Join Dermot O' Connor for an in-depth discussion in this video Rolling and flipping frame rates, part of Traditional 2D Animation in Harmony.
- [Voiceover] If you're new to drawing animated cartoons, of if you're new to Harmony, there are a few things to know. Hand drawn animation takes longer to create, so you must have patience and stamina. Start with simple scenes, see how long they take to finish, and decide whether or not this method is practical, or whether you should stick with puppet or CGI animation. Hand drawing animation in Harmony will almost always take longer than with CGI or puppet animation, but it is a lot faster than animating on paper.
It also bypasses technical rigging issues. You just draw in your own style. An understanding of frame rates is essential. Most modern CGI or Flash, Harmony, or puppet animation is done on 30 frames per second. There are a few that are done on 24, but I think the majority is on 30. But traditionally, animators worked on 24 frames per second. This doesn't sound like a big difference, but it is. If you draw on 30, that's as many as six extra drawings per second. If it takes you an hour to do a drawing, congratulations, you've just created six hours of work per second of screen time.
So choose which one of these is right for you. Now the great animation of Disney and Warner Brothers was all done on 24 frames per second. Remember that when you read the animation books by Eric Goldberg or Richard Williams. When they say, "Hold a pose for six frames," they mean six frames at 24. If you work in 30 frames per second, seven frames will be closer their intent. And just look at this, six frames on 24 is seven or even eight frames on 30. For working in a fine medium, this is important.
In addition, a traditional animator often worked on twos to save time, meaning that many, if not most, scenes held each drawing for two frames. So you would do a drawing, usually numbered on odd frames, numbered one, go on to the camera stand, click, click, two frames. So hence, that's why it's called animating on twos. Your second drawing will be called three, click, click, and so on. The only scenes drawn on ones would have been those that are very fast, or where a character walked against a moving background.
Something with a run cycle, that kind of thing. So the beauty of working on twos, half the drawings. This saves enormous amounts of time and money. So you can do a drawing for every frame, and this is called, as you might guess, animating on ones. Only do this when you have to, and I mean absolutely when you have to. It's simply not worth doing a scene on ones for the sake of it, and on this point, I would disagree with Richard Williams. There are plenty of times when you can get away with twos. In Japan, for example, much beautiful animation is shot on threes, with each drawing held for three frames.
Basically, a functional frame made of eight frames per second. A lot of people watch it, and they love it. Your eye simply gets used to that kind of shutter speed. I would not, myself, want to see anything much slower than that. I think that's pretty much the cutoff for pleasing motion. Now of course, you can do the same thing on 30. You can shoot on ones on 30 frames per second, that's 30 frames per second. You can shoot on twos, that would be a 15 frame per second rate, or on threes, that would be a 10 frame per second rate. And I've worked on all of these.
So which one you choose depends on your preference, your project, technical limitations and so forth, and how much time you have. Now with hand drawn animation, if you make a change to the animation, or the timing, or the spacing, this usually means having to create new drawings and throwing out old ones. Unlike on a computerized system, you create the in-betweens by physically drawing them. Now it's important that not only you understand this, your client must also understand this.
Any alterations to the animation come with a pretty hefty price tag, in terms of time and money. So to conclude, why on earth would you work in this manner, drawing by hand? Crazy, given all this longer production time. Well, here's our finished project that we'll be doing during this course. And the reason why I love drawing by hand, better quality, well done hand drawn animation I think can't be beaten, it just looks special. You have far more control over the style.
There are no rig inhibitions, the program isn't enforcing. Vitality, you can just get more life into these hand drawn images. And, improvement. This is such a great way to grow as an animator. There's nothing between you and the animation. It's you and the drawing. So that's it, with that all said and done, let's proceed.
- Creating a hand-drawn cartoon
- Achieving soft, organic lines
- Drawing extremes and in-betweens
- Using a virtual light table
- Cleaning up lines and color
- Making timing charts