introduction to 2D animation working practice

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CH001 qxd 1 4 07 2 56 PM Page 2,2 character animation 2D skills for better 3D. During this chapter I will take you through two things the equipment needed to make a. basic animation studio and some simple animation We will look at x sheets and how they. help timing flipping flicking and rolling how to use a line tester and how to put the lessons. learnt from your drawn exercises onto a 3D computer program By the end of the chapter. you will have learnt how to organize yourself and how to plan a piece of animation. I make no apologies for taking you right back to basics Many of you may know much of. this but bear with me it is worth refreshing your knowledge and reinforcing the basic prin. ciples behind animation,how animation works,the basics. 2D drawn animation consists of a series of drawings shot one after another and played. back to give the illusion of movement This animation can be played back in a number. In the form of a flipbook basically a pile of drawings in sequence bound together and. flipped with the thumb, The drawings could be shot on film one drawing at a time with a movie camera and. played back using a cinema projector, They could be shot on a video camera and played back with a video player. They could be shot with a video camera attached to a computer and played back on the. same computer using an animation program, Or they can be scanned into the computer and played back.
frames per second, Animation shot on film and projected is played at 24 frames per second. Animation for television in Europe Africa the Middle East and Australia is played at 25 frames. per second In these countries they use a television system called PAL which plays at 50 fields. frames per second and 25 frames per second is compatible with this If we played an animated. film at 24 frames per second on the television we would see a black bar rolling up the screen. The Americas the West Indies and the Pacific Rim countries use NTSC which runs at 60 fields. per second This means you should be animating at 30 frames per second 60 is divisible. by 30 Quite often some sort of digital converter is used to transfer one speed of film to. another speed of video allowing 24 frames per second film to be shown on a 60 fields per. second NTSC TV If you stop frame through a video of an animated film you will find there. are points at which one frame will blur into another This is how they overcome the incom. patibility of the two systems stop framing through animated movies is a very good way of. learning about animation The most important thing to find out when animating something. is at what speed the animation will be played back All the animation taught in this book will. be played back at 25 frames per second,CH001 qxd 1 4 07 2 56 PM Page 3. introduction to 2D animation working practice 3,what you need for your studio. In order to complete all the drawn exercises in this book you will need the following things. all of which are available from the professional animation equipment suppliers listed at the. back of this book,animation paper,line tester,animation paper. When animating you often find that you are working. with four or more layers of paper A level of translu. cency is necessary to see all the drawings Professional. animation paper is made with this in mind, It also comes in different sizes These are referred to.
as field sizes 12 field and 15 field are the most pop. ular 15 field is 15 inches wide 12 field being 12 inches wide I ll explain this in more detail. later in the chapter when I refer to field guides the grid that measures field sizes. Most professional animation paper comes with three punched holes It is possible to buy this. paper with no holes This is cheaper but you will need a specialist animation punch which. is very expensive Used with a peg bar the,holes allow accurate placing of each piece. of paper with the next This is important as,the slightest movement in a drawing will. show when the sequence is shot,It is possible to use A4 paper with standard. ring binder punched holes and a peg bar with, two pins that fit the holes This will work out far. cheaper than professional animation paper,Professional peg bars are a strip of steel or.
plastic with three pins These are industry stan,dard and are used with professional anima. tion paper These are used to register each,piece of animation paper against the next. It is possible to buy two pin peg bars these are often called junior peg bars. It is equally possible to make your own using a strip of wood with two pieces of dowel that. correspond to the holes in your paper or even to tape two 5 mm countersunk bolts onto your. CH001 qxd 1 4 07 2 56 PM Page 4,4 character animation 2D skills for better 3D. light box These can then be used with ring,binder punched A4 paper. As with the paper bear in mind that if you,want to use your animation professionally it.
is advisable to buy a three pin peg bar, In its most basic form a light box is a flat sheet. of opal Perspex over a light Professional light,boxes use a rotating disc They should also. have the ability to change the angle of the,drawing surface This makes drawing easier. both on the wrist and on the back,Simple light boxes are relatively straightfor. ward to make You could use a wooden storage box with the top part cut off at an angle. with a neon bulb mounted inside A piece of 6 mm opal Perspex is then fastened to thetop. with screws, X sheets are also referred to as dope sheets or exposure sheets They are used by the anima.
tor to record all the necessary information relating to how the animation should be shot. A standard x sheet consists of several columns that run from top to bottom and 100 rows that. run from left to right Each row represents one frame of animation If the animation is to be. played back at 25 frames per second 100 frames will equal 4 seconds of animation. The columns on an x sheet mean the following things. 1 sound column, This contains the sounds that are relevant to the animation Very often this is the dialogue. spoken by the characters For animation the dialogue is recorded first It is then broken down. This means that someone usually an editor will go through the sound track frame by frame. They work out where each word starts and ends and where each of the major vowel and. consonant sounds are These are then marked on the x sheet in the sound column frame by. frame You then know that at a certain frame in a scene a particular sound is made. CH001 qxd 1 4 07 2 56 PM Page 5,introduction to 2D animation working practice 5. This blank x sheet can be photocopied or you can print up an x sheet from the. folder X SHEETS in chapter001 of the CD ROM,2 action column. This contains the instructions on when a given piece of animation will start and end An experi. enced animator will fill out this part of the x sheet before they start animating Sometimes the. director will fill this out The process is often referred to as slugging out. CH001 qxd 1 4 07 2 56 PM Page 6,6 character animation 2D skills for better 3D. 3 the frame numbers column, As the heading suggests this is where the number of each.
frame is inserted One of the main ways of cheating in. drawn animation is to do your animation on twos This. means that each of your drawings is shot for two frames. This saves a huge amount of work For example if you. have to animate 4 seconds you only have to do 50, drawings rather than 100 drawings if you did a draw. ing for each frame assuming a rate of 25 frames per. second You will also find that at times you will want to. hold your animation For example at a given point in. the action a character may move into a position where. they stand still for a second or so At this point you could. just have one drawing held for however many frames. are needed, There are two ways to number your drawings The first. way is to number them by the drawing This means that. drawing number one will be numbered 1 drawing num, ber two will be numbered 2 etc The other way is to. number them by the frame This means that the drawing. on frame one will be numbered 1 The drawing on frame. three if the sequence is shot on twos this would be the. second drawing will be numbered 3 the drawing on, frame five would be numbered 5 etc Each method has. its advantages and disadvantages It is probably better. CH001 qxd 1 4 07 2 56 PM Page 7,introduction to 2D animation working practice 7.
for the aspiring computer animator to,number drawings by the frame so that. when you look at your drawings in,order to copy their position with your. computer model you know exactly,what frame that pose should be on All. the exercises done in this book will be,numbered by the frame. The columns show the order in which,the levels are placed Background at the.
bottom level foreground at the top with,the character in the middle. Each drawing will have its own number Each unit represents a. frame The drawing number is inserted to show where that frame. of animation will be in the sequence This varies depending on. how many frames per second each drawing represents The exam. ple shows a sequence that is shot on twos i e each drawing is. CH001 qxd 1 4 07 2 56 PM Page 8,8 character animation 2D skills for better 3D. shot for two frames When something is on twos the first row has. a number and the second is left blank It is unnecessary to fill in. every frame if at the end of a sequence the last drawing is held. for 10 frames i e the drawing is shot for 10 frames a line should. be drawn for the 9 frames after the written number This is indi. cated by the line that runs from the bottom of the drawing number. to the last frame that the drawing is held for If the drawing is held. for more than two frames it is necessary to insert a line to show. how long the drawing is held for,4 the levels columns. When a sequence is animated even if there is only one character. the drawing for one frame of animation may be on several levels. of paper If the body remains still during the sequence but the. head and arms are moving there will be only one drawing of the. body for the whole sequence If the head is moving at a different. rate to the arms the head will be on a separate piece of paper. and the arms on a further piece If there is a background and the. character is stood behind for example a tree this will again be. on a separate piece of paper However accurate the final draw. ings are if you have to retrace exactly the same drawing 20 times. or more there will be variations between the drawings that will. show when the animation is played It also is an unnecessary use. of time Before the use of computers the finished drawings were. traced and coloured onto Cel cellulose acetate or clear plastic. sheets This allowed for a maximum of six levels before the thick. ness of the cell made the colours on the lower levels look muddy. Today each of these levels would be painted and assembled. together with programs such as Soft Image Toonz or Animo This. allows for infinite levels without any loss of quality. 5 the camera column, Information in this column instructs the camera how you want. the scene to be shot and pinpoints the area within the artwork. CH001 qxd 1 4 07 2 56 PM Page 9,introduction to 2D animation working practice 9.
The most important piece of information is the field. size The most popular paper is 12 field which,means that the camera at its maximum setting will. shoot an oblong area that is 12 inches wide,Traditional 2D animators use a field guide also. called a graticule to work out the position of the. shot For example to shoot your animation using, the full size of the paper it is marked on the top. of the camera column as 12 field centre As a,3D computer animator you won t be using field. sizes However it is worth understanding how,they are worked out.
The field guide has North South East and West printed at the. top bottom right and left It consists of 24 columns and 24 rows. in a grid The columns are half an inch wide By using these. compass points and grid references you can specify any area. on your paper that you,want to be shot,The illustration below. shows an oblong area at,the top right of the paper. that is 5 inches wide This,would be 5 field at 7,east 7 north of 12 field. centre Using the field, guide you work out where the centre of the oblong is. in relation to 12 field centre the centre of the field. guide To find the centre you would count along 7, lines east and 7 lines north from the centre of the field.
guide 12 field centre See illustrations over page, Using this method you can place a field of any size. in any area,All exercises in this book are at 12 field centre. or if you are using A4 photocopy paper 10 field at. 2 south of 12 field centre,line tester, A line tester is a device that captures your drawings. and plays them back It is a quick and easy way to,see if the roughly drawn sequence works There are. a number of ways to set up a line tester You could. use a film camera a video recorder that can record. CH001 qxd 1 4 07 2 56 PM Page 10,10 character animation 2D skills for better 3D.
single frames or a line testing software program,and a computer The movie examples on the CD. introduction to 2D animation working practice 3 CH001 qxd 1 4 07 2 56 PM Page 3 light box These can then be used with ring binder punched A4 paper As with the paper bear in mind that if you want to use your animation professionally it is advisable to buy a three pin peg bar light box In its most basic form a light box is a flat sheet of opal Perspex over a light Professional light

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