Timing

To experience this, take a coin and film it in stages under a video camera. First plot out the timing- where you want the ball to hit the ground. Then push the coin around - taking a picture at each frame - and see what looks right or wrong. Try it with different timings and spacing. You're already animating. You're already dealing with the important fundamentals and you haven't even made a single drawing. You're doing pure animation without any drawings....

Lesson

Unplug Take off your head phones Turn off the radio Switch off the CD Turn off the tape Close the door. Like many artists, I had the habit of listening to classical music or jazz while working. On one of my first visits to Milt Kahl I innocently asked CLASSICAL M USIC Wf f IL YOURS WO Kltl6 Since it came from a genius, this made quite an impression on me. After this I learnt to face the silence and think before swirling my pencil around. My animation improved right away. This has been the case...

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From the left - Ken Harris, Grim Natwick and Art Babbitt, with students Richard Purdum and me outside my Soho Square studio in London, 1973. But how to make it believable I didn't go there to drink Milt's bathwater or to find out what Frank Thomas had for breakfast. I would fire my carefully prepared list of questions at them and later write down everything they said. These wonderful virtuosos became my friends and were incredibly generous with their help....

Wve

In the late 1930s when tracing and painting the drawings on to eels was all done by hand, many painters became very adept at 'dry brushing' the desired transparent live action blur effect. Animators indicated the blur on their pencil drawings and the 'dry brushers' would cleverly blend the colours together to simulate the transparency in the blur. After the 1941 animators' strike and World War II, budgets shrank and so did the use of skilled backup painters. But a lot of animators just kept on...

Drawing In Time

Why animate Everyone knows it's a lot of hard work doing all those drawings and positions. So what's the hook Why do it Answer Our work is taking place in time. We've taken our 'stills' and leapt into another dimension. Drawings that walk seeing a series of images we've made spring to life and start walking around is already fascinating. Drawings that walk and talk seeing a series of our drawings talking is a very startling experience. Drawings that walk and talk and think seeing a series of...

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Now we'll keep the same timing - again taking one second for the coin to move across the page. But we'll change the spacing by slowly easing out of position number 1 and easing gradually into position number 25. It still takes one second for the coin to get over there. It has the same timing - but there is very different movement because of the different spacing. Both start together - and both hit the middle together - but the spacing is quite different. And so the action is very different. You...

Time To Draw

This section is really for classical animators. However, I haven't been surprised to find that most of the leading computer animators draw rather well, so it may be interesting to them too. It certainly helps enormously to be able to put down your ideas - even in stick figures. For the classical animator it is crucial. Drawing should become second nature, so that the animator can concentrate on the actual actions and the timing of them and give the performance life. When you're doing cartoons...