Four Ways Storyboards Facilitate the Animation Process

No animated production can be completed successfully without the use of storyboards. A staple of animation, they have existed since the early 1930s, when Walt Disney implemented them during the development of its films. Since then, they have become an indispensable tool in virtually every animation company, because they enable animation creators to visualize a storyline, determine the sequence of events, choose production details, and save time and money. Following are just a few of the ways in which storyboards and animatics contribute to the success of any animation production.

Storyboards facilitate brainstorming and creativity.

Storyboards are a series of sketches that outline each of the scenes in an animated project. They include information such as which characters and objects populate the scene, which camera angles are being used, what movement is occurring, what dialogue is being spoken, and whatever other material may be useful. Animatics are storyboards to which have been added pieces of animation, movement, and sound to further indicate how the final product will look.

Because storyboards present the details of each scene visually, they are an especially valuable tool for facilitating brainstorming and encouraging creativity. As animators view the project coming to life through the storyboards, they can more easily identify ways to improve the development of the storyline and the scenes.

For instance, storyboards allow animators to move scenes around to experiment with different sequences. Flashbacks are often the result of such experimentation in an animated production or motion picture. In addition, they allow animators to test different iterations of the animation before large commitments of time and money must be made to producing the finished project. As a result, storyboards give the 2D animation studio the freedom to change how the scenes develop and to try out different ideas. This freedom results in a higher-quality and more carefully crafted animation than would otherwise have been possible.

Storyboards save time and money.

While storyboards foster creativity, they also serve a very practical purpose for 2D animation companies and their clients in that they save significant amounts of time and money. Initially, it may seem as if creating storyboards consumes resources, because they must be created with time and talent that could otherwise have been spent producing the final product. However, there are a number of reasons that storyboards are a financially prudent step.

One of these reasons is that storyboards allow animators to identify mistakes and problems before the project goes to production. These errors are simple to fix on a storyboard, because they require nothing more than a quick re-sketching or repositioning of the scene in question. In the middle of production, however, they would be much more costly and time-consuming to repair, because they would require steps such as re-animating an entire scene.

In addition, storyboards save time and money because they allow the animators to determine exactly how each scene will be shot before production begins. This allows the company to save money by determining which shots are most cost effective. Storyboards also save producers from time-consuming tweaking, adjusting, and re-animating during the production phase of the project.

Storyboards guide production.

As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons that storyboards and animatics production in CA and elsewhere save time and money is because they allow the animators to determine exactly how each scene will unfold. The details encompassed by the storyboards include production details such as camera angles and distances. In fact, storyboards and animatics are often utilized to determine which shots will be most effective during the production process.

As a result, by the time the storyboard is finalized, the production process has become much simpler as well. Camera angles and distances, character movements, timelines, and more are clearly laid out on the boards. All that is left is for the producers to implement the scenes as they are described by the sketches in the storyboard. When producers have such a detailed and carefully developed plan for their film or animated cartoons, it becomes much faster and easier for them to create the final project.

In addition, as mentioned earlier, storyboards help to reduce the number of changes that are necessary during

Affordable 2D Animation Softwares For Beginners

Digital animation can be expensive to start because of the cost of 2D animation softwares. There are a few choices to look at when we want to learn 2D animations.

To learn digital animation, you require both animation and software skills. As a beginner, we choose our animation software, we need to consider some factors that involve money & cents, and time.

As a newbie in animation, we want to invest our savings and time on worthwhile things. I’ll give some recommendations to start your 2D animation journey at a more affordable cost and produce quality animation using relevant industry software.

I recommended Adobe Flash for 2D animation software because of its drawing and animation tools available. Simple South Park characters can be created even if you have no drawing skills. You can start drawing with a mouse using Adobe Flash! Adobe Flash comes with preset motions to create animation and they can create some complex animation very easily.

Adobe Flash is definitely not free. However you can download Adobe Flash for a trial period of 30 days to test out the software before burning a hole in your pocket as it costs about USD$800+. Ask friends who has this software to let you play around with before making the investment.

Toon Boom Studio is another recommendation for learning 2D animation because you can create interesting animation such as Japan anime. This software creates good quality animation for TV series and short videos. Anime such as Naruto, Bleach, etc., are examples of the style you can create with Toon Boon.

Toon Boom also not free and it cost about USD$300+ onwards. However, they do allow you to download for a short trial period of 30 days. Kid’s version of the software, Animation-ish, which cost USD$60 is worth a try as it gives you a good amount of basic tools to start learning animation.

You can also consider DigiCel Flipbook which is very much similar to Animation-ish but the prerequisite is your drawing skill. DigiCel Flipbook is easy to use and it compiles your drawings into an animation. Lip syncing animation can also be created with DigiCel Flipbook as it has voice synchronizing function. The basic version of this software is priced at USD$78 and it contains all the tools to sufficiently gear you up for your animation learning journey.
You can easily create 2D animation buttons and banners with these softwares. If you plan to be a cartoon animator, your drawing skill will be critical. This is when you will need to learn to draw digitally with a drawing table.

The cheapest tablet you can start with is Wacom’s Bamboo Tablet. As a beginner, you will not feel that it is not sensitive until you become an expert in digital drawing. Bamboo Tablet is popular among students because it is sold at quite an affordable price of USD$100+. As you advance to be a veteran artist, you consider upgrading your tablet to Wacom Intuos 5 series. This tablet is also popular in the media industry because of the sensitivity when you draw.

Wacom tablets are compatible for both Mac and Windows platform and most drawing softwares. They are mainly plug and play with some configuration to suit your drawing needs.

How an Animator Can Bring Your Characters to Life

One of the central features of any animated production is the character that populates it. You provide the vision for those characters. A skilled animation company sharpens that vision and brings it to life. There are many ways in which the animator develops characters perfectly suited for whatever type of project you need, from advertising animation to educational animation and more. The following are just a few of the valuable contributions the 2D animation studio can make to character design.

Target The Desired Audience

The exact look and feel of any animated project depends in large part upon the audience for which it is intended. For instance, an educational program geared toward children would use bold patterns and bright colors, whereas an animated explainer video for business executives would use more restrained design elements. The studio you choose to provide animation for your project will enhance its effectiveness by creating characters that are appropriate for the audience you wish to reach.

Animation studios will help you define the correct style for your audience right from the start by also providing you with concept design services. These services formulate vague ideas into a specific overall style. A skilled team of animators can walk you through the development of your concept and then create unique characters that fit both your vision and the audience who will be enjoying the finished product.

Visually Depict Personality

Each character in your animated project will have a distinct personality. This personality is one of the traits that will set them apart from the animated characters already out there. Through concept design and character design, your animation partner will work with you to determine the personality that each character possesses. Developing this personality may involve creating a back-story to give them history and depth. The animator will then use this background to inform their understanding and development of the character.

The animator will use their skills to take the traits that were fleshed out earlier in the process and visually depict them in the character’s body shape, facial expressions, and movements. For instance, the animator will use lines to create a body for the character that reveals their personality. Soft lines may denote gentleness, while sharp corners may reveal stronger or negative aspects of the character’s personality. Animator Moritz Schneider, for instance, explains that he used sharp edges on one of his characters to depict that character’s hidden strength and integrity. These sometimes subtle design elements convey to the viewer aspects of the character’s personality that may not be explicitly articulated in the dialogue or actions and give him or her added depth and intrigue.

In addition, the animator will use design elements such as accessories and colors to reveal a character’s thoughts, feelings, and preferences. These elements can become integral parts of the character. For instance, the yellow complexion of the Simpsons has become their trademark look, one of the reasons they first captured viewers’ attention. Reds and blues can convey a sense that the character has something in common with comic book heroes, while dark colors will give viewers the impression that the character has some less than pleasant aspects to his or her personality. Accessories can give viewers a glimpse into the character’s circumstances (such as whether they are rich, stylish, plain, or simple).

Finally, 2D animation companies can add other design features, such as facial expressions, to give the viewer visual clues to the character’s personality. At times, they will exaggerate these features to emphasize certain aspects of the character’s personality, or swerve away from strict realism to create cartoon characters that will have greater appeal to the sensibilities of the target audience. Regardless of the specific techniques they use, however, animators will all strive to produce characters that fit comfortably into the purpose and overall feeling of the project.

Create An Environment To Complement The Character Design

Finally, traditional animation studios can bring your characters to life by creating environments that complement or further reveal their personalities. For instance, an animator may choose to reflect the conflict a character is facing by inserting elements into the surrounding environment that visually clash with the character. Alternatively, the animator may choose to insert small details into certain scenes (such as background objects or colors) that match the proportions or interests of the character. A good animator will understand how the environment interacts with the characters being created so that all the elements of a project fit together convincingly. In fact, a skilled animator will be intentional about nearly every detail they add into a scene, so that the entire project comes together as a realistic and cohesive work of art.

What is 3D Animation? How is it Different From 2D Animation?

In this article I will explain in simple terms, what goes behind the 3D animation that you watch in movies and what makes it different from conventional two dimensional animation.

What is that extra 3rd dimension? Take a piece of paper and sketch a simple figure on it (a cat, a dog or anything that comes to your head). Lets say it is a cat and it is facing you from that sheet of paper. So you have the front view of the cat in front of you. Suppose if you feel that you want to see the cat from a side, will it help if you rotate the paper or flip it? No. Why? It is simply because the sketch you have drawn has the 3rd dimension missing.

Every real world object that you see around has a 3rd dimension and that is the reason why you can take it and rotate it to watch it from different angles. The sketch you have drawn had a length and a width, since the paper you used to draw also had a length and a width. But it lacks a thickness (3rd dimension) and hence your sketch also didnt have that extra dimension.

Suppose instead of sketching your imagination down on the piece of paper, you decided to sculpt it on a handful of clay. Since the medium you used (clay) had volume, you had to define the cats shape from all angles during the sculpting. Hence you unknowingly added that 3rd dimension to it and that is the reason you have the freedom to rotate it any way you want.

How conventional 2D animation works:

Before computers started playing their indispensable roles in the animation industry, everything was done manually by animators, who were essentially artists. They would create a series of slides having images on it, where each slides image is the continuation of the previous one in the sequence. For example if an animator wanted to simulate a ball falling down, they would create a sequence of slides where first slide would portray the ball at the top. The next slide will show the ball, may be 1 cm lower than that in the first slide. In the next one, again lower and so on, till the last slide shows the ball hitting the ground. When the whole sequence of slides are shown in front of the viewer in a fast rate, it creates the feeling of the ball falling down.

The whole process was tedious and time consuming. When computers came into play, the frame redrawing works had been minimised since, copying and pasting duplicate elements between successive frames was very easy with the computers aid. The artist has to make only the necessary changes that should exist between successive frames. As technology advanced, softwares evolved that again minimised the work of a 2d animator, in such a way that several things started getting automated. Using motion tweening and other techniques, an animator can set the initial position or shape of an object and then its final position and shape and the computer would generate the intermediate frames automatically. The artist even has the freedom to make corrections to that.

What was missing in 2D animation?

The 2D animation always lacked the essence, since all the real-world sceneries and objects are 3D and when they gets transformed to 2D, they lose their reality. Later stage cartoons started to simulate the 3D effect by using gradients, and varying highlights, but it required huge extra effort from the part of the artist.

How 3D Graphics works:

The stages in 3D animation are more in number compared to the 2D animation. The first part of 3D animation starts with character sketching and 3D modeling. In the next stage the characters are rigged for animation. In the next stage they are animated. This is in fact a too compact form of what happens in the background. Lets see each of them in a little detail.

Benefits of 2D 3D Animation

2D animated videos

We all love animation, in fact, we have grown up watching them. Do you remember those days when as a kid, you wanted to be a part of the animated world? Well, thanks to technology, with the evolution of 3D animation services, this dream has become partially true! 2D process is different from that of 3D in terms of latest technology, which lets you connect and identify more with the animated world which wasn’t possible with the 2D animated videos. However, the rise of 3D animation services hasn’t affected the popularity. This traditional form of is still used in making most animated explainer videos by many corporate companies. Such is the aura of 2D animation! Let us now consider the unique qualities of 2D animated videos which make it still the most preferred choice in the area of animation.

OLD IS GOLD

We all are well acquainted with this thought and as a matter of fact, we trust it too. 2D services have been well tried and tested through ages and have been giving positive results every single time. Whatever the concept is, you can always rely on 2D services. The best part is that almost any animation services company offer 2D animation services.

LOW PRODUCTION COST

Not every one of us can bear the cost of harnessing the 3D technology. 2D process is simple, quicker and that’s the reason it comes with a comparatively low production cost. In 3D animated videos, it is mandatory to bring in lifelike characters into the animated videos to make it look more realistic. Such is not the case with 2D videos. It has its own style and hence comes with a comparatively lower production cost than 3D services.

ERRORS CAN BE FIXED EASILY

What if an image in the animated video goes wrong for some reason? Or what if it simply doesn’t comply with the client’s needs? Then you might have to fix errors right? Well, let me tell you, fixing errors is always easy if you have produced a 2D animated video. You just need to redraw the error and you’re almost done!

TAKES LESS TIME

You ought to take the help of 2D services, in case you are working on a really tight schedule. It takes less time in production as compared to 3D services. This is because there is no need of a third dimension in 2D animated videos. Also, 2D animation services do not have the pressure to create real-looking images like that of 3D services and hence they take less time in covering the production process.

SIMPLE

All of us are wired in a way that we are bound to get attracted towards simplicity. An animated video should be simple and compelling. 3D service has no doubt given us many additional features which can make your video stunning. But not all videos need all of those 3D features. Sometimes more graphics and images tend to make the explainer video complex and hence may disrupt the entire message. So, if you are working on a complex project, you should reconsider using 3D and switch to 2D animation services.

EASY

As compared to 3D, it is easier to produce a 2D animated video. This is because of its less involvement of latest technology and software. Too much of advanced technology used in the 3D animated videos can make things a bit complex. But 2D services is known for its simplicity and hence easy from every angle.

ARTISTIC FREEDOM

While 3D animation process replicates the real world to create more lifelike animation, 2D animation process, on the other hand, offers more artistic freedom. You are free to depict strange actions with 2D animated videos and make your animation more compelling and fun.

Therefore, one might say that 2D animation process limits one’s choices. But let me tell you, this is not the case. It doesn’t limit one’s choice, instead, widens it. Because everyone can use it with ease. Its features such as simplicity, low production cost, less time consuming, easy error fixing capacity and the artistic freedom, makes it still the first choice of animators all over the world.