To excel in Animation, what courses should I take?

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  01 January 2010
To excel in Animation, what courses should I take?

After a lot of thinking on the subject I've decided to take the long route. What I mean is because I want to excel in 3-D Character Animation! So I am going to start with taking art classes before I attempt animation. So I am making this thread for 2 reasons, 1. To get advice and insight as well as ideas, and 2. To help answer people's questions about the same subject.

Here is what I have so far with what I think will be the best route for my Character Animation journey. Please feel free to add your own, or discuss the courses I have chosen. Now in no particular order here are the courses I picked so far.

* Life Drawing
* Storyboarding
* Cartooning
* Animation Principles
* Anatomy for artists

So those are the classes I will be signing up for soon. Please feel free to suggest any courses that would help further my Animation path.

Thank you,

- Chucky
  01 January 2010
I am going to say that you picked all the right courses. You are on the right track so far.
  01 January 2010
Some more suggestions

You want to also emphasize hand and head drawing, especially showing facial gestures.
  01 January 2010
I say that you are right on the money there, Chucky.

I'm currently working on sharpening my skills in this stuff on my own until I head to art school later in the year. Here's a list of the books I've been using as reference :

- Animation Unleashed (Quite an awesome book of principles to consider if you want to make a successful story and have a fairly proper execution of your project)

- Animator's Survival Kit (You pretty much need this. Enough said lol)

- The Cartoonist's Workbook (Introduces you to cartooning, making basic characters, writing gags and even presenting your work to be sold to newspapers and the sort. To me this serves as a pretty awesome resource for cranking out a storyboard)

- Character Animation Crash Course! (As the title suggests, it's a crash course, gives you a rundown of what you need to know. Good thing to probably start with and then jumping into Survival Kit to more deeply understand the animation principles)

- Drawn To Life Volumes 1 and 2 (This one has been epic so far. I'm on volume 1 at the moment, basically shows you how to draw like an animator and pretty deeply analyzes those fundamental concepts in animation beyond just those 12 principles we know and love)

- Prepare To Board! (All about planning everything out from story to characters and even goes into pitching your ideas)

- Timing For Animation (Haven't gotten the chance to read it but I've heard a great deal of positivity about it and I'm sure you can guess what it's about lol)

As for drawing, not sure where you are in skill when it comes down to it but I'm currently going over Pencil Drawing Techniques, Perspective Made Easy, and Drawing For The Absolute & Utter Beginner to give myself a refresher since it's been a while since I've actually done some drawing, 3D will do that to you lol The Andrew Loomis books are also pretty great, he's got three anatomy books, one covering it overall (Anatomy For All It's Worth), one that focuses on heads and hands (Drawing Heads & Hands) and one that focuses on creative illustration (Creative Illustration). Also I've got a DVD set called The Structure of Man which I think is a pretty awesome resource when it comes to learning how to draw anatomy except the guy is a bit boring and informal in his teaching but I would recommend it.

Hopefully my sharing that chunk of my reference library could help you out. Definitely not suggesting to go out and get everything I listed, not trying to break bank lol Just look into them and see if any of them look like something that could be of use to you, they certainly have been helping me a great deal.

Other than that, not really much I could add to the list of concepts you should focus on since it's just about covered with what you listed and then what taxguy mentioned especially that's a very good thing to study since the bulk of a character's emotions would be expressed in the face. Then hands always play a part, plus they're a bit more difficult to figure out so you definitely want to focus on them a bit more when it comes to their structure and movement.

When it comes to learning anatomy, really hone in on how it works in terms of movement, the bones and muscles part of it cause that's what is going to help you the most. Obviously you want to be able to draw everything out in proper proportion but that's going to be much easier than getting it all to move right.

Touching on the whole drawing shenanigan. Focus on learning the fundamental concepts (goes something like : contour, spaces, proportion, perspective, light and shadow, texture, color, composition) and you'll do just fine there.

Geez, that was a bit long lol, but this stuff is extensive and still other stuff I could go into but I think you'll find it all as you explore those things you had listed and the stuff I mentioned as well.

Best of luck to you Chucky! Hopefully my huge post will help you in some way lol
  01 January 2010
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