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u/lucky_quip · 3 pointsr/animation



First of all let me state that I am an animator working at a 2D studio who is currently learning 3D animation and modeling on my own. This is gonna be a long answer. Finally: I am gonna push learning 2D first, but that does not mean, you can't do both at the same time, Also I am not saying you have to have 5-10 years of 2D experience before touching a 3D software, I am saying you should really just give it a good try for like a two to three months, before or alongside of learning 3D.


Ok, let's get started!


I want to reiterate what an instructor who does work as a 3D animator (but studied as a 2D animator) said. A person who is applying to a 3D animation job with 2D training and experience is much stronger than a 3D animator who has no 2D experience. I am willing to bet most 3D animators who work at Sony, Pixar, Disney BlueSky, and Dreamworks would agree. In fact most 3D animation curriculum at colleges and universities, including mine, first teach 2D animation. So do not underestimate how import learning and experiencing 2D animation is.


That is where you should start. With 2D, because it forces you to learn and calibrate not only your own style of drawing, but style of animation as well. By the way, you style, comes naturally from experience of drawing and recognizing patterns and being inspired by other artist and life, so don't worry about that too much. It means that you have to work through step by step learning how all the 12 principles of animation (the first technical thing you should learn by the way) work together and alone to create great character animation, to create something that is awesome. Weather or not you are gonna turn this into a career is doesn't matter as well. Starting with 2D will help you no matter what.


As far as materials and sources of knowledge;


As I stated before, you should first learn the 12 principles of animation. A good book to start with is The Animator's Survival Guide. A good video to watch for the 12 principles would be here. As far was weather or not knowing you how to draw goes; I agree with /u/arczclan. You should learn how to draw well enough to express your opinion and intent accurately. It really depends on what you want t animate and the purpose of your animation. You will find that animation that is more story oriented, may not have has high fidelity of drawings it just depends on how confident the animator is on weather or not their message got across. That being said, knowing how to draw can only help, for that, you should always draw from life. That is how you learn how to draw really well, really fast. Draw at cafe's, buss stops, still life, animal life, go to life drawing sessions. Picture are good to draw from, real life is better though. Focus on anatomy, form and movement. Here is a YouTube channel; for free life drawing sessions, i started by doing one every day:

Proko Panko is good for learning anatomy: Proko


Next is software/materials. Now you can go out and but animation desk, disk, pegs and paper, a bit expensive though. I would say you should invest in an electronic drawing tablet, by wacom (just cause they are industry leading). As far as software, there is Adobe Animate (requires subscription), Open Toonz (free), more can be found here


As far 3D software. Blender is free and amazing! However if you want to work in the industry, I would recommend Autodesk Maya, cause that is what every big studio uses. It does cost per month, but I think there is a free trial and TONS of tutorials.


Now after that you look up the 12 principles and learn how to use what ever software of you choosing, you should just... animate! The first assignment most students get is a bouncing ball (focusing on timing, volume, etc.) So you could start with that. Then go to animating a bean bag walking across the screen (focusing on using the 12 principles to give is more personality, to bring it to life) Then just think of other things you want to animate and just animate them, have fun with them. As well as keep up with your life drawings. I know you said you only have 4-5 hours per day to dedicate to this, but if you keep a sketch book with you (which I highly recommend for anyone just learning animation no matter what the medium) you can just pull it out when ever you are in public and have a free minute and do a quick life drawing, it all adds up! The point is just DO, try, fail, learn, try again, succeed.


I hope all of this talk of 2D doesn't scare you, in a nutshell you just need to be able to draw well enough to communicate your ideas and I really believe in the idea that one should animate in 2D first at least of a little bite before moving into 3D, there is a reason every school first teaches their 3D students 2D even for 2 months. Most importantly, once you learn the basic technical information and start with some easy assignments, such as bouncing ball, and swinging tail, then you just have to GO FOR IT! Have fun and welcome to the life of an animator man!


Hope that helps!

u/MountainSound · 2 pointsr/animation

Hey there!

Glad to hear there is another potential animator/artist in the world :)
A lot of your question depends on your budget as tablets can get very expensive very quickly based on size and quality. For instance buying something that lets you draw directly on the screen is going to run you several hundred dollars for the lowest tier models (Wacom Cintiq's are currently considered the gold standard but their monitors and tablets start at over $1000 new so that is out of the question for most people and definitely not worth it for a beginner). So if she's just wanting to explore, a drawing app on a samsung galaxy tablet is a cheaper option that works great for beginners and allows them to work directly on screen. Plus is she loses interest you'll still have a tablet to use for other things.

However most people start with something like a Wacom Bamboo tablet. They are high quality, very responsive, and made by Wacom (the current industry leader) for a much more reasonable price. However you're drawing on a tablet placed on a desk while watching your work on a separate monitor and this can take some serious getting used to. Once you've got it figured out though they're great (they come in various sizes and are used by professionals throughout various industries)!

As for software consider these:
Art/Drawing - Sketchbook Pro

Animation - Anime Studio 10
keep in mind animation programs can be tough to learn so she'll definitely need to watch tutorials online. However this is an awesomely priced option with a lot of great features to make jumping-in easy

If she really catches the animation bug there are two books that are wonderful (although they are thick and may be better for when she is a little older? Up to you but they could make great future gifts):
Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams


The Illusion of Life by Ollie Johnson and Frank Thomas - Two of Disney's original master animators known as the Nine Old Men

Anyway that's a quick rundown of where equipment and resources stand. If I were you I'd probably go for the bamboo tablet and Sketchbook Pro to get started (for drawing) + Anime Studio 10 if animation is definitely something she wants to explore as all these items are an outstanding value for what they offer.

If things get super serious as she gets older prices begin to jump up very quickly (especially on the software side) but I believe the items listed above should suit her perfectly for at least through all her high school years. As she improves and explores you'll naturally learn what all the tools and options are on your own, as well as what her preferences are.

3D animation as a whole is a different beast that is very computer/technical heavy with a steeper learning curve. So if she wants to start trying that it becomes a whole different realm as you'll need a solid PC and a lot of time and patience when it comes to learning one of the various computer graphics programs out there.

Hope this helps at least a little! Good luck, and feel free to PM any time :)

u/CathulianCG · 3 pointsr/animation

Hey, I'm a CG Lighting artist by trade, I'll let you know some good resources that have helped me.

As a lighter, your goal is things things, Setting the mood/atmosphere, Shaping (making sure you can make out forms of the scene), and Leading the eye (I feel like there is a fourth, but I can't think of it this morning lol)

Some good books to read:

Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

Light for Visual Artists (hard book to find, but worth finding a copy)

Digital Lighting and Rendering(new edition coming out soon)

Great resources to start and help train your eye, studying films is the next step. Picking apart scenes to understand how and why they lit the scene the way they did, studying photography is a great place to look as well.

Also if you can afford it, TD-U has a fantastic online course from a couple of great instructors to help you on your way of understanding CG Lighting. If you can afford the class it will be a great place to start. I took the class last year and it was an AMAZING resource, I didn't know anything beyond the technical understanding of lighting, this course really helped me understand the artistic side of lighting. The instructors are great and very helpful.

anyways, hope that helps, if you have any questions feel free to message me.

u/shearswm · 3 pointsr/animation

Alright, first thing you're gonna wanna do is chill out, it's gonna seem intimidating at first but once you really get into it it'll be second nature to ya.

First thing I'd recommend is finding a process that works for you, if you're not comfortable with Adobe then try out some other programs, I personally recommend Krita, it's a pretty simple program to operate not too advanced but provides the tools needed to make some good frame by frame animation, it's free too, which is always a plus. But there's also other alternatives like ToonBoom [good but pricey, so I've heard] and OpenToons [free] that are more advanced. Maybe take advantage of some free trials and see what you're most comfortable with.

You said you can't see the previous frame when moving to a new one, you have to enable onion skins which shows a silhouette of the previous drawing so you have something to reference.

Another thing you're probably gonna want to do is familiarize yourself with the process, check out a few videos on Youtube about animation, this one right here goes pretty well in depth on the twelve principles. I also recommend the Animator's Survival Kit, and so will most other animators [It's a really good book that goes way in depth on the whole process].

And the number one most important thing I can say is this, just keep animating. Practice as much as you can. I can sit here all day recommending books, videos, and software, but the thing you're gonna learn from the most is experience. So animate, find the methods you're most comfortable with, and make something with them, it doesn't necessarily even need to be good, it just needs to be a learning experience.

It's like exercising a muscle, the more you work at it the stronger it gets.


I hope this helps in some way.

u/cigaretteclub · 5 pointsr/animation

the animation field is very very competitive. and little by little, jobs are being cut out from the field. if you go for animation, you better have passion. without it, you may as well have no chance...

i wanted to be an animator ever since i was a kid, i love cartoons. animation is a wonderful medium.

Do you know who Richard Williams is? I hope you do. In his book, The Animator's Survival Kit, He talks about his journey into the world of animation. please read that section which is located in the very first pages of the book.

i watched your video SidMonqay, and i will tell you to forget about animating right now. No, i don't mean lose the passion to animate. What i mean is forget about the technical part, which is animation. First, learn how to draw. No, i don't mean learn how to draw cartoons, i mean really REALLY learn how to draw. Study classical drawing and me...if you focus on this you will be able to draw ANYTHING:cartoons, anime, illustration, comics, etc. because this is the HARDEST and most DIFFICULT art there is. (Jason Manley from you don't have to 'master' it, but learn from it. once you know you are ready, you are ready for animation.

I am 22, and studying classical drawing at a studio in Chicago under a very great and talented artist who i call my mentor. he has connections to some of the biggest studios of animation out there, and knows A LOT of well known artists. He teaches classical drawing and painting but also works as a storyboard artists and is grateful to make a living as an artist. He told me he has plans to grow the studio into a small 'academy' where he and other artists will teach classical/digital/animation. I am so happy i found this place. it beats all the art colleges i have gone to.
I now go to the studio and study mechanical design technology at a community college(as a back up, if animation doesn't work out..)

I will introduce you to Bargue drawings(intro to classical training)

This book my mentor suggested me to read, which i did "Lessons in Classical Drawing: Essential Techniques from Inside the Atelier"

This artist who has great drawing/painting demos DVDs which i learned a lot from (Robert Liberace)

An animation news website

Calarts which is the best school(they say) for character animation

(but listen, you DO NOT need a degree for animation. you DO need a kick ass portfolio. and i mean it. kick get the job and recognition from your portfolio and skills, not the piece of paper.
I myself am not getting a degree in art or animation.)

here is my tumblr. i post my art there.

if anything SidMonqay, try art at a community college. it's cheaper than larger institutions. be careful of for-profit institutions and people that just want your money. that is where i messed up, and i lost all hope, until i found this studio. I highly recommend you go and find a studio or atelier and study drawing and painting there. there are also art workshops every year for illustration/animation/drawing/painting you can find each year around the U.S! like this one

but, choose your own path! any questions, feel free to ask

[edit] of course! Richard Williams book on animation!

u/chloberry · 4 pointsr/animation

Source: Current storyboard artist, former animator. I also used to teach animation to kids 5-15.

Here's what I would do if I were you. Buy a bunch of blank flipbooks, a 9x12" sketchbook, and this book, Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams:

Every time it mentions an exercise (such as a bouncing ball), do the exercise. Make the bouncing ball a basketball, a character's head, whatever will make it fun for you.

Also, practice drawing a LOT. Go to life drawing classes. Draw buildings and trees. Draw objects and hands holding objects. Pay attention to form, but also light. Practice drawing your favorite animated characters, but after you've copied a few poses, make sure you're picturing them in 3D and paying attention to proportions. Try to draw them in a pose you've never seen them in.

I've noticed a lot of high schoolers in particular worried about drawing/animation style—which style is correct, which should they draw in, how do they develop their own style. Don't worry about this, your own drawing style will come out naturally as you draw more and more the way you like. It's not terrible to try to imitate Disney, Miyazaki, or anyone else, but it's also not terrible to just do things your way. Try everything. Your style will come out based on how you LIKE to draw.

After you're comfortable with flipbooks and what they call "straight-ahead animation," you'll be ready (and dying to) get an animation peg bar, hole punch, and a light table. Or you can skip this and go to the computer if you want. I think it's important not to start out on the computer, though, as it will make you think like a computer (solid shapes, motion in straight lines) and it will be tougher to learn to animate organically. You'll have put yourself on a path to being a great motion-graphics-designer, but a tough path for an animator.

Don't worry about sound yet. In a real studio you wouldn't be recording the sound anyway. Once you feel comfortable animating and ready to get into characters talking, take a few lines from a movie and animate different characters over it.

PM me if you want more details or have questions about any of it.

u/leandpoi · 2 pointsr/animation

Okay, first thing to know is that you're not alone. Animation is a pretty time-consuming and daunting skill to try and learn at first, but everyone has to start somewhere - and honestly, drawing skills aside, I think that animation is one of those things where with enough practice you can get the hang of fairly quickly.

I'm guessing you probably aren't out to hear the typical "just keep practicing and you'll get better" so I'll try and stray away from that.

Speaking as a current animation student, the best thing you can do for yourself is to view as many animations from skilled and professional animators as you can.
And I'm not talking just "watching" animations; Sit down and try and critically analyze a piece of animation. Find something where the movement is interesting to you and try and reverse engineer how that animator may have constructed that scene.
After sitting through a bunch of those, find animations from more amateur or beginner animators, could be of your own animations or someone else's. Compare and contrast between what makes these professional animations work and look good, and why these other ones just don't seem to match up.

I've also taken a look at some of your animations and I don't think they're totally awful. It's clear that you're making an effort to show movement and life in the characters, despite your minimal technical understanding.


So, educate yourself on the technical side of things.

Read up on the principles of animation, essentially the core rulebook many industry professionals follow when creating animations. Here is a video which has a pretty thorough look at each concept, and here is a considerably shorter summary of each principle with short examples.

The Animator's Survival Kit is one of the most popular books people recommend to people just starting out in animation - it lays out a lot of the key parts of the 12 principles in deeper detail and focuses a considerable amount of the book to timing and walk cycles.
Here's also a playlist to the book in, more or less, a simplified video form.

Some other books you might want to look into are Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair, and The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation by Frank Thomas.


As for the program you're using, I found that Adobe is one of the more simpler and intuitive platforms to use when first learning animation that's still considered an industry standard.
Pushing through and learning the program will help you considerably if/when you decide to move on to a more advanced program.

However, if the difficulty of the software is what's keeping you from animating, I'd recommend using flipbooks and indulging in more traditional forms of animation.
Not only will you be developing a skill in an area of animation not many people today seem to be very skilled in, but it'll keep you from being distracted by all the flashy buttons and options on some digital programs.


Hang in there man, and keep animating.

u/zythe84 · 2 pointsr/animation

I would highly recommend these books:

Cracking Animation by Aardman


Special Effects by Richard Rickett

The Aardman deals specifically with stop-motion animation and has lots of information about each part of the process. It is not really a how to manual per se, but offers a lot of useful information which will help you learn how things are done.

The second book deals will the entire scope of Hollywood special effects, but has a very cool section on miniatures and tons of techniques of how you can film them to make them look like they are a part of the scene.

You may also research building scale models in general. There is a lot of information not specifically relating to stop-motion that could be put to good use. I've found cool sites by architects, model train hobbyists, dollhouse makers which helped me a lot as they all are quite experienced in building scale models.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you find any cool resources. I'd love to check them out.

u/evilanimator1138 · 2 pointsr/animation

You have some good stuff going on here. There's already potential for strong body mechanics. Definitely keep at it and concentrate on spacing and timing. You've already been linked to a great book, though I'd also recommend Eric Goldberg's Character Animation Crash Course ( It's a really nice and more approachable book that will introduce you to the 12 animation principles as well as performance, which brings me to...

Performance. You're starting out and getting to know the process of animation, but it's never too early to start thinking about performance. There are early sprouts of this in your work, but it needs to be stronger. For example, your martial artist starts out kneeling and slowly gets up to perform his next action. That tells me he takes what he does seriously, but really not much else of substance. Your walk cycle tells me that the character is confident, which is a good start for a walk cycle as they're all too often very clinic looking. But again, there needs to be more. Your martial artist for example, might start out kneeling, look up, sigh, then slowly get up to perform their next action. This tells me the character not only takes what they do seriously, but that they've been at practicing for a long time and are tired and/or unsure if they'll be successful in their next attempt. That's a story right there in that little moment. Always ask yourself what the character you're animating is thinking. What is their motivation? How do they feel? It's been said that an animator is a shy actor. Your performance goes into the character whether they start as a drawing or a lifeless 3D rig so these are things to consider. You're already on your way to some awesome work because you're already using one of the strongest tools in an animator's arsenal: critiques. Keep it up and happy animating!

u/Dennis_88 · 1 pointr/animation

I don't think they would expect a lot of practical experience regarding animation from you, because they will teach you that, right? I got a illustration test at the animation college I attended, to create a comic.

However, if you want to start practising, a good one to start with is a bouncing ball. This will probably be one of the first examples you will get at that college. And if you want to have theoretical information, as well as examples, I can recommend the animators survival kit to you. It is the de facto book on animation, written by master animator Richard Williams, animation director on Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

The Illusion of Life is also a great animation book to start with. It is written bij Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two of Disney's best animators.

In terms of working in the animation industry, it can be difficult to get a steady job animating, but if it is your passion, it is very rewarding and great to do! Good luck!

u/Cptnwalrus · 1 pointr/animation

Honestly in this day and age you can very much just teach yourself animation, it all comes from practice.

Look up as many tuts as you can, and if your serious about animation GET THIS BOOK and any others like it. You just want to absorb as much knowledge as possible if you're going down this path.

And of course, animate! From little animations where you try to make a character jump smoothly to bigger ones that challenge everything you've learned. If you want to get into the industry I suggest Toonboom over Flash, not necessarily because one is better than the other (even though ToonBoom is widely considered better) but because that is the program almost all animation studios use.

Also, if you haven't done much with animating with frames and whatnot yet, try this program. it's free and simple, it really helps you get the basics of making smooth movements and whatnot without having to worry about your drawings being good. While you're looking for free
things, here's a bunch of other animation programs that are free, I still encourage you to purchase ToonBoom though.

Go out there and make us proud.

u/fluffkomix · 1 pointr/animation

Honestly it just comes down to how well you know the structure and functions of each aesthetic part of the body (meaning ignoring underlying invisible muscles). The more you understand anatomy and structure, the more you'll understand what the basic shape of each piece is, the easier and more effective it'll be to simplify it into an appealing shape. So googling anatomy and anatomy tutorials and Glenn Vilppu will go a long way with that!

Also, approaching it from a design point of view will help understand how to take those basic shapes of anatomy and make them appealing. Tom Bancroft has a great book on design that will help you out there. Mostly focus on negative/positive shape, appealing shapes, line of action/flow, and proportion and that'll take you a long way as well. Google design principles!

Finally, just look at your favorite artists and try and figure out what makes it so appealing. Experiment with their designs! If they have a character who's cute and you think it's because the eyes are big and the nose is small and the features are pushed down on the face, what if you moved the features higher up the face? What if the eyes were smaller? Nose bigger? Face wider? Etc etc, just experiment and be creative and try new things!

u/teoacosta · 1 pointr/animation

Hey, $100 is pretty tight but here is the best I could think up.

Tablet - $49

Adobe Flash 30 day free trial

The Animator's Survival kit - used $31.50

Total price: $80.50

If you find that you love animation, then that book will teach you everything you'll need. After the 30 day trial, you can look into other programs like ToomBoom, or paying the monthly fee for the Creative Cloud.


u/Chameo · 2 pointsr/animation

well, First off how new is new? are you familiar with the fundamentals of animation? any new animator should get this book, it is literally the bible when it comes to animation fundamentals, both 2d and 3d.

read this book cover to cover and keep it on hand. next you probably want to start learning programs, I'd suggest going for flash for 2d and Maya for 3d. Autodesk gives free 3 year trials for al their 3d programs (maya included) to anyone with a .edu email address. if you like doing 3d, there are many videos, that give you the basics of how to use the program (supplied by the developers) and a ton of video tutorials that people make on YouTube.

another fantastic resource is the 11 second club. in their forum section they have a ton of beginning level exercises and a plethora of extremely helpful members who are always available to help.

if you have any questions or need any more info, feel free to PM me or reply to my comment :)

u/Arch27 · 2 pointsr/animation

This is the blunt truth.

I went to an art school specifically for Computer Animation in the late 1990s. About a quarter of the students who started with me in the two-year program were gone in the first year. From the remainder, I knew of one person who left before graduation to go work for Capcom (the video game company, not the bank). Out of the people who were friends, NONE of us got a career in computer animation for one reason or another. (my reason was family - mom got cancer, hit a wall with my career and never recovered). One person I know from the program started her own company. I imagine she's doing well but I haven't talked to her since we graduated.

From friends in the class just before us (programs started every quarter), two people I knew went on to work in video game companies. One was a gifted artist, but he was in the illustration program - not animation. The other was an amazing traditional animator and 3D modeler. He was a prodigy. This stuff came as naturally to him as breathing. Some of our instructors were respectable names in the industry and they gushed over this guy's ability. Most other people got into another field like IT or Engineering.

Like they said above - never stop drawing. Study anatomy. Grab the Animator's Survival Kit. Study your subject. LIVE your subject.

There is still use for traditional animation - you just have to be good.

u/RobotTriceratops · 1 pointr/animation

Buy, download and study this book.

With 3D it's always exciting at first to play with render values and lighting, but no matter how pretty your renders look, if the animation is stiff, or the story doesn't make sense, then the animation is a failure. I would download a better rigged character as well. There are many out there that are pre rigged and will help to achieve better mobility and more realistic posing for animating.

Great first start, but work on your walk cycles, squash and stretch, gravity and timing. All of these are essential to achieving a successful animation. Also, the camera movements are just as important. Study and replicate (steal) some of your favourite films camera movements, learn from the masters. Keep it up!

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/animation

There are some great (free) programs for 2d Animation!

THey are working on a new version, but the old one was still plenty amazing (and probably more than sufficient to learn!)

As far as learning, the great resources always start with The Animators Survival Kit

And start with the basic principals! Bouncing balls, flour sacks, grass blowing in the wind! It seems lame, and like a waste of time, but really nailing down those principals first will help you immensely in the field of animation! This is a cool example of those principals!

Above all else, have fun!!!

u/CameronClarkFilm · 2 pointsr/animation

If you're already painting in photoshop, thats a great place to start animating!

Here's a great tutorial on workflow tips for animating in Photoshop, by a really talented animator named Alex Grigg:

I'd say play around for a bit just making things move around before getting into more technical animation training. Approach it like you would draw flip books in the corner of a textbook. Just make things move around and experiment. Once you've played around a bit, and gotten a feel for using photoshop to work across a timeline, I suggest checking out a book that is one of the standard textbooks for classical animation, "The Animator's Survival Toolkit," by Richard Williams (he was the animation director on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"). You can find it on amazon here:

Hope this helps!

u/jtbergs · 2 pointsr/animation

I'm not an animator, I took a couple courses on 2d and 3d animation in college and honestly, your work is better than what a lot of the students in my class had at the end of our first animation semester (and we had a pretty decent professor). You've got a lot of promise. If I were you, I'd buy a copy of The Animator's Survival Kit and keep at it.

Edit: should have read through the comments to see if someone else had already linked to the book but whatever, it's the best animation instruction book out there and I wish someone would have recommended it to me before i was in college haha.

u/itzker · 2 pointsr/animation

Ok, The best way I think there is to start off with is with Flash cs 5. It is easy to use and really fun once you get the hang of it. There are tons of tutorials out there for it too. I also recommend getting the books in the links below. They really helped me and I have been doing flash for almost a year now and love every piece of it. You can also start off with Stop Motion. It really gives you a sense of how frames work and timing works. Hope this helped!

u/brebal · 1 pointr/animation

I guess I'm referring to the rhythm of the movement. It seems to me like the characters travel a pretty consistent amount each frame - lingering more on the most important poses and easing in and out of the motion could help add some zip to things. /u/waffletoast also mentions anticipation and squash/stretch, which would help even more to exaggerate the fast motions in contrast with the slow ones. For a better breakdown of this terminology and lots of other useful info, I'd recommend a thorough reading of The Animator's Survival Kit!

u/thatbloodyguy · 4 pointsr/animation

download a program called monkeyjam if you want something free, it has a rudimentary stop-motion capability that works with most cameras.
don't worry about expensive equipment and software, those things aren't nearly as important as learning the basics and your tutors next year will be looking at the movement, not the image quality (provided you can actually see what's happening of course)

get this book:
it's very useful, and don't think that because you're doing stop-motion you don't need to know everything in it. I did a year of 2D animation to start with at uni, and only recently have I realised how much it helped me.
And I would say unless you're really interested in film-making (as opposed to being an animator or model-maker) then don't worry too much about editing at the moment. If you're set on making full films, then get yourself a copy Adobe After Effects and look up some tutorials online
Good luck with your portfolio! :)

u/Tehstan · 1 pointr/animation

If you're serious about getting into it then I can't recommend this book enough: The Animators Survival Kit but a good start would be Harry Partridges How to videos, they're a fantastic starter. I'd also recommend downloading the 30 free trial of Adobe Flash Professional as that's what Harry uses in his videos and is what I use to animate. Feel free to fire away with any other questions though!

u/DrewPetursson · 2 pointsr/animation

Knowledge of traditional effects animation like this is pretty hard to come by, so I'll start by apologizing because I don't know of anywhere online to learn this stuff.

The good news is that it's not too different from animating anything else, and a few years ago the first real textbook to get specific on the subject came out. Here's a couple of relevant pages to give you a sense of the thought process behind animating smoke effects:

I can't scan the whole book, but I can give you an amazon link in case this is the kind of thing you were looking for:

Aside from that, downloading the video in a format that allows for frame-by-frame scrubbing and then flipping through the relevant frames, (which is a good study habit when animating anything), would be a good way of dissecting the mechanics of this particular smoke.

I don't know if any of this is what you were looking for, but I hope it helps.

u/neverwhere86 · 3 pointsr/animation

You'll need to get the basics down, using resources such as these will help you learn the Principles of Animation:

Then there's software such as OpenToonz (2d) and Blender (3D) that are free open source options for you to put your work into practice. YouTube tutorials and trial and error are a great way to learn. If you can't figure something out, Google it.
Lastly, draw. A lot. Every day. is a great resource for reference images for anything from 10 second gesture sketches to full on concept poses.

Good luck!

u/Idoslain · 2 pointsr/animation

Blender is an animation program, but you could try using maya. Or if you want something easy and 2d maybe try Adobe Flash or photoshop, its an easy place to start.

Although if you really want to create natural and well made animation get this book, no animator should be without it.

u/howboutme · 2 pointsr/animation

There's basically two types of schools for character design for animation. There is the Preston Blair/Disney method where you simplify shapes. Then there is the DaVinci Machine/Skillful Huntsmen approach where you basically make random inkblots and fill out the rest of the character based off the strong lines that you see. Both give you a very strong silhouette. Both require going through many variations until you land on a strong design. Though without artistic skill you won't be pulling either off. Another side note, you may want to check r/design as well. Good graphic design generally also produces good character design regardless of the method you use.

Books to look for:

Preston Blair

Characters with Personality that is based off Preston Blair.

The Skillful Huntsman

Another book that utilizes the same DaVinci machine method.

Also you can find both approaches at The Gnomon Workshop with DVDs and web resources.

u/94CM · 1 pointr/animation

Better than what I expected for a first animation.
Keep up the work and continue experimenting.

If you REALLY are interested in animation (which you should be because I can see potential in you), you need this book. Every animator I know and have followed has it.

Feedback would be obviously balance your audio better and learn story structure (eventually). Here's a good summary.

EDIT: Remember. Progress > Perfection. As long as you are getting better, that's all that counts.

u/jsimone · 2 pointsr/animation

Understanding traditional arts will always help you no matter what because it helps develop an analytically eye. I would try to find places around your location that offer figure drawing sessions for like $20. Doing figure drawing sessions will help you come to a greater understanding about shape, form, weight, pose; All of those are extremely important to understand in animation. You don't have to draw well by any means (if your doing 3d), just develop your eye.

If you're not coming from an art background, I recommend reading 'Drawn to Life', 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brian' or 'Understanding Comics' as these will help change the way you think about art. They have to do a lot with Art Philosophy.

Understanding Comics: (a vastly underrated book)

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain:

Drawn to Life:

u/TheMoleman_ · 2 pointsr/animation

What type of animation interests you? The principles are generally all the same between all types of animation - which is great - but the actual act of creating the animation varies wildly.

Types of animation:

  • 3D computer animation (Maya, 3ds Max, Blender)
  • 2D digital (Flash/ToonBoom/TV Paint)
  • 2D traditional (pencil/paper)
  • Stop-motion

    I'm into 3D animation, so I could provide the most resources regarding that, but there are a couple things you could do to get started regardless of your preferred flavor of animation.

  1. Buy this book:
  2. Aaron Blaise, a classic Disney animator, offers a bunch of reasonably priced video tutorials. Plus he's having a sale now:
  3. Buy this book too:

    If you studied (and practiced) that stuff religiously, that's pretty much all you'd need to get a really solid launch into animation for pretty cheap.
u/hokku · 2 pointsr/animation

This is super awesome information, thanks a ton for sharing!

I'm an animation student at San Jose State and we're doing layout for a short film class right now. I've been studying up on Setting The Scene, but this post is ultra helpful too!


u/filosophikal · 2 pointsr/animation

When I ran a small animation shop, I NEVER even asked during interviews if they graduated from high school. I didn't care. It was all about what they could do. I will not get into detailed specifics as they vary significantly depending on what type of work you want to do.

On the animation side you will do well to study The Animator's Survival Kit.

If you are going to do more cartoon like animating, start practicing the implementation of the 12 principles of animation:

For more realistic character animation, you can start studying video reference resources designed to help animators duplicate natural motions of animals and people.

A super plus, not strictly necessary but gives you a serious edge, is to be very good with scripting. You can start learning Python (used in Maya, C4D, Blender, and others) or another language if your 3D software of choice uses something different. Scripting can be a great time saver and sometimes saves the day.

For animation or modelling as a profession, you need to get beyond the phase of knowing how to reproduce specific outcomes because of tutorials you learned. You need to be able to think on your feet and problem solve.

u/Tigeroovy · 1 pointr/animation

It may depend on where you live and how large the animation industry is there.

You're off to a pretty decent start. You've got a ways to go, but just keep practicing your drawing and you'll definitely get better.

Like others have said definitely get a copy of the Animators Survival Guide if you're planning on learning on your own.

I just recently got my first real animating job and I couldn't be happier.

u/zissoushope · 5 pointsr/animation

Spend at least 20 minutes a day doing "gestures." Websites like are incredible resources. You can't draw the human/animal form enough, even if 3D is where you'll work. Never ever miss a class and build a strong portfolio. Animation as an industry can be a meritocracy, so animate, draw everything all the time.

You can do this. Source: went to school for animation and have incredibly successful friends working as animators. (I, myself am an illustrator.)

Also, get yourself this book:

u/Yung__Buck · 4 pointsr/animation

Getting good at drawing is like getting in shape: sadly there's no easy way to do it other than to be disciplined and work hard at it every day. Enroll in a figure drawing class. Ask friends to sit for you for 2/5/10/20 minute poses. Draw from life as much as possible, anywhere. Go to a cafe and do a big panoramic spread of the whole room. Go to an art store and buy a bunch of different drawing materials; don't just draw with pencil. Get some pens, force yourself to draw without an eraser. Look at the masters like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Ingres or contemporary artists like Alex Katz and David Hockney. Look at what techniques they're using with their figures, what kind of lines, how do they render volume. Copy from them and steal from them. Pick a new artist every week and try out drawing like them. The most important thing: draw all the time, draw everything you see. You won't get better unless you do it all the time. If you keep it up for even six months, you'll notice a big change, and it will make jumping into animation much easier (you'll know how to do perspective, pose characters, rotates volumes in your head, etc).

Here are a couple of animation specific drawing books that you might find useful/inspiring: Drawn to Life // The Animators Survival Kit (mostly an animation book, but opens with a great chapter about drawing)

u/SambonerHamboner · 1 pointr/animation

Bouncing ball is a fantastic way to start.

these two books are the most common in schools and might be good overview:

Beyond that I would practice becoming a good draftsmen, knowing how to draw basics will make it drastically easier to learn animation

u/steeenah · 7 pointsr/animation

Awesome! Tell your parents you want this book for christmas, it's awesome for newbie animators. :) It's also got a few frog animations!

u/inkibot · 4 pointsr/animation

The Animator's Survival Kit was THE book to get as far as learning animation basics was concerned. There're lots of other books out there now, but this book is a good start. I'd also suggest checking out YouTube for more specific and/or up-to-date information. Things like this, this and this are a couple examples of a few things that I found with a cursory search.

Other than that, the best way to learn how is to do. Animate bad things, critique yourself, do it again and fix what you've critiqued, and ask people for critiques when you're having a tough time seeing things to improve upon.

u/TheAnimStation · 1 pointr/animation

This is great lol. It reminds me of my first attempts at animation!

If you've got the bug, a few good resources!

Some stuff to get you started, and some resources to keep learning!

u/calebros · 11 pointsr/animation

In addition to what the others said, if you're unaware of this book:

Look into getting it. Will be the best thing you can get to help you learn how to animate. In order to get better, I would suggest just doing a pass of copying what he has done and seeing if you can then modify it. I use this book all the time still.

For example, I had to animate a dog walking and I very rarely do creature work. Followed his break downs and was able to get a good looking dog.

u/blinnlambert · 2 pointsr/animation

A Light Box is a relatively inexpensive one. The link for that one is above your $30 limit but lots of craft stores have holiday coupons. I bought a large light box from Hobby Lobby for only $40 that was usually $90.

Books are also good gifts that might fit your price range. here are my 2 favs (the Used versions are under $30):

The Illusion of Life

The Animator's Survival Kit

u/MahaMarr · 2 pointsr/animation

Oh awesome! That's sick!

Alright, so this process involves animating these frames in Photoshop, and adjusting the overall motion path and size in After Effects. Everyone goes through their process differently, so first overall, I'd say get to know what tools you have at your disposal, and how you can use them individually and with each other.

My process involved blocking out the basic positions and timing of my key frames, from point A (the jaw being wide open), to point B (where it chomps down closed). From there it was just roughing out that inbetween to figure out how to get the most out of this motion. After messing around with it a little bit, here's what I initially roughed out.

After that, I brought that rough comp into After Effects to get the basic motion and scaling down, brought that back into Photoshop, and built it out some more, accentuating the timing and motion, building out better inbetweens, all that junk. Basically, just messed around with it until I got what you see here.

Honestly, best advice I could give you is to just mess around and experiment, see what you can make. Observe things, see how things move in the real world and examine/analyze them. Check out tutorials online about animation — one of my go-to's is Alex Grigg's tutorial on animating in Photoshop. I had no idea how people could animate in PS without losing their minds animating with the basic frame-from-layer setup Photoshop initially has. Learn more about the principles of motion and animation, The Animator's Survival Kit is fantastic for that.

So yeah, that's my advice. It'll take some time, but you'll get it. Hope this helps!

u/DarkOnyx7 · 2 pointsr/animation

You might have heard this from people already but Richard William's book The Animator's Survival Kit is an amazing resource for learning for both 2D and 3D. He covers the principles of animation and provides many examples that really help you understand what he is talking about.

u/moookuo · 1 pointr/animation

For books animation survival kit by Richard Williams is a must. (Most of the teachers in my classes would suggest that.)

Animation is all about practice and patience. The more you spend time on it, the better you get. For beginners, I'd suggest u try animate shapes or abstract things (and do play with colors)! It's easier and you can see the result a lot faster too. I know a lot of people will tell you to do the bouncing ball or walk cycle practice. I think those practices only make people realize how tedious and time consuming animation is, and people tend to give up and say they hate animating.. Animation has so much potential, it's not just making your favorite character move😂

Also Stop motion is also a fun way if you are not confident on drawing.

u/Aramea · 3 pointsr/animation

This is a pretty great book on the subject, if you have the spare cash and time:[here] (

As far as the behavior of the water, I'd take a gander at videos of waves, choppy water, things like that for references. Unfortunately I don't have any good tutorials on hand.

u/jessaroony · 11 pointsr/animation

i would start with this book. its so amazing for giving you the foundation you need as an animator. I would also try out literature because its essential with story telling. you could be a great animation artist but its all the small perks to look out for that make a piece beautiful.

u/skellener · 1 pointr/animation

Awesome! I would also recommend this book if you are interested in layout.
Setting the Scene: The Art & Evolution of Animation Layout
by Fraser Maclean

u/PXLMNSTR · 1 pointr/animation

Unless you're going to be working at really extreme resolutions and doing some really heavy-duty work, you don't really need something like a macbook pro. Any decent laptop with a good amount of ram (8+ gb seems ideal) should do you just fine. There are some cheap tablets that I've heard are really good (for example, [monoprice] ( If you don't want that, I've heard the [Yiynova MSP19U] ( is decent without costing nearly as much as a cintiq.

u/tiaphoto · 3 pointsr/animation

Amazing list! All of these are essential. These are also my favorites for animation:

Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators (Force Drawing Series)

Timing for Animation

Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life

Bridgman's was a must for me when it came to learning anatomy.

u/raceover · 3 pointsr/animation

I'm pretty new myself, but after reading this I felt I learned more about these concepts in a week than I had after years on my own:
I guess it's pretty much a classic, but having no animator friends or contacts I had no one to point out the must-haves until I stumbled across this subreddit. One of those wish-I-knew-years-ago things. Arcs, motion ease, all that stuff is covered in that book.

u/mcs80 · 2 pointsr/animation

First, I think a 12F port-a-disc, some 12F paper, and a pack of col-erase pencils would make a good starter set for about what you're looking to spend. Just be sure the holes on the paper match the pegbar on the disc. Check out

Next, something I've been looking into is the Don Bluth DVD tutorial series. What I've seen on youtube looks really solid, and informative (9 DVDs for $155):

Finally, a personal favorite - Walt Stanchfield's Draw to Life (2 volumes of notes from his Disney master classes):

u/burningeraph · 1 pointr/animation

It takes a pretty good amount of time to do a minute long video. I was thinking you were looking along the lines of a few assignments. You might want to check out Animators Survival Kit it's the Bible of animation. It may be more realistic to have them learn about bouncing balls and to do a walk.

edit: Sorry I'm not sure of any free iPad apps that you can do animation with.

u/Celot · 1 pointr/animation

How much are you looking to spend? There's a lovely Disney Snow White book that she may not have in the $20 range and a Sleeping Beauty one from France in the $100 range.

This would probably make her day. It's a flip book of the pencil drawings from some classic scenes. I know there's dinos from fantasia and elephants from Jungle Book in addition to the ones you see there. Each book is a baby hardcover.

Edit: Or if she prefers WB...

u/EvanescentDoe · 1 pointr/animation

10/10 Recommend getting Creating Characters with Personality and Character Mentor. To be fair, I’m biased because my professor wrote them, but they’re great references and Tom is the best.

u/doodydoodoo · 1 pointr/animation

After a little search this is what I found:

Yiynova MSP19U is $479.00.

The Cheapest cintiq(Cintiq 13 HD) is $799.95.

Ive never used the Yiynova brand before so I cant say if its good or not. You would have to trust the reviews. As for Wacom Cintiqs. Theyre worth the price!

u/mynameisbutt · 2 pointsr/animation

It does take a little while to get used to, and using a bigger tablet does help with this. Look on the wacom site to compare specs for the different bamboo tablets. One of them is touch sensitive which, while its really cool, isn't necessary for drawing. I used one for a year while I was working at sesame street since they didn't offer tablets to their freelancers and it worked well enough for me. You could also peruse ebay or craigslist to see if you can score a cheap Intuos tablet.

Someday if you'd really really like to upgrade to something along the lines of a cintiq so it feels like you're drawing on paper but don't want to pay $2500, this is a good alternative. They say the sensitivity is slightly different but I doubt its significantly noticeable, and the price tag definitely makes up for that.

u/TheCigarMan · 2 pointsr/animation

Read, read, read!

Tom Bancroft's "Creating Characters"

Richard Williams' "Animator Survival Kit"

That should be a good place to start! And it never hurts to trace. That's how I learn.

u/gagaan · 2 pointsr/animation

Hi, sorry did not see your question.

A video tutorial

Also "Animators survival kit" is a pretty nice book to start with.

u/attackshark · 2 pointsr/animation

i would recommend not starting at all. it's a time consuming, tedious, infuriating process which you will spend 1000x more hours working on than anyone will every spend enjoying it.

if that statement does not dissuade you, then you should read up on [this quintessential tool for anyone looking to animate.] (

i was trained in maya, so i'm biased when i say maya is a good place to start in 3D. to possibly offset the time spent learning the damned thing, they will give you free, (semi) unlimited access to their latest version via student license. maya never, ever, ever works the way it's supposed to and you will never master it; you will only decrease the number of times it crashes per session as you get better.

if you want to animate in 2D, got get yourself a sketch book and then never stop drawing. observational drawing. figure drawing. drawing from your imagination. drawing drawings. draw everything all the time and don't stop for any reason. burn through a sketch book a week. draw yourself drawing. draw yourself drawing a bad version of yourself. draw until the word has no more meaning.

then one day you will metamorphosis into a beautiful, starving animator. and then you will die because you are starving.

good luck.

u/Liquid77 · 1 pointr/animation

I HIGHLY recommend getting The Animator's Survival Kit, by Richard Williams.

And practicing some of the stuff in there. Know that animation isn't just about drawing a picture, and then drawing a picture with it moving. If you want it to be good, you have to give things weight, move in arcs, and a whole bunch of other things to consider. Usually people draw the key frames, then do the breakdowns in the middle. Then they go through and draw the in betweens. This all has to be in good timing. Solid drawing is one thing, but when it comes to animation timing is key!

u/Ampsnotvolts · 1 pointr/animation

Just get a tablet and jump in with Photoshop & Illustrator. In conjunction with After Effects, you have all you need to make animations.

If you have Photoshop extended, create some blank video layers and just start animating! It is very easy.

Buy this book and do some self taught lessons

PM if you need a tutor or further instructions.

u/nothas · 5 pointsr/animation

It's a shame that they didn't include Eric Goldberg's Character Animation Crash Course

the book itself isnt huge, but the level of information in there is so dense and awesome to glance through whenever.

u/TruthSeekerHero · 1 pointr/animation

Animation is a tricky process. I read several books to help me out but The Animators Survival Kit by Richadd William literally broke it down for me. Even though William's style is with classic animation like old Disney movies and cartoon, the concepts still applies. I highly recommend it

The Animator's Survival Kit

u/zando95 · 1 pointr/animation

This book is fantastic, and gives the fundamentals you can use in any animation medium.

u/toxicvarn90 · 1 pointr/animation

Some days I wish The Thief and the Cobbler was actually finished instead of being released as fan-made bootlegs.

For anyone who is interested in animating, I recommend his book.

u/StressCavity · 6 pointsr/animation

While your end goal might be cartoons, you will HAVE to learn to draw realistically to some extent. No way would you be able to animate anything in perspective otherwise, understand lighting, or know how to composite complex scenes. There are fundamentals that you must understand that are key to 2D animation, regardless of art style, which should be continuously worked on alongside your stylistic development.


Simple book on perspective

My favorite anatomy book

A pretty simple book on light (More pictures/examples than in-depth detail)

Overall beginners drawing book

This covers light/shadow and materials decently for beginners

I personally think you should focus on fundamentals alone until you have a decent grasp before looking at animation. But if you want to learn concurrently, this book is pretty well-known in the industry: LINK

There's tons more, but I already think this might be too much to take in all at once. Discover for yourself the rest, it's not good to have everything handed to you with fundamentals, gotta reign it in personally.

u/bencanfield · 1 pointr/animation

I went to school for Animation. Are you interested in 2D or 3D?

First piece of advice either way: learn to draw. You'll obviously need it for 2D animation, and in 3D animation it will help you flesh out ideas quickly.

The book below is great for animation principals that apply to any sort of animation.

Get this $15 dollar book and read it.

If you're really interested get this $1000 DVD series. Still way cheaper than college.

The stuff above is mostly character animation. A lot of (TV) anime is effects driven. Try both. Check out or

See if you can do that stuff and you're already on your way to becoming an animator.

Also - if you're interested in 3D, you'll still want to play with 2D for awhile to learn the basics. 3D can be unnecessarily overwhelming technically at first. You'll see results quicker with 2D.

EDIT: Also also - check out this $12 video lecture drawing series.

And check your town for open figure drawing sessions, or community art classes. It might be called an "atelier" if it's real fancy. Even those are cheaper than college.

EDIT EDIT: Check out John K's blog. He's kind of an asshole, but he knows his shit.

u/_OnlyNiceThings · 2 pointsr/animation

You can learn how to animate with books, videos, or through school depending on your age, income, etc.

The late Richard Williams' "The Animator's Survival Kit" is the bible for all animation students, my fellow classmates and I all had copies when we were in college.

This would be a good place to start.

u/jayisforjelly · 1 pointr/animation

If you haven't seen these, this series is incredible

The book is one of my most used resources too!

Just keep animating every chance you get!! :D

u/I_am_from_2160 · 2 pointsr/animation

I would recommend elemental magic
And the bitey castle guy has a good video series

The primary problem I see here is the water has no bounce to it, it hits the floor and spreads out.

If the water impacts it would bounce at an angle away from the source.

The actual fluid dynamics of getting strings and sheets to break into beads of water is secondary to getting the overall shape right.
Water cannot compress, it's volume stays the same. But every single point should follow a parabolic curve like a regular bouncing ball.
(Aside from surface tension and air resistance)

u/a-dash · 1 pointr/animation

This is also a great book for gestural/figure drawing. It wants you to exaggerate the form but base your caricature in a full knowledge of the form. Whenever I feel as though I'm not pushing my perspectives or shapes far enough I pull this book out.


About your portfolio, I have nothing to add that has been mentioned already, just that, from looking at what you have posted on your site, you seem to be developing toward a really defined style. It's just a matter of practice til you get there. Keep it up! I started studying animation in an MFA program when I was 27.

u/aflarge · 1 pointr/animation

It's certainly neat, and I like it, but I agree with howboutme; it's not really showcasing any of the principles of animation, or detail(although I fully realize that the ultra-simplistic characters are intentional for the look you were going for)

I'd show you my reel, but it's from 2007, and frankly I'm ashamed it still exists :P

I actually bought this book even before going to college..and it ended up being one of the ones used for a course :P

u/ShenaniganNinja · 7 pointsr/animation

Cool little experiment. Animating can be a lot of fun. If you're at all serious about animation, I cannot recommend The Animators Survival Kit enough. It was a book that was required for my animation classes in college, and I still use it to this day.

If you have any questions about animation, I only have a degree and 2 years of work experience, but I can give you some pointers.

u/un-sub · 2 pointsr/animation

The only thing that is animated are the limbs rotating. Just kinda looks like a mechanical cutout. Knees, elbows, ankles, feet, wrists, hands, torso, head, etc all move in a walk cycle. I would go out and purchase "The Animators Survival Kit" by Richard Williams and try to draw a walk cycle frame by frame, I think you will learn a lot through this book and lots and lots of practice. Keep at it, though.

u/DrewNumberTwo · 2 pointsr/animation

Get him [this] ( which is full of this. Flash works well as a 2d animation program and is used by professionals.

u/BruteForceMonteCarlo · 1 pointr/animation

I only realised what I wanted to do when I was 24 (Which was 3D Animation). I was rejected from 3 masters programs in 3D Animation, and then took up IAnimate last January. Since then I have worked on several paid projects, and am hoping to land my first full time industry gig soon. I did exactly what the other comments here recommended before joining IAnimate. Did some gesture drawing classes, and bought these books (1 2 3)

If you really want to do it, you will make it work. You absolutely will find a way.

u/intisun · 5 pointsr/animation

This. For reading material, Richard Williams' The Animator's Survival Kit is a must.

u/manbot0000 · 1 pointr/animation

You could use the book. Other than that I don't know. If you bought it once you should be able to download it again to a new device, but I don't know if its Apple only.

u/shraga84 · 1 pointr/animation
that one's good. i took two semesters with the author, really great man.

and then this one's kind of shitty as a work of literature/journalism, but it's a great window into the non-mainstream community.

oh, and, no - i would advise against getting the "Cartoons" book you mentioned. really disappointing.

u/ToeBiscuit · 1 pointr/animation

The newest version of Procreate has animation capabilities. Learning how to use it should give you a firm understanding of frames, onion-skinning, holding frames, etc. It's amazingly cheap, and it's an incredible drawing/painting app.

Richard Williams' "Animator Survival Kit" is the go-to bible. It may even be considered Old School, but I don't know of any serious animator who doesn't own at least one copy.

u/luccebest1 · 2 pointsr/animation

If you want to learn animation you can watch The 12 Principles of Animation (made by Disney animators)


or read The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams.


Tough I dont know that much about animation hardware maybe this guy does


u/SketchyBones · 2 pointsr/animation
  1. Whatever size you are comfortable with and fits your budget, really. Do you have plenty of cash, and are you doing a lot of detailed puppet design and motion? Then go as big as you'd like. Are you trying to keep things simple and cheap? Keep things relatively small (6-8 inches, but if you've got delicate craftsmanship you can make even smaller puppets). Some pre-made armature kits have set scales of puppet sizes for their product lines, but if you're making everything from scratch, the scale is up to you.

  2. Best cheap/affordable material: aluminum wire and plasticine (oil based) clay (I would avoid has a sort of frustrating "crumbly" effect at the worst times). Easy to order from many art/craft suppliers, and is one of the more common combinations. If you want to make human characters with cloth clothes, you should research foam latex for the flesh parts of your characters. Clay and cloth would get messy. How you want to animate will help dictate your material. Is there talking/expression changes? For clay that means re-sculpting each change or replacement pieces. For things like foam latex and other more permanent mediums, you are only left with replacement parts unless you're a wizard and can make detailed facial armatures for expression changes. =\

  3. This, [this,] (, and anything you can get your hands on via googling techniques and forums, really.

  4. I am so far from Amsterdam it hurts. ;)
u/Vladzy · 6 pointsr/animation

I would suggest you read Stop Staring. There is a good advice at the start of the book.
Before you start to animate the lips, animate the movement of the head as though she's speaking, but her lips are closed or she has duct tape over her mouth and trying to communicate something to you.
In short, you need better head movement which tells me you didin't do much of lipsyncing before.

The blink is not warranted when people speak, especially when the person is being passive agressive. It's usually done in between sentences, and it also helps to express the meaning of the overall speech. So if the person is being patient in a tense situation, he/she might take a long pause with a long blink between two sentences as a segue.

Blinking while speaking (opening the mouth) suggest the person is crazy, very scared or can't handle the stress.

Eyebrows are also a tool of communication as the character is exaggerating words. Otherwise, they are very subtle.

And never forget KISS. The "Keep It Simple, Stupid" rule. Don't overthink.

Movement one (Rotate head up(or to the side) slowly(<anticipation), Move head forward and rotate down) - Could you(<anticipation) please.

Overlapping between two actions (Faster rotation down and hold) - Stop.(eyebrows exaggerate - shes very aggressive here)

Movement two (Move the head back, continue to slightly rotate towards the neck) - With your iPod.

Act it out in front of a mirror. Animating is essentialy acting, don't forget that.
Animate in steps. 1st The head. 2nd The eyebrows. 3rd Blink/Open eyelids more. 4th Lips.