10 best animation tips & tricks

07. Mess up your physical work

Fill physical shots with all slips, falls, hitches, bumps and misses. Audiences get bored of watching perfect runs, jumps and tackles. Creating a little chaos is fun to watch, and it’s impressive to see an artist who can ‘animate their way out of’ a situation that’s gone awry.

08. Learn a little about mocap

You’re putting yourself at a serious hiring disadvantage if you’ve never worked with, or even seen, mocap data. Even if you plan to work at an all-keyframe studio, you may have to handle the stuff. There are many free mocap clips online, and 3D World’s disc includes mocap data from time to time.

Read our review of the iPi Desktop Motion Capture software, which is an affordable alternative to the full kit.

09. Bookend trouble spots

Sometimes an animation contains hitches you just can’t remove, try as you might. Bookend this section by selecting all the controls and setting keys just before and after the hitch. Now delete the offending keys, knowing that you have walled off any destructive effect on the rest of the sequence.

10. Do more of less

Take on shorter shots for practice. The reason you practise is to get better for the industry, so practise the length of shot you are likely to encounter on the job, which will rarely be more than 10 seconds. You’re more likely to finish shots that are manageable, gaining skills from blocking through to final polish.

By Kenny Roy
Kenny is an animator, and founder of Arconyx Animation Studios.

Images accompanying tips 1-5 as well as the main image come from Mike Stern's short Distraxion, made for AnimationMentor.com and are © Animation Mentor.

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