Wednesday, 7 February 2018

4 Animation Mistakes to Avoid

Animation, when done correctly, brings worlds and characters to life in ways that cannot be achieved through any other art form. It is this potential for beauty and power that has driven animation’s popularity over the last 100 years. Successful animation, however, relies upon the skill and creativity of the animator. If the animator overlooks essential elements in their design, their project may turn out to be stiff, awkward, and unrealistic instead of powerful and appealing. Following are a few of the biggest mistakes to avoid if you want to create truly effective animation.

Failure to Create Anticipation and Follow Through

Movement, not surprisingly, is absolutely critical to successful animation. While the personalities, colors, and designs of the characters populating a 2D animation project are important, they must be accompanied by appealing movement. Otherwise, even the most creative characters will come across as awkward and mechanical on the screen. Two important elements in any animated movement are anticipation and follow through. These terms refer to the behavior of any moving object both before it begins to move and immediately after it stops moving.

For instance, a character jumping from one place to another will crouch down and push off with their feet. Without these movements, the jump will appear abrupt. As a result, sufficient preparatory and finishing actions for each movement are critical for animation to appear both realistic and fluid.

Failure to Mimic Real World Actions

As a 2D animation professional, you can only succeed in creating anticipation and follow through in your characters’ movements if you know what those movements look like in the real world. For instance, if the movements of an animated rabbit hopping through the forest do not match how a rabbit actually moves, the character will ring hollow for your audience.

In general, you need to observe the movements you wish to replicate before you animate them. For instance, if you have never observed in detail how a rabbit hops (such as what it does with its legs, where it looks, how far it hops, the position of its body when it lands), you will be ill-prepared to mimic this movement in your animated production.

Failing to incorporate this type of realistic movement into your character design (even for projects that do not need to be strictly realistic) will probably leave you with a mechanical set of characters who fail to connect with your audience. Using movements that mimic the real world, on the other hand, can lead to characters who are much more appealing and fun to watch.

Failure to Create Smooth Movements

Much of animation’s success relies upon making the movements on the screen appear fluid. You do not want your audience distracted by choppy or awkward movements. As a professional in traditional animation, therefore, you should take steps to smooth out the actions that take place on the screen instead of allowing choppy movements to make it to the finished product.

You can often create more fluid movement by reducing the number of keyframes you use in your animation or by creating interpolation curves to smooth out the movements between keyframes. With smoother movement, your characters’ actions on the screen flow together more naturally and appealingly in the viewer’s eyes and avoid the irritating experience provided by choppy actions.

Failure to Use a Consistent Style

Finally, failing to use a consistent style can limit the effectiveness of your 2D animation. A consistent style occurs when all the details of the animated production work together to create a unified look. For instance, if a project is supposed to have a stylized anime feel, characters should look and act in keeping with the anime style. If a project (say, a piece of education animation) uses a blended style, all of the elements still need to work together as a cohesive whole.

Creating beautiful animation requires a great deal of careful work. All of the details need to come together to communicate a single, powerful message. As a result, turning the basics of animation into outstanding 2D animation requires you to avoid certain mistakes. For instance, failing to create anticipation and follow through, failing to mimic real world actions, failing to create smooth movements, and failing to use a consistent style are all mistakes that should be avoided in order to improve the overall quality of the animation.

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