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All animators must learn to walk before they can run. In 2D Character Animation, industry expert George Maestri teaches the basic principles every animator must know to build a foundation for more complex work. These principles are relevant regardless of software used or animation style. George explains how good animation depends on a firm knowledge of the laws of motion, which inform the principles of animation. He teaches the basics of creating characters, squash and stretch, pose-to-pose animation, walking and running, track reading, and dialogue animation. He also shows how to use After Effects and Flash to apply the tools learned in the course. Exercise files accompany this course.
Another little technique that animators use when dealing with joints is to create accessories or little pieces of clothing such as jewelry or gloves or something like that that overlap the intersection of a joint. A classic example is the gloves on a classic cartoon character. For example, this character here has a glove and when I actually go to rotate this character, I can actually rotate just the glove and so I don't have to worry so much about the intersection where that glove meets the wrist because there is a big piece of geometry there. It kind of overlaps.
This collar is another example of something that can be used to overlap a certain joint. So for example the neck doesn't go directly into the shirt; it goes into the collar. So now when I select all of these pieces of geometry and I rotate them, then again the collar kind of covers up the intersection where the head and the neck connect to the body. Another example would be this woman here. So for example I have got this arm and we can have all sorts of problems with these elbows in getting everything to line up but one other things you can do is just create a sleeve.
So for example here I have got this piece of geometry here that basically is just a sleeve that overlaps the joint of the elbow. So now when I go to rotate this elbow, you can see it's completely covered up. This is a trick that we used on South Park a lot. You will notice a lot of the characters have these kind of half rolled up sleeves. Another classic thing to do is to create something like a piece of jewelry. So for example this bracelet here can cover up the wrist joint.
So when that rotates again the joint is covered up. So you don't have to worry so much about the outlines coming up. So now when you look at cartoon character, you will notice why Yogi Bear or Snagglepuss will have collars and cufflinks and those sorts of things. It's really just to cover up the problem areas of a character and to make it much easier to animate. So you can use accessories and different articles of clothing to create characters that are much easier to animate.
So go ahead and pay attention to that as you design and build your characters.
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