Lesson 1 - Animation Tools and Basic Inbetweening
Congratulations on joining the Pomeroy Art Academy! We are so excited to have you in our class! In this first lesson of the Beginner’s Course, I will give you an introduction to the tools and materials you will use in animation as well as show you how to build your own animation desk at home. I will also teach you the basics of “in-betweening”, one of the most fundamental skills in animation. Don’t know what “in-betweening” means? You’re in the right place. By the end of this lesson, you will have all the materials you need and a full understanding of the basics of animation!
Lesson 2 - Advanced Inbetweening
In lesson 1, you learned the fundamentals of inbetweening and did an exercise using a very simple character. In this lesson, we will delve deeper into the process of inbetweening in animation. Now, you will take the next step as you in-between and animate a head turn of our friend, Tig, whose design is much more complex. Take a look over my shoulder as I walk you through the process of inbetweening one step at a time, explaining what I am doing as I go. I will give you tips along the way explaining what is the best and most efficient way to make your drawings so you will develop good habits that will help you in your process. In addition, I also address some common questions most beginning animators have such as: • Why do animators usually shoot on 2s and what the heck does that even mean? • What is a model sheet and why is it important?
Lesson 3 - Squash and Stretch
Whether a character is doing something as simple as jumping or as complex as having an anvil dropped on their head, there is an essential aspect of animation at play. Squash and Stretch! With good squash and stretch added to your character’s movements, you will be able to take your animation’s believability and comedy to a new level! But what is “squash and stretch” anyway? Well, in this lesson, I explain this principle in detail and will walk you through how to use it in your own animations. You will learn about elasticity and flexibility, how to maintain consistent volume in your characters, and how to captivate your audience with believable and humorous motion. You will also get to practice this new skill by animating a bouncing ball. A classic animation exercise that every animator learns at the beginning of their journey. Have fun as I do the exercise along with you!
Lesson 4 - Drag and Overlap
Ever watch Disney’s original “Aladdin” and notice how Princess Jasmine’s long ponytail follows behind her whenever she turns her head? How about when a flag blows in the wind? Its flapping motion seems to be directly related to how the wind is blowing it, doesn’t it? But why is that? Well, in this lesson, I explain exactly why there are these “primary” and “secondary” motions when things move and how they are related to each other. I will take you through the process of observing how these opposing actions work and how to apply them to your animations in a realistic way. This principle of Drag and Overlap can be confusing at first, but don’t worry. I will demonstrate how to apply this concept by animating a ribbon attached to a bouncing ball, a sheet blowing in the wind, and a girl’s hair as she turns her head. Follow along with me and see how it works! Some new concepts you will learn in this lesson are: ▪ Primary and Secondary Actions ▪ How inertia and energy affect objects ▪ Opposing Actions ▪ Reversal ▪ Expansion and Contraction ▪ Follow Through
Lesson 5 - Anticipation
Wait for it… wait for it… here it comes… aaaaand… ACTION! Actions are way more exciting when there is a period of anticipation leading up to them. Sure, you could animate a character standing up straight and then jumping into the air, but the action is more exciting and impactful when there is a second or two of the character squatting down in preparation to spring high into the air. It is that short period of anticipation before the jump that makes it more engaging to watch. In lesson 5, I will teach you all about the concept of anticipation in the movement of your characters and how you can add much more liveliness and excitement to each movement by infusing your animations with this principle. I will do a demonstration of exactly how to do this with our friend, Tig, and you can follow along using your own character and watch them spring to life!
Lesson 6 - Arcs and Silhouettes
Have you or your friend ever done the robot dance? It’s fun to do and fun to watch because when you move like a robot, your movements are very stiff and jerky. But people don’t move like robots in real life. So what is it that makes real life movement have a fluid, smoothness to it? It’s all in the arcs. In this lesson, I will explain how to notice arcs in natural movements and how to infuse them into your character’s movements to enhance their actions. I will also dive into the principle of silhouette, and how it goes hand in hand with your character’s movements and poses to create animations that are easy to understand and entertaining to watch. Some new concepts you will learn in this lesson are: ▪ How to enhance your character’s actions by using arcs ▪ Staging your action for easy readability ▪ What is silhouette and why is silhouette important? ▪ How to test if your character’s silhouette is good or not
Lesson 7 - Timing
In the last lesson, we learned how adding arcs to movement makes animation flow much more smoothly and realistically. In this lesson, we will talk about timing your movements so that they will have even more authenticity and emotion. Timing, anticipation, drag, and overlap all work together to make interesting, believable animations. Speaking of working together, it is important to be able to communicate your timing to the in-betweeners and ink and paint departments so they can time their drawings to match yours. To do that, animators use timing charts, which you will also learn how to use in this lesson. Draw along with me as I demonstrate how to accurately time your animations to get the effect you are aiming for. I will also share an exposure sheet template with you so you can plan your timing to fit into your scenes just like the pros do!
Lesson 8 - Character Design
What makes an appealing character design? It’s more than just drawing skills. Creating an appealing character design requires an understanding and awareness of several components. In this lesson, I will take you through the process of creating a unique character from the ground up. You will see examples of many different types of character designs and understand why each of them is such a good design despite all their differences. You will also learn about all of the steps that are crucial to the design process, before even putting pencil to paper! Get ready to take notes and settle in for an in-depth lesson. Some important aspects of character design you will learn in this lesson are: ▪ Uniqueness ▪ Personality ▪ Human characters vs. animal characters ▪ The importance of sketching ▪ How to write a character bio
Lesson 9 - How to Make a Model Sheet
We all know that an animated show or movie is a collaborative effort between dozens of artists. But how do all of those artists know how to draw the same character in exactly the same way so that the design remains consistent throughout the show or movie? They follow character model sheets. In today’s lesson, I will show you how to take the character you designed in lesson 8 and break it down into its basic construction. Then, you will use that information to create a model sheet of our character so you can draw it from all different angles. Precision is key here so get ready for a challenge as you make your very own character model sheet!
Lesson 10 - How to Make a Maquette
Model sheets are super helpful for seeing a character from different angles. Now let’s take that idea to the next level! In the early days at Disney Feature Animation Studios, the artists would use a character maquette, a small sculpture of the character, to help them know how to draw that character from any angle necessary. Today, we will continue that classic tradition by learning how to make a 3D sculpture of your character you created in lesson 8. In this lesson, I will give you a full set of instructions and a list of materials you will need in order to create your maquette easily in your own home. Get your sculpting tools ready as I explain step by step, how to make a maquette, from Armature to Z axis!
Lesson 11 - Animate a Walk Cycle
Now comes the really fun part! In this lesson, you will take everything you have learned about animation so far and use those principles to create a walk cycle of your character. Creating a walk cycle is an essential ability to have as an animator because walking is the most common and basic movement your character will do. The way a character walks also says a lot about their personality. Using our friend, Tig, as an example, I will show you how to make your character walk, step by step (literally). As you look over my shoulder, I will explain my thought process as I draw and what principles of animation I am using in each frame to create believable movement that expresses the character’s personality.
Lesson 12 - Animate a Run Cycle
Okay, now that you have learned how to make your character walk, guess what we are going to learn next. You guessed it, a RUN cycle! The process of animating a run is very similar to the process for animating a walk. You will apply the same animation principles and will create your drawings in the same order. However, there is one big difference between the two cycles that I will explain in this lesson. Just like we did in lesson 11, I will animate a full walk cycle and show you one drawing at a time how to plan your extremes and breakdowns. We will also look at the different effects we can achieve by shooting our run cycle at different frame rates to add variation to the movements. Get your character ready and take a run at it with us!
Lesson 13 - How to Storyboard
We have all seen animated movies that have some pretty elaborate scenes with lots of action, and we know that all that action takes an entire team of artists to create. But in order to work as a team, the artists have to all have a clear understanding of what the scene is supposed to look like. In today’s lesson, I will teach you about storyboarding, the process that animation teams use to show their ideas to each other and plan out how they are going to animate a scene. This is where we really get into story telling with our characters. I will show you how to come up with a short scene for your character and plan out the action using storyboards. You’ll get to learn the same methods the pros use when preparing scenes for animation and I will show you how to use different types of staging to make your audience feel different emotions in the scene. Some principles you will learn about storyboarding in this lesson are: ▪ What is a storyboard and why is it important in the process of animation? ▪ Different types of staging and when to use each to add emotion to your animations ▪ How to plan before you animate to make your job as an artist easier
Lesson 14 - Create an Animated Short Film
Now that you have created a short scene for your character to act out and you have created your storyboards in preparation for animation, let’s move on to the next step. Creating an animatic! Creating an animatic is the last thing an animator does before starting to actually animate a scene. In this lesson, I will explain what an animatic is and show you how to combine your storyboards, your walk cycle, and your run cycle to create an animatic and finally, your first animated scene using your own original character! Here is where it all comes together. Let’s get started!
Lesson 15 - Create a Portfolio
Okay, now that you have learned the basics of animation and have used these fundamentals to create your own original artwork, what’s next? Well, the goal for many artists is to work in the animation industry as a future career or to attend an art school and learn more about animation. To do either of those things, you will need a portfolio of your best work! In this final lesson of the Beginner’s Course, I will show you how to create a portfolio of your best work to present to studios and art schools that will show them your skills and what value you can bring to their organization. I will show you my own portfolio that I submitted to Disney Animation Studios when I was trying to get my first job. Using my portfolio as an example, I will explain what specific types of work are important to include in your portfolio and why they are important.