The Blender Pipeline: Animation

The Blender Pipeline is back! This time I’m here to talk about Animation! This post will be reasonably short, mainly because I’ve talked about many of the basic things needed to know about Animation.

But I do have these FIVE little tips that applies to both 3D and 2D animation. So first off…

1. Start with the pencil and paper – This seems sort of obvious for 2D animation,  but surprisingly this is still applicable to 3D animation.

When starting off an animation,  always jot down little thumbnail sketches of the main poses on a small peace of paper. This will help you visualize your animation and organize your workflow. These drawings don’t have to be perfect, as long as you understand them.

You can use video reference instead of drawings if you would prefer that instead.

2. Silhouetting – When you pose your character,  take note of the character’s silhouette. Just by looking at the black, shadowy figure you should be able to make out what the character is doing.

If you can’t tell the action, change camera angle or rotate the character. Do anything that will make sure the audience understands the character’s action.

3. Lip Synchronization – This is a pretty hard step in animation.  But I’ve seen it pulled off flawlessly.  Bad lip synching comes from shaping each sound in the dialogue. We don’t want that. This makes the character’s mouth look chattery. Humans don’t articulate each syllable when they speak, they flow smoothly, slurring the unimportant sounds.

4. Curve Editor – Like I mentioned before in a past post, animation works in curves, or else it looks too robotic. That is not how people move. Even the sharpest of turns has some sort of a curve to it.

When you animate in Blender,  you must have Bezier Curves enabled. Work in the curve editor and smooth out the sharp angles. It will bring more life to the character.

5. Step Away – What does that mean? It means that when working on a long animation, take some time to step away from it for a week or so. Go outside,  talk with friends, or even do some schoolwork. Do anything to get away from it. When you come back, you will have a fresh pair of eyes. You can notice things you did not notice before.

I did an animation a couple weeks ago, and came back to it now noticing so many mistakes and wrong moves.

Always take time away from your animation. It will do you some good.

That’s about it! I hope you learned something out of this. See you later, Animators!

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