Search form

Exercises to do help with speed and accuracy?

13 posts / 0 new
Last post
Exercises to do help with speed and accuracy?

So I'm a pretty decent artist, and sketch fairly quickly spending a lot of time watching people and animals. But I still feel when I sit down to animation frames I am too sloppy and slow in my drawing. What are some good ways to really speed up my drawing so I can actually begin to compete with the pros? I know more life drawing classes are a must, which I'm doing, but anything else I can do?

killswitch99's picture
"Why talk when you can paint?" -Milton Avery

"Why talk when you can paint?" -Milton Avery

Welcome to the AWN Forums killswitch99.

Aim for quality first. Studios won't care that you can animate 5 minutes a week if it all looks like crap. Work on your quality, and speed will come with time and practice. Also focus on making your golden and key poses rock solid and clear. These are your main story telling frames and the base of your animation. When these drawings are nailed down, move on to your break down poses, then the inbetweens. Breaking things down into smaller, manageable chunks will clear things up and you won't feel so over whelmed by the task at hand.

the Ape

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

Thanks, that's great advice. You are right, with accuracy comes speed. I have that terrible habit of sketching and drawing with a zillion lines and I watch great animators just put it down straight and clean. It pretty much infuriates me (in a good way!) so that's where I want to get myself to.

"Why talk when you can paint?" -Milton Avery

...I watch great animators just put it down straight and clean.

Which animators do that?

the Ape

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

Glen Keane doesn't:

Which animators do that?

the Ape

I have seen some Cartoon Network guys do some pretty clean and fast drawings. They were doing it for one of those behind the scenes they put inbetween shows.

I had a teacher that could draw just about anything in 5 to 10 strokes. using only hard wide strokes. he drew the same way he painted, he was an accomplished painter. whenever he would draw with a pencil, marker, pen whatever. he would attack it like he was delivering a killing blow with every stroke. there was no uncertainty in any of his strokes

he is the only person I have seen draw with so much force and confidence. it was always a flat out aggressive act

I went to a Nik Ranieri talk last night and he was showing us some
of his animation tests from Disney. He showed us a test of Cuzco(?)
doing his little (awesome) 'i'm cool' dance that plays at the beginning
of Emperor's New Groove. His first pass was done with a stick figure.

This guy started at Disney on Little Mermaid (and worked on Roger Rabbit
before that).

There's some quote from Milt Kahl somewhere
saying how he labored over his stuff to make it presentable.

But with that said...if you've drawn a character hundreds (thousands?) of
times, you're probably going to be able to get the basic character out on
paper in a short period of time.

So yeah.
I agree with Animated Ape. :)

Keep in mind that you can't generally go by what 'Art of'-books or 'Making ofs' try to sell us as 'rough animation' - those stills are usually tied-down second or third passes (or rough inbetweeners' work) and they tend to only print samples of animators who tie their drawings down pretty on model already.
I usually try to work 'on model' during my second passes myself (it is only TV animation, after all), but especially when there's a lot of general motion, follow-through and overlap in a scene, working very roughly just to flesh out the main action will save a LOT of work afterwards. It's much easier to fundamentally change thumbnails and loose sketches than trying to shoehorn big changes into accurate constructions.

It never fails to surprise me that people cannot see the connect between life drawing and animation keys.

Remember those warm-up sketches most life-drawing classes have you do--the 30 second gestures? The ones where you put down JUST the gesture?

Uh-huh, that's the secret right there.

My advice is when ruffing animation, forget about the volumes, forget about the details.......just get the timing down FIRST, with gestural drawing.
Once you have timing that works with your scribbles, THEN go back and assign volumes and details. If a gesture is only taking you 30 seconds to pull off ( as it should) then doing the series of keys need to flesh out an action will take little time at all. You can, with practice, ruff out a 100 key-pose scene in an hour.

If you are doing fairly tight ruff keys then you are doing it wrong and wasting your time.. That is called "falling in love with the drawings".

Remember, always........that keys are meant to be discarded if they do not work--why invest time in doing a fussy tight drawing if you are not sure its going fit the action and timing required?

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Well Glen Keane's work is still tighter than mine. I see what you guys are saying though. Work rough, get the actions down, then do a second or third pass to get things clean.

And Ken, yes, I absolutely love doing the 30 second exercises. I definitely see the correlation between those and animation and am actually taking a class next semester where the focus is more on that. Actually all I'm doing next semester is just life drawing, I feel like I lost sight of the basics.

You guys give good answers and good discussions, thanks!

"Why talk when you can paint?" -Milton Avery

Well Glen Keane's work is still tighter than mine.

Don't worry - have a close look at the drawing. It's a second pass. Those blue lines were probably what Keane produced going into the scene. Severely reduced anatomy, the bare minimum to make the motion recognisable.

Of course, practice will make you more confident and faster. With a bit of an eye for animation you'll be able to estimate the cleaned-up result of professional animation even in its earliest stages.

Edit: You may find these illuminating.

Illuminated, check. Youtube is getting better everyday :D

"Why talk when you can paint?" -Milton Avery