Stages of Animation

Posted in Production, Random Fluff by Nathan

I’ve put together a little video that describes the various stages of animation I go through. These aren’t hard-and-set rules, but more like guidelines that help me animate more efficiently. Depending on the shot I’ll be more or less rigid about keeping the stages separate.

I also left out an important stage in the video, which is sketching out ideas for the shot. I left it out because the drawings — if you can call them that — are really embarrassing. But for me it’s a really important stage because it’s easier for me to explore ideas through rough sketches than through painstakingly posing a model in 3D. (If anyone is curious, I often use Pencil for some of that drawing/exploration stage. Pencil is nice because it’s a 2D animation software, so I can actually do rough 2D animation to test out ideas.)

.ogg video file

29 Responses

  1. roksvamp Writes:

    Very nice video, I’m trying to learn animation at this moment and this sure helped a bit. Pencil looks nice too, something to spend the weekend with perhaps^^

    Since you didn’t notice, or cared^^, about me post in the previous blog I might as well ask again. Do you any Scandinavian relatives/connections? I’m asking because your last name, Vegdahl, sounds a bit nordic =P

  2. dusty Writes:

    Awsome! You should do the next FAQ DVD based on this work my friend. :)

  3. wayne Writes:

    very useful…

    i need to watch this in slow motion because i can hardly notice the differences between the shots…

  4. Gianmichele Writes:

    William…really cool! I would have taken a frame out when he jumping out from the branch and maybe pushed the stretch a little more. How is the pipeline when you want to do a test render of fur ? Do you upload to the renderfarm or just launch a render locally ?

  5. Vojtas Writes:

    Thx for update guys :) . Shot looks really great as the branch moves and so on. I am really looking forward to the release. Keep on good work. GL

  6. Tesla Writes:

    Nice work Nathan. Odd bunnyhopping person you.
    Got a training DVD in the works?

  7. Cuby Writes:

    Thanks Nathan. A good little quick guide to the steps. I found it useful, and will try to use similar techniques when animating.

  8. humblebee Writes:

    Very nice!

    I also use a[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pencil]Pencil[/url] to draw ;)

  9. joeedh Writes:

    cool! though I can’t believe you had time for this :P


  10. Nathan Writes:

    roksvamp: the name Vegdahl is Norwegian. Genealogically I’m half Norwegian.

  11. Joacim Writes:

    Wee! I’m Norwegian!

    Anyway: Cool movie.

  12. paul. Writes:

    I’ve been looking for a program like Pencil for a little while now. Thanks for the tip! I just downloaded it and am about to start working on learning it.

  13. Harryabreu Writes:

    You help me a lot Tank you!

  14. humblebee Writes:

    Ummm… there are some free animation tools, paul.
    Have you ever tried Plasticanimationpaper?

  15. michele Writes:

    GREAT!GREAT!GREAT! I never stop to say GREAT!

  16. Bruce Writes:

    I don’t mean to nitpick, but I doubt the mouse/rabbit/creature would take its eyes off the object it is jumping towards. If you watch a cat as it lines up a jump/food source it would not drop its head or close its eyes. My 10 cents worth (inflation).

  17. rogper Writes:

    Perhaps you’re right, or at least it wouldn’t be so perceptible, but in animation we need to exagerate the movemnts, to look better… It would feel stiff and wrong without the recoil, I think ;)

  18. def-con-1 Writes:

    thats an insain amount of work for a few seconds of animation…..now i see why it takes soooooo long for a group of people to make 8 minutes of animaiton….

    also….hopfully i’m not bringing up a old debate…..but i was wondering if you guys considered adding “the” to the title

    big buck the bunny…sounds a bit better?

    great work,

  19. Sago Writes:

    Super W…. I mean def-con-1, glad you see now it’s not an easy task we have on our plate.
    Though this isn’t the place to bring up the topic of the title, I can tell you the title will stay how it is. It’s clear you cannot please everybody, and the same will be with our movie. And in cases like this it’s better to trust my own instincts, instead of going with half-baked suggestions from people that haven’t even seen the movie (not talking about your ‘the’…. but it’s still not getting in).
    Peach out,

  20. super w... Writes:

    super wu’s disguse has been foiled….and baked like a potato….DAMIT!!!

    now everyone knows about my collection of adult videos…..

    i will disapear into the night!!!

    ps. i’m glad your going to add in “the”…. INTO THE NIGHT!!!

  21. Nathan Writes:

    humblebee: I used Plastic Animation Paper for a few months, before discovering Pencil. I think Pencil’s interface is better (PAP was awkward for me), and Pencil has more features than the free PAP.

    Joacim: wootz! Norway ftw!

    Bruce: you’re right. And you’ll see that in my first block I did it that way. Unfortunately, due to the huge head and cartoony proportions of the character, not having the head go down looked too stiff. It was an annoying choice to have to make, because I agree with your point.

  22. Bigglesworth Writes:

    More inspiration! Wonderful work!

  23. MArco Writes:

    Thanks !

    Great Work :)

    Do you use reference for undestand the animation ?

    YEAH ! Peach will be very good for undestanding how to animate in a team :)

  24. paul. Writes:

    humblebee: thanks, I just downloaded PAP to check it out.

  25. blendman Writes:

    Great Video. The animation is really good, and we can see somes of the principles of traditionnal Animation (overlapping, anticipation…) :)

    Nathan : Thank you for the information about Pencil, I wanted a 2D animation software like this, and thank to you, now I have it !
    Pencil is a great open-source Software !
    Thanks a lot :)

  26. Sergeant Oreo Writes:

    Nathan, thanks for posting this.
    I am reading “The Animator’s Survival Kit” (about page 79) right now and your video has demonstrated the process pretty well. Job well done!

  27. Pierre Writes:

    Hi Ton or staff, excuse me… a question about renderfarm?

    When you render a single frame used however the renderfarm? That can render individual parts of the frame and then merge?


  28. boddicker Writes:

    This is kind of off the subject, but does anyone know if there are positions available for concept artist/traditional 2d animators in Los Angeles? I just graduated college with a major in Studio Art and I’m desperate for a job in this field.

  29. razvan Writes:

    WOW!! very nice lesson. thank you