Friday, 29 May 2020

Make Your Playblasts Look Like Renders

We're liking this helpful video by Wade Nedstadt, hosted at YouTube, which shows animators how to make a desktop Playblast in Maya that looks almost as good as a full rendered movie file. Wade Nedstadt tweaks the Playblast settings in Maya, and explains how to create a Maya Playblast "that doesn't have to look awful anymore". It's a neat way to avoid long, time consuming renders, and a smart way to speed up your workflow.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Why Animated Characters Need to Breathe

Keep your characters breathing
One of the most common mistakes made by student animators is to forget that characters need to breathe. Even when the character isn't moving, they still need to stay alive, and keep breathing.

Breathing is something that we do without thinking about it, rather like blinking. A good animator adds breath to his character, and keeps them alive.

The trick is to get into a pose, and stay there, but not let the character stop moving entirely. Some motion is necessary, just to keep a character alive and breathing.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Why Animators Must Check Their Hookups

Jerich0 - excellent shot continuity
Why must animators check their hookups? Animators are commonly assigned to work on single shots on a project, which means there will be another shot, animated by another animator, on either side of theirs.

These shots must play together in continuity, meaning that there must be a smooth flow from one to another. The pose of a character at the end of one shot should be the same pose in the next shot, or else the shots won't "hook up".

In animation terms, hookups are nothing to do with Tinder, or online dating. Hookups are about continuity, and on a film project it is the animator's responsibility to make sure that their shot hooks up with the shots on either side of theirs.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Audio First, Then Animation

Do the voice recording first
Audio first, then animation.  One of the rules of animation film-making is that the audio comes first, then you do the animation. The voice recording for the actors is done first of all, cut into the edit, and then the animators create their performance to match the dialogue.

Sometimes film-makers will try doing it the other way around, animating the characters first and then adding the voice-over, but this is almost always a mistake. The reason for this is that it is very hard to post-sync the dialogue.

The rule of animation film-making is always this: record your dialogue first, then do the animation.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Head and Shoulders Don't Turn at the Same Time

Animator's Survival Kit
One of the most common mistakes that junior animators make is to animate a character turning all at once, moving the head and shoulders at the same time. The result is that the motion feels stiff and robotic.

The solution is to offset the body parts so that you either lead with one part - perhaps the head - and then the other parts follow.

The head can lead, and the shoulders follows, or the shoulders lead, and the head follows, whatever feels most natural. The trick is to break up the action so that the different body parts overlap one another, creating the illusion of flexibility and overlapping body parts, or "successive breaking of joints", as Art Babbitt used to call it.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

How to Animate Quadruped Transitions

Free tiger rig from Truong
We're adding more animation tutorials to our Vimeo channel, including now a series on how to use the Time Editor (formerly known as the Trax Editor) in Maya to animate locomotion transitions.

The tutorials build our existing tutorials on quadruped locomotion, such as walks, trots and runs.

The transitions tutorial explains how different gaits can be combined using Maya's Time Editor.

Students who want to learn how to animate transitions should first learn to create a successful quadruped walk, trot and run cycle, before attempting to combine them into one piece of animation.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Why Animators Should Avoid a Profile View

Two characters talking in profile view
One of the most common mistakes made by junior animators when they start out animating is to compose characters in profile.

When two characters are talking to one other, it seems logical that staging them in profile should work fine, but compositionally it doesn't work well.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Linkedin Webinar 7 May 2020

Steve Vasco
LinkedIn is an important resource for animation graduates; in recent years it has become one of the principal ways in which talented animators can get their work notice and - crucially - get hired for that elusive first job in the industry.

Tomorrow Thursday 7 May Escape Studios is hosting a free "Evening With..." event with Steve Vasko from LinkedIn. 

Steve Vasko is the Manager of Customer Success at Linkedin and has over 20 years of experience in high tech industries. In this webinar Steve will explain how to build your personal brand at Linkedin - something we recommend all our students do.