil test of a couple of different types dripping into pools of themselves. A water droplet will look a lot different when it plops into a pool of water than a drop of honey would into a pool of honey.
WORK ROUGH. Try for movement, not polish. Work towards getting believable movement and timing before you even think about refining.
Go to youtube and check out some slow motion videos (for movement, not timing). Get a disney dvd and go frame by frame to see how their effects are handled.
December 27th, 2008 #5
Hmmmm......... Good advice, I'll look into those things........
December 27th, 2008 #6
heh, solid advice.
to add, probably one of the best references for 2D fire animation you can get is
Disney's first venture into Technicolor (don't quote me on that) Flowers and Trees. Though, it's a very primitive technique, because it is so, if studied closely, it can easily be followed and understood.
I will say though, the best thing you can do is make a fire and look it at it for a while. One of the things I hear many prominent well respected animators say is that, yeah sure, you'll always get that kid who will rent bambi and look closely at the animals movements and look at it frame by frame, but the best thing for that kid to do is to look at an actual animal run and jump. Because, eventually, you start to a xerox of a xerox of a xerox of something that was interpreted by someone else.
Yes, the studies from old masters are important, but so is going out on your own and looking at the movement and the atmosphere of the object you're trying to represent.
I've never animated anything beyond simple walk cycles so I don't know much of what I'm talking about (just theory), but hopefully you get something out of what I wrote.
Also, I do believe that at this point Disney had his animators animating on multiplane cams. If they didn't, you should still consider using a multiplane technique. I can only imagine that not only will it look more convincing if you have separate movements, but it will be more dynamic and interesting.
I actually think at this point he already had an FX department, or was that until the Old Mill? Oh, and speaking of The Old Mill, go towards the end, and you'll see how Disney animated lightening and rain. I do think this is the first time they animate the lightening with such incredible and very convincing force. I'm pretty sure at this point FX were on separate layers.
Last edited by mbarq; December 27th, 2008 at 09:57 PM.
December 29th, 2008 #7
Hmmm....... Interesting fire effect in Flowers and Trees, I think I can do that.
Good idea to look at flames, I'll do that sometime soon.
Thanks for the great advice!
January 6th, 2009 #8
Stylising is one thing but I can’t stress enough how paramount it is to absolutely understand the physics of what is happning in order to create a credible movement and not just parrot a style.
For fire and flames ; for example, they tend to curl up from underneath and separate. Why? Because the oxygen is burnt out and the flame unfurls. I wish I could pos from here and drop a quick line-test… Anyways, look at reference and try to find slow-mo examples of what you want to animate.
I know that Adam Phillips used to be a pro FX animators and it really shows in his Bitey shorts. Also Michel Gagné is pretty hot at it too, but in a more cartoony way (just my opinion whilst remembering Prelude to Eden).
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