Saturday, 9 May 2009


Techniques and Processes in my third year has really helped me develop my knowledge of the skills involved in the industry I am most interested in: the Animation Industry. I have always been interested in Animation, but in my final year I have taking my work, research and practise to a much higher standard. I have learned how an animated film is created from start to finish, from concept to editing and I have done so by actually producing my own cartoons. However, it would not be possible to have done this without learning the fundamental skills required to make things move on screen in a convincing manner and that is where techniques and processes has come in.

Run, walks, jumps, sneaks, jogs are all standard things in cartoon animation, but learning how to do them and perfecting takes time and practise. I have studied all of them and have practised many industry standard techniques all year, before applying them in my studio work. The most fundamental thing to learn in animation is the bouncing ball technique. This is simple to draw a ball that bounces up and down on the ground convincingly, with weight and conviction so that you ‘feel’ the bounce as it were real. Although this sounds relatively easy, it isn’t quite as simple a it sounds and many times I have had to go back to this necessary skill to re-learn the timing. Each ball looks like it is made out of something else. One ball with be made of rubber and squash up, the other will be made of wood and just hit the ground and stay rigid. After all if you were watching a cartoon and a bowling ball sprung around like a tennis ball, you wouldn’t believe it.

Learning to make a character walk is one of the most difficult things to do, but it is a necessary skill. As a child it can take you up to two years to learn to walk and after that it can take you a lifetime to perfect it. I have always tried to run before I could walk and it is the same with animation. I am still learning walks of all kinds, I am still practising runs and doing them well is very difficult due to the movement that the whole body takes when it lends itself to the activity of walking. Later in the year I read a document that has stuck with me since, “The Twelve Basic Principles of Animation.” Squash, Stretch, Secondary Action, Weight, Timing, Balance…all these new theories to apply to my work. I took each one in and practised them in my T&P so that when I applied them to my studio work, they were rehearsed.

But wasn’t just skills I learned about in T&P, I learned how the industry worked and how each department within the industry contributed to the final piece. I learned about storyboarding, layout artists, background design, special effects, directing, editing, sound recording, foley and I tried them all myself. By separating the jobs, I didn’t feel like I was doing it all by myself, I felt like I was working in all the different departments and facing all the different challenges that each department sees everyday. This gave me greater understand of how they worked together, with one another to produce a final product.

Techniques and Processes this year also provided me with the opportunity to research and discover certain resources that have become invaluable to me. Forums, websites, people, blogs, books, documents and articles have helped me further my understanding of what it takes to make a great piece of work. Without the opportunity to make mistakes in an open environment, I would never have learned from them and I would never have discovered all of these great resources from which to learn and take inspiration.