5. My 3-step animation refinement strategy (Lecture 2)

(Lecture notes)

This following strategy is what I believe makes the difference between an average animator and a great animator:

There is a 3 step cycle I use to animate and refine. Most of the time when I am animating, I am following these three steps to the best of my ability:

·        Draw

·        Observe

·        Modify

Let's elaborate on those steps:

1) Draw: this is where you are trying things for the first time - If you have an idea for something that might look good, just give it a go.

2) Observe: this is the essential part - play back the animation you have drawn and look really hard at it. Play it back at least 20 times. Concentrate really hard - on each play back, purposefully look at something else about the animation. Maybe first time you look at the timing and spacing, second time you look at the squash and stretch. Then you note down your observations - specifically on what you think could be improved and how to improve it. Make a big list!

3) Modify: Now you're back to drawing - go through that list of problems - think of what the best way is to solve each of the problems

Back when I was animating traditionally, these steps were even more distinct. You couldn't really preview your whole animation in real-time. You had to wait until the computer + photograph rig was free so that you could compile all your drawings together and see what you had made. So my day went like this:

I would plan and draw my keyframes, knowing that I would probably have mistakes in there somewhere, but oh well. let's see what happens

I believe that this method, even though it is time consuming, creates better methods that the alternative process - the process of trying to get everything right ont he first attempt.

If you try so hard to get everything right on the first method:

A) you will over-think what you are doing and paralyze yourself

B) you refuse to let your intuition in - your animation will look stiff and uncreative

C) you are not trusting your eyes and what they see. Instead you are trusting what other people or the "theory" tells you.

As an animator you need to learn to TRUST YOUR EYES

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