Thursday, October 1, 2009

Reader's Question: How Common Is It to Use a Flipbook or PAP to Plan a Shot?

I was wondering about the software tools you mentioned. How "common" is it for an animator to use something like Flipbook or PAP to "plan" a shot before even touching the 3D character (Sort of like animated thumbnails, not necessarily polished hand drawn animation)? Is that way of "planning" realistic in a bigger studio setting, or do most animators stick to thumbnails on paper? I was also curious as to how you're supposed to figure out what poses happen on what frames, but using the "real-life" timing makes perfect sense.

Everyone has a different workflow and if you can quickly show your ideas using Flipbook or PAP then feel free to use them. Just don’t spend too much time in those programs where they becomes detrimental to the planning process. Your sketches should be a quick way to plan ideas without wasting too much time in software. With enough experience, you will likely discover it is easier to show all of your ideas on paper than spend the extra time (even if it is 30 minutes) animating them in a 2d software package. Plus, at many studios you already have 2d animated version of the shot called an animatic (essentially a moving storyboard) so it may not be necessary to recreate the shot in 2d with your own sketches if the animatic already shows your intentions.

Animation Mentor Staff


Ian said...

Hey there Shawn and AM folk.

I've been chewing on a question/ proposition to run by you for a while now. Its a tricky thing to bring up without sounding like a negative nelly, so here comes my up front disclaimer..... I LOVE WHAT AM IS DOING AND AM A HUGE FAN OF WHAT IT DOES AND HAS ACHIEVED!! Everything that follows should be read through that filter, I just find these issues interesting and think they may be healthy to explore (if they get noticed at all :P )

OK so the question I have is, does AM run the risk of homogenizing on-line animation education or as it becomes more influential even animation education in general?

You would have to concede that AM has become a huge presence when it comes to the on-line animation scene. And while I appreciate that the tutors come from a broad range of backgrounds (if different feature studios could be called a broad range), the information does all come through a similar set of channels and systems. In spite of the diversity it is fair to say that an AM student generally create animation with a recognisable feel to it, and I don't just mean because we all know what the rigs look like, I'm talking about the posing, timing and spacing etc. Some might argue that its just “good” or “better” animating, but I'm afraid I don't accept that, I've been around long enough to know that there are so many different ways of approaching animation and many different kinds of movement that can be considered appealing.

I think we need to really be aware of the channels through which information comes to us because it does influence the content to a degree. In society as a white middle class male I may look at the information available to me in the mainstream media and think it accommodates a range of views, but someone who speaks a different language would be exposed to different information, someone who can afford different kinds of media (more or less) would be also be exposed to different information again. The result may not always be as peaceful, but its interesting, textured and diverse, words I would like to see applied to animation and the work of animation students. Perhaps a silly big sweeping example, but its the principle I'm getting at :P

What can a growing company do about this? Mm good question. I don't think anyone can expect AM to deliberately stop growing, perhaps its just a case of being aware and looking out for opportunities to deliver information in new ways and bring it in from different (or even contradictory) sources. As AM now occupies a position that no animation educational institution has before, reaching out across the world, should it feel a responsibility to foster and encourage new and challenging ideas in animation? Would it be fair for us to expect if of you? :P

Any thoughts?

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