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I just wanted to see what are the main skillsets for pursuing animation. Is drawing the main thing required, or is it also heavily based on math? I mean, I got an "A" in Algebra (har har), but I wouldn't say my strong point is things with numbers.
So, is animation more like coding like a programmer, or is it "hands on" with your applications, with the program doing all the numbers behind the scenes. I've made a few custom games in the past, so I know about triggers, variables, and all that jazz, but nothing like working with an official language like C++, or Java.
Sketchbook: There and Back again Updated- 7/04/12
If you're talking about traditional animation, that's ALL about drawing.
If you're talking about animating things in Flash or in 3D, that can be done using code but I think more often than not it isn't. Linear animated sequences (like, for movies or TV,) don't need to involve code much. Or at all. It depends.
Animation for interactive media (like games) may involve code, sometimes rather intense code, but the coder is not necessarily the animator. I'm sort of an exception because I do both, but most animators I've worked with know absolutely no code at all. In the types of projects I've done, animators make the animated bits without code and the programmers add code later and/or fold the animated bits into their code.
This may be different for some studios or types of interactive media. (I've only done 2D stuff. 3D may have totally different requirements, feel free to correct me, anyone...)
Of course, if you do know how to both code and animate, that can be a plus for getting some types of work...
Or at any rate, it doesn't hurt to be able to communicate with the programmers so you can animate according to their specs.
3d animation is pretty simple. It is based on the 2d system of key frames adding more complex algorithms for flexing, motion blur and jitter and the code is already written in the programs. They did it that way so the animators didn’t have to be coders also. You can still create your own mathematical expresions if you need even more finesse but the programs nowadays ae pretty robust. Not like the old days when we had to write our own unix code in Alias, which was the early version of Maya.
Animation is pretty cool in that it is both highly technical yet also very artistic. It also depends very much on what type of animation you're doing. Character animation requires a huge amount of technical knowledge, in that you need a really good understanding of anatomy, motion and weight. Yet on the other hand you need a strong sense of character, humor and emotion.
I think the means by which you animate is secondary to the understanding of what animation is. Drawing is a means of creating animation, in the same sense that 3D packages are tools for creating it. I think both of those skills are separate to the ability to actually animate.
I've just finished my post-grad in character animation and the understanding I have (which is still very much evolving) is that you need to apply a a combination logical "thought" and emotional "feel" when approaching an animation.
0 math dude, its all drawing and observational skills + understanding of how things move and interact with each other.
Character animation requires no math beyond simple arithmetic (mostly multiplying or dividing by twenty four to convert seconds to frames or vice versa). A little knowledge of programming can be useful, but it's far from essential.
Effects animation (at least in 3d) requires more serious math and programming.
I study animation. Put simply, Animation is illustration with physics. You have to deal with force, arcs, communicating weight as well as the personality of the character in the way they walk and move. You have to be able to accurately depict how this character would go about throwing a ball or jumping off a small ledge, and it's very unique to him.
Here's an example. It's rotoscoped, but still awesome.
Notice how you can feel the tension in the spine holding the characters up. Notice how when the legs move, the dress and the pants deform realistically. Animation via rotoscope or just video reference is as good an exercise as drawing cloth physics from life and the life nude models, because in every frame you have reference of how they're moving, what muscles are being used to move where. You could also do these studies from films or television shows.
I actually think that because of the huge number of drawings of characters with action poses on this site, I think animating characters is a great exercise
for determining how characters move from a rested stance into an action stance and out of it again into the next pose.
That'll also help you figure out what's going on in the illustration immensely - you will have worked out what the character was doing five or six seconds prior to their current pose, which will effect what they're thinking now, and what they're thinking now is how they're going to follow up the next combination of swift jabs or jumps or whatever afterwards. An illustrator has to capture and communicate all of that in one frame.
That's why I love art - exploration of any one discipline enhances perception of another. That's why I highly recommend getting into sculpting as well - whether with Clay, Zbrush or sculptris - to enhance your perception of 3D forms.
Dont worry about the math. From a 3D standpoint you will rarely ever to have go into an attribute editor and manually animated a node by the numbers, unless your a script writer and you animate with procedurals.
3D and 2D animation share the same 12 principles of movement and staging. There will obviously be some interfacing differences between the 2D and 3D involving you wrapping your mind around the tools in what program you choose to make your vehicle for expression. A monkey can learn these tools though.
Whats gonna be important for you is deciding what kind of animator you want to be. Congrats on starting the beginning of a long and fruitful journey!
Here are a few resources i might book mark and read when you get a chance.
Gesture drawing for animation
Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators
Animators survival guide
The 12 principles of animation
Applying the 12 Principles to 3D Animation.
Great notes on the line of action http://hand-drawn-animation.blogspot...of-action.html
http://www.11secondclub.com/ ( great animation forum )
Last edited by Robert.B; July 3rd, 2011 at 07:34 AM.
I'm studying classic animation and besides raw drawing and visual skills I'm having HUGE advantage because I had both drama and physics classes previously.
And still, the animation industry is huge and not all of us have to be a generalists, you can be either pure technical or 100% artistic and find your niche.
As for programming, unless you are developing your own animation software I'm pretty sure there's only scripting involved (which is much simpler and straight to the point then programming...)