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View Full Version : What is the "Do It Yourself" experience like for Animation these days?


bienville
04-27-2011, 12:58 PM
I know lots of Sketch Comedy writers and performers who make really good video shorts that they put online. The technology these days makes it extremely easy with just a little bit of autodidactic trial and error to get the live dialog recorded well on a decent looking video followed by very easy video editing, sound mixing, and sound editing.

Independent musicians, likewise, are recording great albums in their own homes with Protools and similar programs.

What are animators- those aspiring to professional goals, as well as dedicated amateurs- doing these days? What programs are they using?

Specifically, what programs are best for self-taught experimental trial and error?



My personal goals do not include making great achievements in mind-blowing animation.
I would just like to animate some written comedy sketches. The animation would just be a medium for getting the written comedy out there.
Likewise, music videos- the point would be to get the song out there- simple animation that it "good" would be good enough.

I do draw. I'd like to be able to design characters drawing by hand.



Any animators here on the Dope?

Any favorite "Guy made it in his Mother's Basement" animated videos on YouTube or elsewhere?

Miller
04-27-2011, 03:12 PM
I'm not an animator, but I have been taking some animation classes as part of my degree program - 2D last quarter, 3D this quarter.

If you're just interested in 2D animation, all you really need is a light box, a scanner, and a copy of PhotoShop. You can get a decent light box for a hundred bucks or so, or build your own if you've got some rudimentary carpentry and electrical skills. (Building your own scanner would be significantly more difficult, so you should probably just buy one of those.) If the price tag on PhotoShop is prohibitive, you can also find tons of open source programs out there that can assemble your frames into a cartoon. Here's one I found after ten seconds of Google searching (http://www.pencil-animation.org/).

For 3D animation, we're using Maya ("http://usa.autodesk.com/maya/'). Maya's a full suite 3D modeling tool, and requires a lot of work just to get to the point where you're ready to start animating - the skill set for drawing on paper is not the same as the skill set for modeling in 3D. On the other hand, there's tons and tons of online tutorials out there on how to use it, so if you go that route, and are willing to put the time and effort into it, you can probably teach yourself quite a bit about it.

bienville
04-28-2011, 06:17 PM
Thanks, Miller!
I'd hate to give the impression that I don't respect animation as a hard-learned craft. I'm hoping to make the simplest of simple little ditties, I'd never suggest that with a few months of practice I could go toe to toe with the big boys.

I'll talk to some people I know who use PhotoShop, I didn't know it could be used to do animation. Can audio be recorded/edited/mixed right on PhotoShop or do I have to do that separately- then put the images over the complete audio track as if doing a photo montage over a song?

Silver Tyger
04-28-2011, 06:22 PM
The other big 2D animation is Flash - it's being used for professional shows now (well, as early as 2002, which doesn't really count as now, but you get my point).

I would suggest going with that instead of hand animation (hand animation is more tedious than you would believe).

Miller
04-28-2011, 06:22 PM
I've never tried to record audio to go with any of the animation I've done, so I'm not sure how that works.

Jragon
04-28-2011, 06:35 PM
I'd say flash is the standard right now. I think most amateurs probably pirate the whole adobe suite, and use a mixture of tools (audition for sound editing, flash for animation, photoshop for stills), however.

bienville
04-28-2011, 09:01 PM
I would suggest going with that instead of hand animation (hand animation is more tedious than you would believe).

From the flip animated karate fights done in the corners on my school notebooks when I was a child, I do imagine hand animation to be quite tedious indeed.

I was just hoping I could design the character by hand, since that's where my comfort zone is.

I was hoping I could do something . . . like . . . (thinking this through as I type) . . . draw the character, then draw him in pieces- head, limbs, torso - a few different heads for just some basic positions, basic facial expressions, maybe design the face to accommodate a "blank" mouth so that different mouths could be traded in and out.



It's starting to sound like even the most basic animation is for people who really know what they're doing.
I might have to axe any short-term goals and look toward when I can find time to really put some dedication into learning all the ins and outs.

Khadaji
04-29-2011, 04:11 AM
For 2D have a look at Toon Boom (http://www.toonboom.com/products/). I have only played with it and I am not, by anyone's standards, an artist or animator, but I thought it was easy enough to use and quite fun.

Khadaji
05-11-2011, 07:09 PM
For 2D have a look at Toon Boom (http://www.toonboom.com/products/). I have only played with it and I am not, by anyone's standards, an artist or animator, but I thought it was easy enough to use and quite fun.
Just an update: I now have a lot of free time on my hands and have always wanted to play with this product, so I bought a copy.

What I did not know is that it requires QuickTime - a product that I have preferred not to install on my machines. Had I know I would not have made the purchase. (Likely my fault, I did not read the requirements.)

Gukumatz
05-11-2011, 08:08 PM
I've been in the exact same situation and the tips I got from the then animation teacher at my school proved invaluable.

1. Start by drawing the starting point of the motion/scene. Then immediately draw the end. Everything in between will come naturally. (Albeit tediously and at first with a great deal of loathing, curses and adjustments.)
2. Recycle. Recycle, recycle, recycle.
3. TTT. Things Take Time. Don't make any time estimates until you've done similiar or equivalent work before. A lot of truisms mean the same, like the old "10 percent of the work takes 90 percent of the time."
4. Borrow, rent, beg and steal. A Wacom board will be a good shortcut for getting a hand-drawn sketch onto the computer and one of your friends/fellow students/colleagues probably has one lying around.
5. Keyframes. Learn how to use them. Learn how to love them.

ETA: I'm myself by absolutely no means a professional animator. I have done a great deal of amateur animation in a lot of fields, from title screens and intros in student movies and commercials to simple web animations and some very simple texturing and 3D modeling. I have a great deal of respect for the craft of animation and the people at Pixar and the like regularly awe and astonish me.

Kim o the Concrete Jungle
05-12-2011, 02:10 AM
Well, for entry-level 3d stuff there's always Blender (http://www.blender.org/). It used to be known for having the most wretched and unintuitive interface of all, but the new version is a bit of an improvement.

It is being used to make animated shorts (http://www.blender.org/features-gallery/movies/).

Horatio Hellpop
05-12-2011, 02:43 AM
The queen of DIY animation these days has to be Nina Paley, whose feature-length Sita Sings the Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzTg7YXuy34&feature=player_embedded) turned a lot of heads when it was released a couple of years ago.

Here in Korea, I occasionally teach an animation course to students who use grid paper, tracing paper and a scanner; they then save the individual panels as JPEG files. Put 'em in a folder, open all the files simultaneously, and keep hitting the "down" button and you'll get a simple 8- or 16-frame animation that even a fifth grader can make!

BigT
05-12-2011, 08:58 AM
The queen of DIY animation these days has to be Nina Paley, whose feature-length Sita Sings the Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzTg7YXuy34&feature=player_embedded) turned a lot of heads when it was released a couple of years ago.

Here in Korea, I occasionally teach an animation course to students who use grid paper, tracing paper and a scanner; they then save the individual panels as JPEG files. Put 'em in a folder, open all the files simultaneously, and keep hitting the "down" button and you'll get a simple 8- or 16-frame animation that even a fifth grader can make!

You don't teach them to at least convert them to animated GIFs?

I agree that most amateurs use Flash, BTW. However, one guy I know uses Flash and animated GIFs for the multimedia part of his webcomic (http://www.mspaintadventures.com/). He claims working in pure Flash takes too long (as he used to release several pages a day), and, in fact, a lot of his flash work is farmed out. As far as I know, no one gets paid, though he does sell T-shirts and stuff.

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