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I wanted to ask if anyone can suggest ways or tricks or tutorials that can help an animator maintain proportions or volumes of a character while animating.I am trying to perfect this skill.Before,my animations have a considerable amount of wobbliness and this is due to proportions or volume of my characters being off.Right now,how I animate is:I draw the stick figures to get my flow of movements,then I draw the lineart over the stick figures,then I go over the frames,scrubbing through the timeline,and redraw parts of my character where there are signs of wobbliness and try to make those parts look the same in proportion as the previous drawing of the same character.This is time consuming..is there a faster way to do this or one becomes faster with practice?
I am using ToonBoom.
You'll get better with practice for sure. Also are you making sure to do all your keys, breakdowns and then the inbetweens in that order? It can be very easy to fall prey to the temptation of extending the gaps between breakdowns and then effectively animating straight ahead to fill the gaps. It's easy to get drawn in by this temptation because it gives the feeling that you'll get it done faster, but you wont. Doing this can make it much harder to maintain structure, volume and proportions because you're extending the blind-space between other drawings. I personally find it best to always be placing a new drawing at a point equidistant between two existing ones. Unless you're doing your keys but keys are so important that they need to be structurally correct before you even start your breakdowns.
Also I would suggest animating with simple forms to create a character rather than stick-men. Converting a stick to a body-shape consistently is a lot more effort than converting a roughly body-shaped blob to a body. Also you'll get a better feel for the motion in your animation even from just rough shapes than you will from stick figures.
generally, if you're struggling with proportion in your animation this is a sign of not fully knowing and understanding your subject. Spend lots of time drawing your character in different poses, from different camera angles, etc. Know EXACTLY what that characters proportions and relationships are. Then when you're drawing your key drawings, and your breakdowns, you always have in the back of your mind, that little voice reminding you to check the integrity of your drawing. The hardest part is when you create a beautiful drawing that gets across motion, and energy, and feeling, but its off model. those are the hardest to throw out...but ruthless editing is half of animation in my opinion...
Thanks for the reply.That was really helpful.I will try it out.
Thanks.I agree,with repeated drawing,one gets familiar with the character.Will try it out.The problem is the character is originally from a 3d videogame and has very complex design with a lot of belts,buckles,weapons with complex embroideries on it.I think thats why I am getting tired quickly from drawing her,thus the wobbliness.I guess if the character was for a 2d animation to begin with,the design would have been simpler.Guess 3d is taking over the animation world.
well, you need to adapt your character and concern yourself with the large, important volumes first, then the details and accessories will fall correctly into place. The whole point, the beauty, the truly wonderful aspect of 2d animation is that you're not constrained by ANYTHING. Stop being a slave to some other design and manipulate it to suit your needs. What kind of excuse is it to say, " the reason my animation looks like ass is because the character is based of a 3d model and it was really hard to draw." You'll sound like a turkey. Instead build a character thats a pleasure to animate, thats within your ability to animate, and then do it the best you can. Don't waste your time animating a complex character poorly. I'd rather watch a ball bounce around and tell a story than watch a cool looking character spasm around the stage unskillfully in a desperate attempt by an animator to draw their favorite 3d video game persona.
Thats true but I also think if you really wanna make it as an animator,you should be able to animate characters with the design given to you by your client,no matter how complex the design is.Right now, I am drawing from magazines,photos,posters e.t.c to sharpen my skill of drawing from references (without grids) and my finished work looks exactly like the reference and I want to be able to do this at a very fast rate as this will help me have an idea of volume,proportion and creating animations of characters designed by possible clients.
The more used one is to animating complex designed characters the less work it will be to animate simple ones.I am also drawing this character in various poses trying to capture the likeness as much as possible and it is now very easy to draw the character,a couple more practice and I think I should be able to animate her.
As an animator whos "made it" I can tell you that you're fighting the wrong battle. Alot of times the client doesn't understand animation well enough to know what the design should be. They'll come to you with an idea and you tell them that you'll make the character more animatable. Secondly, animating difficult character designs does nothing but slow you down from honing your animation abilities. That why young animators begin with animating a ball, and move to a flour sack. In time your drafting skill will develop so that you ARE able to animate for complex and realistic designs, but don't start with advanced techniques with the thought that if you master those then the basics will be easy. Thats the wrong way to think about it.
Have you seen Algenpflegers blog? He has some gif animation of female figures doing walk cycles and different things.
They're pretty rought, but look damn good.
The thing about 2d animation is that its a hybrid of animation and illustration. Highly skilled illustrators basically take there knowledge of drawing and easily applie the things you learn in Richard Williams book.
The thing about school is, they dont teach you the illustration part. IMO learning the gears and volumes of Richard Williams book before having strong draftsmanship is a convoluted way to do animation.
Someone like algenpfleger will learn 2d disney or anime type animation easily because of his drawing basics. An animator who doodles cute characters in there sketchbook, or copies the cal art style all the time, or even worse, draw 5 min gesture figures and never get the nitty gritty of the figure.. will stuggle for a long time with gears and volumes.
Its kind of like telling someone to build a bicycle without ever having seen what one looks like, or ever really ridden one.
Someone like john k, (although i love ren stimpy) has taken that convoluted gears and volumes to a new level. My suggestion may not be very pleasing, but I think is the long term solution. You should have very strong draftsmanship skills like loomis or micholangelo along with learning animation,
Immoral Cintiq's Sketchbook
"Society will DRAW a circle that shuts me out, but my superior thoughts will DRAW me in." -Marva Collins
"Character is what you know you are not what others think you are." -Marva Collins
I fully understand what you are saying but my practice has really payed off.I have animated up to 5 secs of her after drawing her several times and paying more attention to shapes and volumes before focusing on gears and accesories like you suggested.I don't know if you have watched Fairytail,I have to say the animators are up to par with the style the way the manga artist draws.His work is filled with so much detail and the animators stick to it.
I totaly agree with you thats why I am trying to draw from references from now on while animating to improve my draughtmanship.
I have noticed after examining professional animators work,that they try to reuse much of the drawing in the previous frame in the present as much as possible and redraw areas that move to reduce the wobbling effect that occurs with re-drawing frames.
I have also noticed that even after maintaining shape and volume there is still some wobliness.Do I have to draw every line with precision?
You were indeed right.I ran into a lot of frustraton/tiredness as a result of animating the complex character for every frame.Learnt my lesson bigtime.Starting a new project,will simplify the characters making them more animation friendly as long as they look like the characters intended but simplified,lesser workload.What matters is the motion I am trying to get across.Vehicles will also be simplified as well.Probably with more experience,comes more detail but never too complex for the sake of time and workload.As an animator whos "made it" I can tell you that you're fighting the wrong battle. Alot of times the client doesn't understand animation well enough to know what the design should be. They'll come to you with an idea and you tell them that you'll make the character more animatable. Secondly, animating difficult character designs does nothing but slow you down from honing your animation abilities. That why young animators begin with animating a ball, and move to a flour sack. In time your drafting skill will develop so that you ARE able to animate for complex and realistic designs, but don't start with advanced techniques with the thought that if you master those then the basics will be easy. Thats the wrong way to think about it.