2010 July

Starting Out in Animation

For people just starting out with the idea of making an animated movie–whether they have in mind a short 30 second clip or a two-hour feature-length film–knowing where to start is the hardest part. After all, there can be an overwhelming amount of content and tools available to you and knowing how to even get started can be pretty daunting for someone who has never done animation before.

If you’re unsure where to start, the best suggestion would be to start with the story. Animation is a method of telling a story and if you have a good story then that gives you a solid foundation for everything that flows after that.

A lot of people focus on the technical aspects of the animation, wanting it to look like Pixar’s feature films. However, Pixar’s films are great primarily because of the stories they tell. They have strong characters and themes that resonate with their audiences. The excellent animation that they do comes in on top of their excellent storytelling in films like Toy Story 3 and Ratatouille.

Story is right at the start of our own animation process, which consists of:

1. Story
2. Script
3. Storyboard/planning.
4. Gathering/building assets.
5. Production
6. Compositing/Editing.

Since we are all animators, while we are developing the story we can start playing around with animation and developing our skills with some test animations. Load characters and props into Daz or Poser and start moving them character around to get familiar with the animation tools available in those programs. Get used to how long it takes to render an animation. Don’t worry too much about how it looks – you’re not going to create Pixar quality right out of the gate, you’re still learning at this point. And that’s the important part with animation at this point–learning. Time + Effort leads to skill.

But quality animation all has to start with story.

We’ll get into the various aspects of creating your own animation in the future here on the Posermocap site.