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Principals of Animation On and Off the Computer

Tracing characters provides you with in-depth training on 3D + Animation. Taught by George Maestri a… Show More

2D Character Animation

with George Maestri

Video: Principals of Animation On and Off the Computer

Tracing characters provides you with in-depth training on 3D + Animation. Taught by George Maestri as part of the 2D Character Animation
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  1. 2m 19s
    1. Introduction
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 16s
  2. 48m 21s
    1. Designing characters
      3m 22s
    2. Tracing characters
      4m 32s
    3. Creating joints that work
      3m 53s
    4. Working with outlines
      4m 0s
    5. Accessorizing your characters
      2m 21s
    6. Creating parts for replacement animation
      1m 41s
    7. Rigging hierarchies in After Effects
      5m 33s
    8. Rigging replacement animation in After Effects
      5m 52s
    9. Rigging with the Puppet tool in After Effects
      3m 16s
    10. Rigging Flash characters
      5m 50s
    11. Rigging replacement animation in Flash
      4m 25s
    12. Rigging with the Bone tool in Flash
      3m 36s
  3. 55m 29s
    1. The first law of motion
      3m 3s
    2. The second law of motion
      3m 45s
    3. The third law of motion
      3m 19s
    4. Using slow in and slow out
      5m 34s
    5. Arcs and smooth motion
      5m 4s
    6. Understanding overlap and follow-through
      5m 16s
    7. Animating overlap and follow-through
      5m 46s
    8. Understanding squash and stretch
      3m 10s
    9. Animating squash and stretch
      4m 40s
    10. Squashing and stretching characters
      5m 16s
    11. Understanding weight
      3m 27s
    12. Understanding anticipation
      4m 54s
    13. Animating anticipation and weight
      2m 15s
  4. 45m 50s
    1. Internal vs. external forces
      4m 45s
    2. Bringing characters to life
      4m 57s
    3. Animating blinks
      4m 37s
    4. Animating changes in eye direction
      2m 43s
    5. Animating head turns
      8m 1s
    6. Creating a strong line of action
      4m 16s
    7. Creating strong silhouettes
      2m 19s
    8. Pose-to-pose animation: Blocking
      4m 32s
    9. Pose-to-pose animation: Animating
      4m 21s
    10. Pose-to-pose animation: Finalizing
      5m 19s
  5. 46m 47s
    1. A walk in four poses
      2m 27s
    2. Motion of the head and body
      1m 32s
    3. Walk cycles and backgrounds
      1m 40s
    4. Skeleton motion and walking
      4m 2s
    5. Animating a walk: Contact position
      3m 0s
    6. Animating a walk: The feet
      9m 4s
    7. Animating a walk: The body
      5m 19s
    8. Animating a walk: The legs
      8m 21s
    9. Animating a walk: The upper body and arms
      3m 46s
    10. Animating a walk: The head
      2m 50s
    11. Animating a walk: Squash and stretch
      4m 46s
  6. 26m 52s
    1. A run in four poses
      4m 10s
    2. Animating a run: First pose
      4m 39s
    3. Animating a run: Second pose
      3m 45s
    4. Animating a run: Third pose
      3m 27s
    5. Animating a run: Fourth pose
      5m 1s
    6. Animating a run: Upper body
      5m 50s
  7. 37m 6s
    1. The basics of dialogue animation
      4m 35s
    2. Reading tracks and assigning mouth shapes
      5m 33s
    3. Phonemes and lip-syncing
      8m 36s
    4. Animating dialogue: Animating the body
      6m 27s
    5. Animating dialogue: Assigning mouth shapes
      4m 10s
    6. Animating dialogue: Finalizing
      7m 45s
  8. 1h 27m
    1. Animating a scene
      2m 0s
    2. Setting up the scene in After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Animating the feet in After Effects
      10m 40s
    4. Animating the legs in After Effects
      4m 21s
    5. Animating the upper body in After Effects
      9m 44s
    6. Animating the mouth and blinks in After Effects
      7m 5s
    7. Setting up the scene in Flash
      4m 6s
    8. Animating the feet in Flash
      9m 0s
    9. Animating the body in Flash
      5m 23s
    10. Animating the legs in Flash
      7m 24s
    11. Animating the hands in Flash
      11m 54s
    12. Animating the mouth in Flash
      12m 26s
  9. 33s
    1. Goodbye

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Tracing characters
Video duration: 4m 32s 5h 50m Advanced


Tracing characters provides you with in-depth training on 3D + Animation. Taught by George Maestri as part of the 2D Character Animation

3D + Animation

Tracing characters

Once you've created your character, you'll need to get it ready to animate. This involves several steps. The first one is getting your character into the computer. Now, if you've drawn your character on pencil and paper, you can certainly scan that in. If you draw directly in the computer then just bring up your original design files. Now, once you have the character in the computer, you'll need to make a decision as to how you want to proceed. Do you want your character to be vector or bitmap? Now vector is something like Flash or Illustrator where you draw outlines.

In fact let me show you this bear here, in vector format. So, what we do here is we just draw individual outlines and the outlines themselves define the shape of the character. Now one of the benefits of vector drawing is that it's resolution independent, which means I can zoom in as far as I want and I will never get pixilation and this image will never break up. Another important benefit of vector-based graphics is that the file sizes are a lot smaller.

It's a lighter file format, which is really important for things like mobile content or Internet, where you have to deliver the content quickly over a network connection. Now, one of the downfalls of vector graphics is that it really is pretty much limited to solid colors and gradients. So the color palette might not be as rich as a bitmap image, but if you want your characters to look pretty much like cel shaded characters, this will not be an issue. Let me show you the same character in bitmap format.

Here we are in Photoshop and I have the same character up and you can see I have just traced him in pretty much the same way but if I zoom in, you can see how I get pixilation. You can see how this kind of breaks up. So what you have to do with these sorts of characters is you have to make them a little bit bigger than your delivery mechanism. So if you want to zoom in, for example, you'll need to make sure that you have enough bitmap resolution to handle that zoom. But making the file bigger will also add more density to the file, which means it will make the file bigger, make it harder to deliver.

So if you are going to do something that's over the Internet, you probably wouldn't want to go to something like vector-based graphics but bitmap graphics does have some advantages. In fact, here let me show you a character that I've done here. Now, this is just a character that's pulled from a classic Renaissance painting. Back here, let me show you the painting here. So what I did was I just took this standard classic painting and then just cut out the character and this shows you one of the advantages of having a bitmap image and that you can do something that's very, very painterly.

This is something you probably wouldn't be able to do in a vector-based package. Now once we have the character in the computer, the other thing we need to do is we need to start breaking up the character into multiple pieces so that it can be animated. Now I've done this in Photoshop using the Layers feature. So, for example, I've taken the Snout, the pupils and really every part of this character including the head, the ears, the belly and I have segmented it into the parts that need to be animated.

A good example might be the arm. So, for example, we have a separate layer for the upper arm and for the lower arm or the forearm. Same thing for the legs and the feet. So, I have a separate layer for the foot and a separate layer for the leg. So, this gives me basically a puppet that I can bring into an animation package and animate. Let me show you the same thing in Illustrator. Here is a character. As you can see we've used the Layers feature of Illustrator to segment her out into parts as well.

Getting your character ready to animate involves bringing the original design in and tracing it in either a bitmap or a vector-based package and then segmenting the character out into individual parts that can be animated. So, be sure to keep that in mind as you design your characters, that they are going to be broken up into puppets. This will help your design process and also help you to visualize how you're going to animate your characters.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about 2D Character Animation .

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Q: In the chapter "Creating joints that work,” the author uses a circular point for the joints in the arm animation. Do circles need to be drawn in the joints while tracing the character, or there is another method that can be used?
A: It doesn't absolutely have to be a circle, as shown in the video. However, that method is show because it’s the easiest way to make sure the joints will rotate easily.
It’s a matter of personal preference, so use whatever method will work best for each character.





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