5 tips to improve your animation

by Muvizu_Admin in News

It's amazing what a few simple tips and tricks can do to enhance your animation output. Whether it's mastering a technical skill and accelerating your workflow, refining your character detail or enhancing your story-telling skills, we can all learn a tip or trick that will improve our animation. Here we've collected five of the best and simplest tips that every animator needs to know about...

1. Learn the 12 principles of animation
In their 1981 book The Illusion of Life, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas of Walt Disney Studios introduced the 12 basic principles of animation - a series of concepts that defines a philosophy of animation. Anyone starting out in animation - be it characters or motion graphics - would be wise to learn these by heart and apply them in their work.

The 'old men' of Walt Disney Studios laid down some important precepts in their book The Illusion of Life.

2. Pace the action to emphasise the story
John Lasseter's 1994 SIGGRAPH paper of Tricks to Animating Characters with a Computer, has some brilliant advice. But the one bit that stands out is the notion of timing the animation to be ahead of - or slightly behind - where the audience is in the story. Basically, it's about how you pace the action: what you reveal, how you reveal it and when. For example does the audience know what's coming before the character, or afterwards? Is the character seeing something the audience isn't? It's a great way of ensuring your animation is interesting, exciting and engaging. Read the rest of his great tips here.

John Lasseter explains some of the storytelling tricks he used to great effect in Luxo Jr.

3. Use sounds to time the action
Delano Athias has some interesting ideas in this Digital Tutors blog, one of which is to picture a character's movement as a sound or a series of sounds. If you don't have suitable reference material, it's a useful way of getting the timing right, by scrubbing through your animation either to a track or to the sounds in your head.
Try Delano Athias' trick of using sounds to get your animation timing right.

4. Do the most difficult thing first
Animation Mentor has a series of blog posts covering all aspects of animation. This one by Paul Allen has some excellent advice on ways to beat procrastination. You know: "I'll start that animation right after I've tidied my desktop, and sharpened those pencils, and actually the car does need a clean...". He suggests you make a list of the things you need to do, and embark on the most difficult thing first. Once that's out of the way the rest is easy, right? 

5. Don't bother with playblasts
Kenny Roy has prepared a great list of tips for Creative Bloq, in which he covers ways to make your animation more natural and interesting. But he also warns about the dangers of endlessly playblasting or rendering previews of your sequences. He suggests working with simplified scenes and proxy characters to speed things along. Of course, if your're working with Muvizu, you'll get high-quality previews in realtime!

Comments (5)

Log in to comment on this item.

  1. chaver
    • chaver - Over a year ago
    • Thank you for great info :)
  2. drychalice
  3. dannybright
    • dannybright - Over a year ago
    • Yes, thanks guys, this is very good info and I know we are all gobbling it up and implementing it in our animations. What a pleasure to have such an easy to learn, easy to use program of such depth. The sky's the limit everyone, lets go for it and show the world what Muvizu can do!