Animation Exercises

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  06 June 2007
Animation Exercises

Hey Guys

I was hoping we could compile a list of animation exercises. What I mean by this is short projects that help develop your animation by focusing on specific aspects of character movement.

An example would be having a mannikin picking up a heavy ball and putting it on a table. I'd like to know what exercises you guys found most valueble in your learning. It would also be good if you include why you think they're valueble and what animation principles you think they're displaying, e.g. picking up a heavy ball to show weight.

I'm fairly new to animation and I really want to understand its mechanics, all comments are appreciated!
  06 June 2007

Here are a couple I can think of off the top of my head.

The Walk Cycle -- This is the basic animation exercise that all Animators should learn. It is also one of the hard things to pull off not so much because of the parts you need to moe, but getting the fluidity of motion down right. Walk cycles are basic, but they can be tweaked and manipulated to create many variations so it's good for character design as well.

The Run Cycle -- THis is here for much the same reason as the walk cycle, but also the run cycle has a couple differences (More exaggerated up and down motion, one pose where both feet are off the ground etc.) from the walk cycle so animating one will allow you to see and feel those differences.

Lip-Sync -- Lip sync is another staple in Animation, that is being able to create or use a head or even a body model and have your character act out or just talk through a scene. This exercse is good because you will learn about Phonemes and Visemes -- that is the basic sound and visual componenets in speech.

Weight and Pressure -- This exercise is good to learn because it allows you to learn aniticipation. Being able to use a character and have him lift a heavy object or push a heavy object, will aloow you to convey the objects weight, and the trick there is using anticipation and timing. Another goodie to learn as well.

That's all I can think of at the moment. I mean you can do little exercises as well for the twele Principles of Animation as well, such as making a ball bounce to show off Squash and stretch as well. Or having a character throw a ball to show anticipation and such. But I think these that I have mentioned are some of the more basic ones you'll come across if you look at tutorials online or read books.

I hope this helps and gives you a good start in the wonderful world of animation. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

"If there is doubt, then there is no doubt"
  06 June 2007
this topic has been posted here and on many other forums many times. use the search button.

places to search. here on general discussion

cgchar forum

strutyourreel forum

any animatinmentor blog

books: animator's survivial kit
  06 June 2007
Thanks for your help Pengu, you went into detail with your examples. That's what I was after, people's own opinions and experiences into which exercises were most valueble to them.

Golden Camel i have searched the forums, i have been looking on animation mentor, i have been looking at peoples reels, and i own a copy of Richard Williams book. However i wanted a greater insight into what students actually think about the exercises their doing.

I'm planning on doing these exercises with no teacher or mentor looking over my shoulder. As such i feel it's important for me to understand what the exercises are focusing on exactly and which areas i should pay particular attention to.

for example...
"It is also one of the hard things to pull off not so much because of the parts you need to moe, but getting the fluidity of motion down right."

I don't think it's too much to ask

EDIT: yeah ok the animation mentor blogs are pretty good, i missed those!

Last edited by petey : 06 June 2007 at 01:03 PM.
  06 June 2007

I'm glad I could be of some help to ya.

Yea, if you want as well, you can post your exercises up here and get some critiques as well.

Good to know that the information was helpful, Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck!

"If there is doubt, then there is no doubt"
  06 June 2007
Great thread I'm new to animation as well so this is really helping!
not gonna let anything slow me down, gonna work hard to become a great animator.
  06 June 2007
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