CG Animation to Traditional Animation: Making the Change

I finally got into traditional animation after getting a peg bar and a butt-ton of animation paper. The first things I did when I got the paper were walk cycles. Walk cycles are very difficult to master in traditional animation. In CG, it’s very simple and easy to animate, but when it comes to traditional pencil and paper, things get tricky.

The biggest challenge when shifting from an all CG workflow to an all traditional workflow is posing. As I’ve mentioned in my last animation tips post, I explained how much posing contributes to the scene; how the character feels, where it resides in space, how heavy it is, etc. When posing in CG, all you had to do was maneuver the rig. It was like posing a puppet. In traditional, it’s all done from scratch. You have to worry about making sure the pose is perfect, all while making sure the volumes stay the same.

Another thing I had to get used to was inbetweening. In CG, inbetweens were created for you. In traditional, the inbetween job was usually given to a less-experienced assistant, which is basically the same. Sadly, I don’t have an assistant. I have to inbetween everything. Each. And. Every. Frame. Tedious? Yes. Worth it? Sort of.

You see, inbetweens can make your animation shine or burn it to the ground. One tiny mistake can mess up the course of your animation. The viewer may not see that one frame with the tiny misplaced line, but they will certainly feel it. Audiences are just so good at that kind of thing.

The walk cycle above is not an original design. It’s taken from The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams (which is a phenomenal book for those who want to get into animation). This is a walk that, in my opinion, is the absolute fundamental of animated walks. I just really like the personality in the walk, as well as its technical aspects. It was just such a great walk to study from.

Am I going to animate traditionally more? Most likely. Am I never going to CG animate again? Definitely not. As I’ve said before, animation is animation, no matter how you do it. I just really like traditionally animating. It’s fun.

See you later, Animators!


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