Currently browsing Posts Tagged “animation”

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Back to Basics

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Revisiting the basic walk cycle.

Working Out The Bugs

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Just a test to see if I can sort of match the ink/paint qualities of an old Looney Tune.

Graduation Present

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Yeah, couldn’t resist. Please scold me if I don’t start animating again.


Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Yes, I’m playing with more animation software after a long hiatus. There’s this odd program called TVPaint that I’ve tried before, but never had enough patience to figure it out. I say it’s odd, because it’s made in France, was originally developed over 20 years ago for the Amiga(!) and has a unique interface that doesn’t use any OS X conventions at all. Tech support is in broken English, and if you buy the software, you have to wait for an archaic USB dongle to be shipped to you. But it’s been steadily growing in popularity among independent animators.

One reason I hated it before is that it didn’t really have dual-monitor support. But now that I’ve restricted myself to one monitor for drawing, I don’t have to worry about that. And, in spite of the loss of screen real estate, I’m finding it much more pleasant just to use it on one screen. Unlike Toon Boom’s Animate, which I paid big bucks for, its palettes are compactly arranged and are easy to quickly hide when you don’t need them.

Once I watched a few quick tutorials, I realized that, in many ways, the software was also more intuitive, especially in terms of quickly creating extremes and breakdowns and adjusting their exposure. Although I’ve only scratched the surface in terms of features, the fact that I can do basic animation without remembering a million keystrokes or struggling with the timeline is a positive sign.

Also positive is that the software is far more actively developed than Animate, which hasn’t had any sort of update in 2 years or so.

On the downside, there’s that dongle, and it doesn’t come cheap. And I’ll admit that it seems silly to buy yet another piece of animation software when I haven’t proven any actual animation aptitude.

I’ll sleep on it.



Desk Set

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Tonight after work I finally found myself tied to the drawing desk for a while. I have nothing to show for it, but I spent a couple hours re-learning my animation software and trying out some techniques from a book.

Merry Whiplash

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


Thought I’d see if I still remember how to animate.

Saturday Night Smackdown

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Well golly, this is still in a sloppy state, in so many ways, but I really need to move on to my next bit of practice (or maybe the 11-second contest if the April sound file appeals to me). I think I was fairly happy with the movement early on, but for me the hard part was keeping Mary looking consistent from frame to frame. I didn’t design her for animation, and if I really wanted to use her, I should have drawn a model sheet in advance, and really nailed down how she’s supposed to look from different angles.

Here’s an example of a model sheet, of that fish-lady from the Little Mermaid:


Obviously, as I get better at drawing, and better at planning, I’ll be better at animating relatively complicated characters like Mary Rae, but whatever I do next will definitely be more along the lines of Elmer Fudd, as I mentioned before.


Yep, Still At It

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

I did a lot of work on my spider-squashing animation this morning. Don’t worry, that’ll be finished soon, but as usual I’m doing a lot of learning and revising along the way. One thing I’m doing to facilitate that is animating in vague scribbles, rather than spending too much time laboring over each drawing. That way I won’t hesitate to revise drawings or throw them away completely.

Once I have the motion exactly how I want it, I can start to worry about filling in the details.

Ren and Stimpy animator John Kricfalusi has lots of great advice for budding animators, and makes a great argument for using simple early-1940s characters as the basis for animation practice. By then, animators had nailed down the best practices for animating, but were still tentative about moving beyond typical pear-shaped characters. So they’re perfect vehicles for a beginning animator to conceptualize how cartoons move and carry their weight, without getting thrown off by any zany stylization that later evolved.

So, after trying to animate a girl with a ponytail, I think my next twick will be the mercifully bald Elmer Fudd.

Back in Action

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Hey look, I actually sat down and worked for a few hours! And I’ll spare you my customary apology for only cranking out 9 frames in that time; until I get the hang of this stuff–sometime in the Roaring 2020s–this pursuit will be more entertaining for me than it will for you.

As I mentioned before, I’m doing a very short animation in which Mary Rae sees a spider, hauls off and smashes it. This here is the seeing part, and it’s pretty much the same as the Kerkel clip from last week. However, I’ve also explored moving different parts at different speeds, such as her ponytail. In fact, when I come back to this, I’m going to give her ponytail a few more frames of drag; right now it settles too quickly, I think.

Episode 12: Mary Infuriates PETA

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Getting started on some more animation practice; Mary Rae sees a bug on the table and smashes it. Today I sketched a few thumbnail poses, and also plotted the timing on a stripped-down exposure sheet on the right side of my page. Boring spreadsheets may seem antithetical to spontaneous-looking animation, but it really just serves the necessary purpose of timing your character’s actions; how you choose to excute those actions is what brings the character to life.

The timing for this animation actually comes from Eric Goldberg’s “Character Animation Crash Course.” I’ll make it my own by coming up with interesting breakdowns and overlapping action. So, look for that within the next couple days.