Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Bringing objects to life through animation, part of Getting Started in 3D and Animation.
- Animation is where we bring our scenes to life. Animation is all about timing. A good animator has deep knowledge about the way things move. Animation usually starts with the timeline. A timeline allows the animator to scrub through the scene and play back the animation. If there is sound in the scene, that can be displayed as well. Animation is controlled by keys. These record what happens at any point in time. This can be the object's position, or any other attribute.
An animator will usually set a handful of keys and let the software calculate the in-betweens. This saves time and allows changes to be made quickly. Keys can be edited to adjust their timing and value. Often this happens directly on the timeline. For deeper control, the animator can view animation curves, which graphically depict how the software is calculating the in-betweens. The animator can adjust these curves to get the exact motion required.
Character animation brings characters to life. It can be challenging, but also a lot of fun. Character animators are storytellers. They need animation skills, plus tons of knowledge about acting, story and anatomy. Motion can also be captured and brought into applications, such as MotionBuilder, which can edit the data. Finally, there are times when you want to let the computer do all the work. Many animation software packages have built-in physics simulators.
These allow you to set up objects in a scene, and have them move according to natural laws. This could be as simple as knocking stuff over, to more sophisticated simulations, such as particle or fluid effects. Good animation requires patience and practice, but the results can benefit just about any project.