“First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare.” - Walt Disney
Do you dream of joining Disney or Pixar? Are you a huge fan of animation? Why not make an animation?
The animation industry in the UK is doing rather well and whether it’s in films or games, animators are having a good time of it.
Here’s what you need to know to make animations.
Don’t Overestimate Your Abilities
Animation is incredibly time-consuming and costs a lot in terms of money and time. Most animations have many animators working tirelessly on them.
Making a film on your own is a Herculean task so you need to be aware of the work involved before starting.
Firstly, if you’re doing traditional animation, think about all the supplies you’ll need. A second can require up to 24 drawings. You do the maths!
I wouldn’t recommend undertaking a feature-length film. A few seconds can take you hundreds of drawings and you'll then need to scan or photograph the drawings and put them together in a film.
You may also need to consider whether or not you have the necessary skills to do an entire animation yourself. Don’t forget voices and audio, too!
How Long Should Your Animation Be?
Before you start your animation, think about how long it’s going to be. If you’re doing it all alone, something under 30 seconds might be more than enough of a challenge, unless you want to spend years working on it. If you’re using digital technology to make 2D or 3D animation, you could embark on making a longer film from 3 to 5 minutes, for example.
If it’s your very first animation, most of the time will be spent learning how everything works.
It’s also useful to think about how much free time you’ll have to work on your animation. From there, you’ll have a better idea of how long your animation will take.
Choose the Type of Animation You Want to Make
There are many different ways to create animation.
The traditional method involves drawing or painting onto paper or cels and then photographing or scanning the images and playing them back at speed. Transparent acetate cels are often used as it allows animators to redraw only the parts that change.
You can also use physical models or sculptures and make stop-motion animation. This technique is was employed in the Wallace and Gromit films but you can use toys, lego, or any physical object.
In recent years, animation has gone digital and computer programs can be used to make 2D or 3D animation. The drawings or character models are created by artists using graphics tablets and computers and animating them in specialist software. This has revolutionalised the world of animation.
It’s up to you to decide which type of animation is best for your project.
This advice might seem a bit obvious, but animation is an art form where creativity pays dividends. Each animation has a particular style and feel. Your artistic style can give your project identity.
To find inspiration, you can draw upon your experience, interests, or even your dreams. Pay attention to the world around and be receptive to inspiration.
Work on the Characters in Your Animation
Once you’ve got a good idea in your head, you’ll need to create the main players in your story. The characters in animation do a lot of the work because they give the audience something to invest their interest in.
Think about your favourite animated films or series. Most of them will have an iconic character. They act as the ambassador for the project. Once you’ve planned out the characters, you need to draw them.
In the world of animation, there’s usually a dedicated character designer who works on the visual identity of the characters. If you’re doing it yourself, you’ll have to plan drawing the characters in different situations. Make sure you focus on the character at different angles and also in different emotional states.
By doing this work before you start the project, it’ll facilitate the process later on. Characters in animation are like actors and they need the right expression and range at any given moment.
Write the Script and Dialogue
Another part of creating an animation is the script.
The script is more detailed than the plot and will describe every action and word in fine detail. This allows the director to plan out the scenes.
The script also tells the characters what they have to say. In animation, you need to know the words and have the dialogue ready so that you can sync the characters’ mouths to the words.
Invest in Animation Equipment
The equipment you’ll need will depend on your project and the style of animation you’ll be using. If you’ve chosen traditional animation, you’ll need all the art supplies and cels. With modern animation, you’ll need a graphics tablet, animation software, and a decent computer.
Whether traditional or modern, you’ll probably need a computer for both. Digital animation, especially 3D animation, is hardware intensive so you’ll need a powerful computer.
You might also need to invest in a decent microphone to record the voices and SFX. You can use a Zoom recorder for ambient noise and a directional microphone for dialogue.
Take Drawing Lessons
We can’t stress this enough: take drawing lessons.
Even if you’ve taught yourself how to draw, you’ll know that you can always improve your technique and learn more. You can always look for drawing teachers and tutors who specialise in animation.
Private animation tutors can focus on the specifics of drawing for animation. Students and graduates of animation degrees can help you to improve your skills.
Drawing classes can also help you to be more creative. When you draw, there’s always the fear of getting it wrong. A lot of artists enjoy experimenting with new styles and techniques. Letting your creativity run riot is great for improving your art.
Get Inspired by Great Works
A lot has changed since Mickey Mouse first took to the screens. Whether it’s Pixar, Disney, or smaller animation studios, the number of animated films and series is increasing each year so there's a lot of inspiration to draw upon.
Of course, we don’t mean copying other animations! I’d recommend that you make a note of what you like about each animation that you watch. By noting what you like, you’ll find it easier to reproduce these qualities in your work.
Have Fun Creating Animations
Finally, don’t forget to have fun when creating an animation. Remind yourself why you decided to do it in the first place. Animating is a long process and it can often be exhausting.
Don’t forget to try and enjoy every moment you’re doing it or you’ll end up getting sick of working on your project. When you feel like you don’t want to draw any more, you might want to take a step back and leave it for a few days.
In any case, good luck!
If you need help with drawing, animation, scriptwriting, or character design, consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced private tutors on Superprof. There are tutors all over the country and around the world ready to help you learn new skills, prepare for exams, or take up new hobbies.
There are three main ways to enjoy private tutorials, face-to-face with your tutor, online, or in a group with other students. Each type of tutorial comes with advantages and disadvantages so it's down to you, how you like to learn, and your budget.
Face-to-face tutorials are the most common type of tutorials offered and are usually the most popular. With just you and your tutor in the class, you can be sure that the lessons will focus on your learning and your tutor will tailor every session to you and how you like to learn. As the tutor will require extra time to plan bespoke lessons, they usually tend to charge more per hour for the service. However, while face-to-face tutorials are usually the most expensive per hour, they're also the most cost-effective.
For those on a tight budget, group tutorials are a way to share the cost of the tutors time with other students in the class. These other students can be friends, family members, or even strangers. This does mean that the lessons won't be tailored just to you but you will usually pay less than you would per person for a one-to-one session.
Finally, online tutorials are useful if you can't find any suitable tutors that live near you or neither of you can travel. As long as you have a webcam and a decent internet connection, you can learn a variety of skills and study a range of topics from private tutors all over the world.