AuthorTopic: Animation, I don't get it.  (Read 4247 times)

Offline xhunterko

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Animation, I don't get it.

on: March 02, 2010, 03:20:01 am
Hello there!

Sorry if it's been awhile, I've been pretty okay with my stuff except for one small issue: Animation. Let's take "La Mulana's"/"Spelunky's" characters as examples here. How did they figure out how to animate something like that!?? I have something of similar style in mind, but how does one go about creating stuff like walking, jumping, etc? When I've asked for crit sometimes, people have posted to the ever so famous bobby head walk style by what's his name. Similar to the way people post about trees around here. They put a screen of "Children of Mana SNES" and tell the beginner to learn from that. It's like my dad beating us on purpose whenever we would play chess with him just starting out. (Still can't beat him.)

I guess what I'm really after, is how do you approach the way you animate something? Whether it's a wind blown tree, a space ship thrusting away, a square or slime walking around, or a fighter beating the guts out of his opponent, how do you approach it?

Offline 9_6

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Re: Animation, I don't get it.

Reply #1 on: March 02, 2010, 04:43:51 am
Generally, plan out motions with simple shapes and work the details out later.
This is especially true for tiny characters.
Simply copying and moving/rotating parts (like for instance the head in fighter sprites, it almost always looks the same) around is also a very good way to save time but that only really becomes possible with larger sprites.
Knowing the basics of animation like how a generic walk looks, anticipation frames etc. will greatly help you to make convincing animations.

And last but not least, unfortunately there never really is a "fast way" to do this, this is especially true for explosions which need to be drawn from scratch each frame.
Animating is nothing but work. You will need a lot of patience.

As for how to plan motion, for me, it's usually a guesstimation of the basic movement followed by a lot of polishing.
I'd suggest reading the animators survival kit.
It covers planning out walking animations in depth and walks are pretty much the hardest thing to animate right.

Also last but not least, take a look at this.
Intimidating, isn't it? How on earth could anyone get something like that done?
The answer to that is actually quite simple, don't animate everything at once.
Do it step by step.
Take a look at the WIP stages to see what I mean.
The same applies to every other animation too, for example if your character has a tail, get the walking down first and then do the tail movement.
Big motions first, small motions later so it all comes together.
You simply won't be able to animate everything at once.

Sounds like common sense but it makes all the difference.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 04:59:16 am by 9_6 »
Does scaling an image blur it?
Opera fix Firefox fix

Offline NaCl

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Re: Animation, I don't get it.

Reply #2 on: March 02, 2010, 09:25:48 am
Quote
Sorry if it's been awhile

Don't worry, I don't think anyone is on the edge of their seats awaiting your return, ha ha.

Anyway, animation... It's approached the same way non animated stuff is, see how something looks and try to recreate it. If you want to draw someones face, you look at it carefully and then try and recreate what you see. If you want to animate a run, you watch how someone runs and then try and make a sequence of marks that recreate that movement. Fortunately for us, there are simplifications and step by step methods to get some result without backbreaking study of actual movement.

The most common is probably the "bobby head walk" as you put it, I don't see why you consider that difficult or complicated. It is simply saying draw your character exactly in this pose, then in this pose, then this one, etc... It's a step by step tutorial, it can't get any simpler. To animate something without such a tutorial you just have to be able to envision how it moves, in a detailed way, and then recreate that. How would a space ship move? Well, just watch footage of a spaceship taking off, and observe how it moves. Slowly at first as it overcomes inertia, then faster and faster to a terminal velocity. A tree in the wind? Go outside. One of the master animators in Japan said it took him about 10 years full time work before he really started to understand how things moved.

But besides all that, just start animating. Take that "bobby head walk" and then without laziness make your character move. Don't try and copy and rotate parts, don't skip frames, don't try and move just his legs and arms, just go all out and take the time you need to make it look good. It really isn't that hard to copy that walk cycle, you just have to be willing to put in the time, and be willing to make big changes to it. Anyway, these kind of questions you're asking can't really be satisfied until you discover the answer yourself. I asked similar questions when i started drawing, "how do you do it?" but I was only able to see after I started doing it some. It's an experiential thing, and any answers to your question can't convey the experience. Just, you know, quit floundering around and try it.

Good luck

Offline xhunterko

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Re: Animation, I don't get it.

Reply #3 on: March 04, 2010, 06:53:54 am
"Don't worry, I don't think anyone is on the edge of their seats awaiting your return, ha ha."

Still, you never know. ;)
But it's more of a who the heck's this guy? Thing then anything else.

Great pointers guys, thanks!
Anybody else have anything to add on?

Offline Jad

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Re: Animation, I don't get it.

Reply #4 on: March 04, 2010, 01:31:10 pm
I think you need to start thinking in terms of key frames and in-betweens, I know that's how I started to 'get' animation - You animate a walk, for example, you start with TWO frames only

first one where your character is in a walking pose that you like (you could use the bobbyheadwalk for pose reference here) - then the mirrored version

thinking about a walk animation then, you try to imagine what pose would come directly in between the two key frames. Then you draw those in. Check out the 4-frame animation, see if it works and fix anything that looks weird. Just animating something like a stick figure would be good here to get movement down before you draw the actual details.

Then you do the same again, you look at the 4 frames you've got and fill in the frames that would be in between those frames. Then you end up with 8 frames, a good number for a walk cycle.

And that's basically it. First time it might come out stiff but if you keep at it you'll probably learn the quirks of it and know in advance what you might need to do - but just trying it is what you'll need to do to begin with.

Actually I think ptoing made a tutorial that outlines this explicitely. Let me dig around a little.

Edit: Ooh I found this - not what I was looking for, but still! http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=442.0

.. can't find ptoing's, though. a shame!
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 01:59:58 pm by Jad »
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Offline ptoing

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Re: Animation, I don't get it.

Reply #5 on: March 04, 2010, 08:29:19 pm
badabing

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Jad

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Re: Animation, I don't get it.

Reply #6 on: March 05, 2010, 01:51:43 am
A HERO IS YOU <3
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Offline sakket

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Re: Animation, I don't get it.

Reply #7 on: March 05, 2010, 07:22:11 am
SAV'd. I swear, the inspirational reference material on this site is endless.
littleroller.blogspot.com

Offline xhunterko

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Re: Animation, I don't get it.

Reply #8 on: March 05, 2010, 08:11:39 pm
That is one handy reference sheet! I'll be saving that one, and the one linked for sure!
Though if you don't mind, I don't like being a bother, but, what if I have to animate something in the style of "Cave Story" or something? I know one of the other guys did something like a cave story tribute thing around here somewhere. One with different characters in that style and all. How on earth did they figure out to do that? Especially something like a lemming/La Mulana/trilby/etc. Or something low res like that. Just, how?

@ptoing and jad: I don't think I've seen those here before! I'll be saving those!

Offline xhunterko

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Re: Animation, I don't get it.

Reply #9 on: March 07, 2010, 04:37:58 am
Thanks for the great stuff guys! I also found this:

http://www.create-games.com/article.asp?id=1874

Which should help with some of the low res stuff.

Thanks again guys!