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Starting off

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Starting off

I've been searching the net for some sites to learn a bit of animation before I hit University, and bought a book on the theory and fundamentals at a library. That was a couple months ago, but I still don't know what I should start with. I'm going to try the bouncing ball first, and maybe a walking stick guy, but I don't know what programs to use. I've seen some flash work, but will that work with my sketches? How would I basically use the program for that, too?

In my opinion, bouncing balls and walk cycles are a waste of time, and I don't care if I ever see another one again.
I suggest you think of something you want to animate and try it. If it doesn't work, getting it to work will be your exercise.

Wow - I couldn't disagree more. Bouncing balls and walk cycles teach the fundamentals of animation that all your future work will be based on.

Yes, you could just jump in and animate something. But that's akin to trying to build a car engine without knowing what each part is supposed to do, or even where to install it. You might get lucky and get the thing to run, but your odds are much greater that it won't. And even if it does run, you wouldn't know why it's working, so your odds of repeating your success are slim.

That said, it's your career. Go at it however you see fit.

You want to animate things?

Watch, draw. Repeat that formula and you will do well.

...and. The walkin cycles are VERY IMPORTANT! if you can`t do a walking cycle right, do something else. Much people give up with it and lie to themselves saying that they don`t need it. and animate much easier things.
you do the walking cycle my friend!!


PD: sry for the bad english. i`m from argentina

ok, DSB sayd it one second before me.. jeee!

Hi Tod, and welcome to the AWN Forums. It sounds like you are just starting out at animation so start off slowly and learn the basics. This will save you fustration and agrivation later on when you start animating more complex things like multiple characters doing backflips away from camera at a 3/4 angle with long flowing robes underwater. :p Start with bouncing ball exercises. Play with the timing and spacing of the ball. Change it up. Make the ball a basketball, a bowling ball, a rubber playground ball, a beach ball. These all act and react differently and need to be animated differently.

Pick up the animation books by Preston Blair, "Catoon Animation" and by Tony White, "The Animator's Workbook." They start off with simple exercises for the beginer which everyone starting out in any type on animation should do and get good at befor moving on to more complicated exercises. I wouldn't recomend getting Richard William's book, "The Animator's Survival Kit" just yet. That book is more suited for intermediate animators and above after they've gotten a solid grip on the basics. Not that I'm advanced, but I still have a hard time getting some of his concepts.

With Flash you can either draw on paper and scan them in or you can draw directly in Flash using the brush or pencil tool. You don't have to get into symbols and such at this point, just losely sketch your animation out frame by frame. Remember to set you frame rate at 24 frames a second. I think by default it's set at 12. When you're done, you can export your animation out as an .avi, Quicktime, or swf file to see how it looks. It's like a quick digital version of an old pencil test machine. If it's too fast or too slow, you can then go back in and add or delete frames or drawings. It's pretty simple. Go check out Internalcow, Pascal or some of my animation in the "Show and Tell" forums.

Good luck and welcome.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

i just want to say its quite fascinating that people come out from different respects of things and want to learn how to animate.
there is a bunch of guys here who will give you solid advice.
all ill say is good luck.

I never associated a bouncing ball with Disney as much as I did "A simple mass that is the most minimal thing you could possibly manipulate to understand motion and forces as they regard an object"...

That said, and steering it closer to topic, I also try to not bite off more than I can chew, monetarily. Flash is an AWESOME pencil tester in my own personal experience, but it is also very powerful and capable of much more than what you need it for. Why not use your favorite online OR real-world drawing tool and try something like MonkeyJam to assemble the images? Last I heard it's still free and my own experience with it was pretty nice. It even captures straight from webcams and (I believe) scanners.

I'm in the same boat, Tod. Outside of some claymation and flipbooks in my teens, I haven't animated a thing. But, I'm going to Vancouver Film School for animation this August, so I'd like to be able to create the illusion that I know what I'm doing by then. I'm really glad you started this thread so I wouldn't have to.

I'm going to start with some animatics-- which are like two to four frame a second animations, and keep my figures pretty simple until I get what I want, then I'll redo it with the in-between frames. I'll keep my pencils at construction line/manikin level until I like the way things are moving. I guess I'll use a scanner and import into Flash via photoshop.

Questions: What version of Flash should I get? Also, I'm planning on just sort of matting my subject onto a moving background in Photoshop, then flattening the image for Flash. Is this the best way?

DrSpecter. i think that the bes thing for you to do is to learn the basis of flash (you can get any version, for a begginer they are the same). Then, do not scan drawings... do it with your mouse. Test the ball bouncing, some walking cycle and so on. Simple things (not so much the walking of course), you should learn animation more than drawing now, so you can get to the university with that. And, i`m assuming you can draw.
With flash you will be able to experiment with animation quickly. Timing, spacing, etc.
Get the flash and get to work. You`ll find it`s a wonderfull tool.


Thanks for the feedback guys. Well in truth, I did get Richard William's "Survival Kit" book, since it was the only one on the subject in the Chapters bookstore I went to, and that was with reluctance, thinking It wasn't material for a beginner. Luckily, It's pure theory and mechanics, which was what I was looking for. I've spent months searching the net for info on animation, and usually found the kind of introductory summary you'd get in an elementary report. Nothing really to learn from. I've spent some years learning about the human (and some animal) figure and muscle shape purely to sketch awsome pics and stuff. Now I'm memorizing all the basics, like easing in and out with leg and heel arcs in conjunction with the rest of the body and so on...I'll try the pencil tests with flash, and upload some of my sketches when I scan them. Thanks again.


Todd, I'm new too. I'm going to try th ball exercise and then a simple walk cicle. I'll post them when they're finished. Keep in touch on how your doing. I think it would be great to learn with others on the same starting point.