AuthorTopic: Animation Tips and Tricks?  (Read 2872 times)

Offline mozzy

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Animation Tips and Tricks?

on: December 23, 2010, 10:24:39 pm
I'm working on a big game project, and the spriting is fun and a lot of times easy, but when it comes to animating, I hit a road block. Its generally where everything falls apart and becomes a mess. So my question is, do you have any tips or tricks or just general advice to help me out? What's your process when animating a sprite? Do you use any special tools? Thank you!
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Offline Kren

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Re: Animation Tips and Tricks?

Reply #1 on: December 23, 2010, 10:42:56 pm
well, I keep using the onion skin from graphicgale so I can keep a track of what exactly changed, then after that I just go on and on, test on normal speed, if I see something wrong I try to see what frame is the one with the problem and edit it, sometimes I just add a small number on the top right part of the frame so I can keep see the frame with the error easier, for animations and such, if they are tons of walking animations, lets say 10 human male same size animations I just make one and reuse it to save time and work on more important aspect, it really depends on what you are making in top down games they artist decided to add tons of frames to the walk animation of the hero since it is something you always see, while on the NPCs they just uses three frames  in which two are the same frame just flipped hah, if you are walking on plataformers well, you have to make all the animations look decent heh..

But in general I recommend you doing one base walking adn from that use it as reference on all the walking animations, same might work for the others like jumping attacking etc, either that or onion skin. Animation is a really long a tedious job, I am no expert at all so some of my advices might be noob-ish, but in all art related practice is a key, so keep trying and trying.

Offline Gromit

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Re: Animation Tips and Tricks?

Reply #2 on: December 25, 2010, 12:32:47 am
You're not alone, I have trouble in that area as well.

From testing a few methods for characters I now start with stick figures until I get the motion I want down. After that I work on getting the proportions and block it all in to create a colourcoded silhouette. Sometimes I'll just create the silhouette first.

The mistake I tended to make at the beginning was trying to be lazy and recycle body parts of another animation too much. It can save time but sometimes it doesn't because you may need to spend time trying to make it work and not look too stiff. if the recycled part is a close fit see if it works. My advice really is to spend the time getting the motion down first. Youtube can be useful too. For instance there's long plays of old games that you can use as a reference, or even some sample animation work you could use for inspiration. 

The animator's survival kit is a pretty good book and worth having around too. Doesn't tend to be too expensive either.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2010, 12:39:05 am by Gromit »

Offline setz

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Re: Animation Tips and Tricks?

Reply #3 on: December 25, 2010, 04:35:01 am
I tend to use a variety of methods when I'm animating things. Usually, I'll sketch the animation out, and adjust the timing then, then go back and touch up each frame so it looks good enough. Sometimes, I'll use cheap tricks, like turning a part into a brush and rotating it with each frame, then going back and cleaning it up. Other times I'll just move sections. Even cheap tricks don't always look bad when you clean them up, I'd almost never recommend not touching them up though.

In summary, don't be afraid to take shortcuts, but its always a good idea to come back the next day and see what can be improved, also, never be afraid to start over.

Offline Jad

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Re: Animation Tips and Tricks?

Reply #4 on: December 26, 2010, 12:47:07 am
The animator's survival kit is a pretty good book and worth having around too. Doesn't tend to be too expensive either.
Understatement! It's a wonderful book, written by a fantastic animator with the goal of gathering the methods and tricks of the oldest legendary animators of the industry to pass them on to later generations. You really should buy it, it costs less than buying a video game, but it contains the key to personal growth as an animator, lasts longer, and can be more entertaining too.

' D ' Regarding animations I more or less just make poses that work, adjust the timing and spacing between frames until I get the right motion, then I clean it up and make it look pretty.

Mozzy, I think you should start a thread about it and just post a dozen of problematic motions and I'd be super happy to help you get it right!
' _ '

Offline mozzy

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Re: Animation Tips and Tricks?

Reply #5 on: December 26, 2010, 09:18:54 pm
Thanks guys! I'll be sure to check that book out :D
And I'll post a thread with a couple animations I'm having trouble with later today.
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