A Beginner’s Guide to Animation

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Animation covers a large area, and comprises numerous specialities and facets. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the steps involved in the animation process.

Firstly, imagine an animation studio as a machine composed of numerous moving parts. These parts are projects, people, and departments, all working together to build stories. This machine assembly line can be broken down into three groups, as described below.

The Process

Pre-production: The first stage of an animated movie involves storyboarding, script writing, visual development, and more. Many of the story’s building blocks are created at the pre-production stage. 

Production: The second stage includes such pieces of the puzzle as animation, rigging, and character modeling. Here’s where a large part of the building process takes place, using the initial blocks in order to give the story some shape.

Post-production: The last stage includes colour correction, VFX, and compositing. This is about polishing the story, details, and preparing it for the audience.

The studio encompasses a great deal of collaboration. So while departments and individuals are assigned specific areas, a decision in just one area has the potential to affect the others at some later point in the process.

Here, of course, we’re looking at animation, in particular.

What Do Animators Do?

Animators are artists. Rather than using such tools as paint brushes, however, they tell a story through characters. They’re tasked with the job of taking a director’s vision and a script before breathing life into the characters. If they do a good job here, the audience may forget that what they’re watching is essentially a digital puppet, as opposed to an actual person.

Animators can be actors, comedians, and acrobats, and at times, all in a single scene. They’re tasked with creating interesting and dynamic performances for TV shows, movies, advertising, and games.

Animators typically work within one of two categories:

2D animators use either today’s digital tools or old school, hand-drawn techniques in their storytelling. They also apply core principles like spacing and timing to give their characters life.

3D animators use 3D software to achieve largely what 2D animators achieve. Along with the basics of animation, these 3D animators are employing the benefits that modern software provides in order to take their art to new heights. These artists are responsible for animating lead characters, along with everything from dragons to spaceships.

Essentially, these two types of animators employ the very same principles. The key difference is the tools they use.

Wrap Up

As you can see, animation is a highly-skilled profession that encompasses art, imagination, and technical ability that can take years to develop. While you may be more familiar with animation when it comes to the silver screen, it’s also a skill that’s being applied right now in promoting businesses and their products and services. An animated explainer video company, for example, can use their in-house talent to create some great content for your site that helps to explain to your market exactly what it is you do. These videos are popular for a reason, as animation remains one of the most impinging forms of communication, both in art and in business.

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