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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.
Replacement animation is another thing to plan for when designing your character. Replacement animations are really just all those different parts that you can swap in and out to make the character appear so he is talking, blinking, changing hand positions and so on. For example, I have this bear but in order to make him talk, I am going to need a bunch of different mouths. So I have our file here with all the different mouths. So for example I can take one of his snouts and just replace that over the other one. It will look like he is opening his mouth and so on.
We also have replacement parts for the blinks of the character as well as the different hand positions. So, really anything that you want to switch out, you can just build that into your character design file and use those parts later when you go to animate. Now, I actually have an example of how this works. I am actually using After Effects for this particular character but you can see how once I set up the mouths properly you can actually step through them one at a time and actually animate the mouths and make that appear as though he is talking.
So, when I have actually designed this, I have designed it so that the mouths are almost exactly the same but just the lower part of the mouth is changed. In fact, let's go ahead and take a look at this again in Photoshop and really, what I did was I copied the mouth on layers and then, I just redrew that lower part of the snout to make the different types of mouths. So as you start building your character, be sure to plan for replacement animation and be sure to draw all the parts that your character will need to talk, blink, change hand positions, and so on.
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