Time for BETTER Learning material


I know that it is a marketing move by toonboom to “sell” the eLearning tuts.

This however is not so cool for the basic home user, who wants to buy a product and immediately make a complete cartoon.

By playing around a bit, you get the hang of things eventually, but it is not enough to complete a project.

I bought this only for home/personal use and to make toons for my nephew that is 4 yrs old.

I have no doubt that toonboom is the best product out there if you know how to use it, but with the lack of user tuts to get us thru the difficulties, makes toonboom the “worst” product without a doubt.

Its the equivalent of buying a car, but you have to pay for driving lessons.

Its time that toonboom give it users a decent means of support.

As a suggestion, toonboom could have a FREE daily,weekly,monthly forum post of their developers tips and work-arounds.

What do you say toonboom?

When you buy Microsoft Word you don’t expect Microsoft to teach you to be a writer or to teach you language or spelling or grammer. You are buying a tool to use as an enabler and amplifier to skills that you must aquire and bring to the table. When you buy Microsoft Excel you don’t expect Microsoft to teach you to be an accountant or an engineer or a mathmatician. Buying a saw and a hammer doesn’t mean you are ready to build a house. If you want to learn skills you go to school or you study books or take lessons and somebody has to pay for those educational services. Just my opinion. -JK

Oh. Now I see. Toonboom wants the beginner to get a taste of the product, and once satisfied, will have no choice but to buy the learning material.

Its just like Microsoft. Give the public a taste and then squeeze them dry for all they got.

Good luck with that then.

Well i guess i’ll have to learn it myself then.

I’ll try and finish a cartoon for my nephew before September 14, his birthday.

I only know how to use the traditional frame-for-frame method to animate my characters.

I also have used cut-out animation, but I do not know when to use it. It sometimes seems to take a bit longer.

Here’s hoping that toonboom offers just a little bit more support.

I’ll be looking thru the forum posts to gather much needed info.

Your Uncle

The TBS product support team does an outstanding job. TBS has been providing significant learning aids over the last year both free and for a fee. TBS provides the resources for these forums. I don’t work for TBS nor do I have an ownership share in their company. I am very glad TBS provides as much support and learning materials as they do and I’m sure they will contintue to do so.

But it isn’t reasonable to expect them to provide a product and support that product and to teach every user the skills of filmmaking and animating too. We have an active users group and there are many of us here who vollenteer our time and knowledge to help others. So we are here to help you.

I posted this and the previous post because I personally am getting tired of people demanding extra services beyond product support for free. That just sends a message to the manufacturer to raise the base product price to cover those extra expenses. The TBS unbundled approach is far more fair to the users. If you need extras then you should pay for them and if you don’t, why would you want to pay the extra cost.

Also, I find it a shame that people don’t understand or appreciate the skill and knowledge that is required to create animated cartoons. Most of us who do it for a profession have spent years of study, learning and practicing to develop our skills. And we share that skill with beginners freely, but it is totally a misconception to think that a person just by purchasing a software program is going to be able to create much of anything without putting in a considerable amount of time and hard work learning the craft much less how to manipulate the software. -JK

Ok. I do agree.

Then I’d appreciate the senior help.

Other that cut-out animation and frame-for-frame animation, are there any other techniques that are at my disposal?

you can also animate single imported images (even photos).

when it comes to drawing, there is an interesting method of animating pose-to-pose. you draw the key poses of your film and then you inbetween the rest.
at the end of the day it’s also a frame-to-frame animating (like any other method), but the approach is fully different.

check also the jk’s blog (the url is in his signature) in your spare time. there are a few very interesting articles about animating in general.

Thanks for the pointers. I will try it out.

A great question, and it deserves some discussion in formulating and answer. To begin with, the term “frame by frame” is a little to general, as all animation is basically created frame by frame. I find that learning is greatly enhanced when care is taken to choose terms and descriptions. So instead of “frame by frame” I prefer to use the term “fully animated”. This then contrasts to the term “limited or partially animated”.

Fully animated simple refers to the technique where by each frame that changes is completely redrawn. Notice that I said each frame that changes. Which is a way of indicating that the changes don’t have to be on every frame in sequence but rather can be spaced over more than one frame. But when a change occurs the entire frame is redrawn. (Backrounds and props excluded).

Partially animated (limited) refers to animation where only parts of the changed frame are redrawn while other parts are not. For most 2D animation this is usually what is done. It can be through the use of cut outs or not. One distinct characteristic of partial animation VS full animation is the increased importance and usage of layers. Full animation is more often done on a single layer per character while limited animation relies on seperating the character into multiple layers so that the parts that aren’t moving can be held on one layer while the moving parts can be on other layers. The number of layers used then becomes a function of the timing of the various movements. Parts that move at the same speed and are timed together can share a common layer while parts that move at different speeds need to be on seperate layers so they can change at different rates.

Most people start out with a bit of a misconception which is that limited animation is easier. This isn’t really true. Limited animation requires less drawings because some of the character’s parts don’t change as often as the other parts, but that also takes a lot more planning and understanding of the action to create. Puppet animation is attractive because of the reduced drawing requirements but it is also more difficult to create because of the amount of planning and thought required to build, pose and animate the puppet in a way that doesn’t look really stiff and jerky.

It is actually easier for most beginning students to learn full animation first. The key to all animation is to get a sense of timing of movements. So if you begin with very simple shaped characters and just learn how to move them effectively then you will improve as an animator much more quickly. Start by animating a sphere or a block or even a bag full of sand and you will learn to undersand how movement is created and how to show forces and weight in your animations.

Check out this sack of flour example, it is produced with a very simple character in full animation but you will notice the amount of personality and energy that has been instilled in basically a bag of sand. -JK

well, it seems not many people are doing full animation of the human figure nowadays, but if anybody’s interested there is a great reference to work with in such cases → eadweard muybridge’s books.

1. the human figure in motion (dover publications, inc., n.y.) first published 1955, priced $25.95.
2. animals in motion (same), first published 1957, priced at $29.95.

for those, who don’t know muybridge, these are photos, but very special ones.
he took them in the 70s and 80s of the 19th century on gelatin dry plates with a set of 24 fixed cameras (opposite the background behind the objects, the lenses 6 inches apart), and two batteries of 12 portable cameras each, shooting pictures from behind, from the side and from the front of naked persons and animals, walking/running/jumping/performing many other activities.
all in all, some 100,000 negatives have been secured, and 750 plates of the sequenced movements have been selected.

they showcase the most impressive study of the motion of the pictured living objects, a magnificent help for any animator, who intends to display realistic movements in his/her films.

i own both, and they belong to the most valuable books in my library.

JK, since you brought up the subject, I’ve got a question about full animation. How does one redraw each frame without getting inconsistent lines? I find it kind of hard to get each frame drawn exactly alike (especially with a tablet) and as a result, the lines wobble. Any tips?

Sorry to get off subject, but I’ve been wondering about that. Thanks!

What, you don’t like the Ed,Edd, and Eddie look?

Seriously the best way to avoid the wobbles is to space your drawings more. The “spacing” of drawings in an animated sequence refers to the degree of charge between drawings. If your drawing are too closely spaced then most of your lines will fall on top of or too close to previous lines and you will get the wobbles. But if you space your drawings farther apart then very few of your lines will fall as close to previous lines and you will get a smoother action and no wobbles.

For those situations where you need to have some large percentage of lines exactly repeated, (closely spaced drawings), it is easiest to copy the drawing objects from a previous drawing and paste them into the next drawing and then cut out or erase the lines that need to change while being very careful that your pasted objects remains aligned exactly with the previous drawing. Not only does the cut and paste method help with the wobbles but it saves redrawing time.

Personally I tend to favor the greater spacing approach mostly. Just don’t get confused with concepts. Timing of an action is how many frames you use to represent the action. Spacing is the rate or degree of change between drawings. Most cartoon action looks better with drawings spaced enough so that the majority of lines aren’t falling in the same place from frame to frame. That means that for slower actions you will have more 3’s or even 4’s. (3’s means holding an exposure of a drawing 3 frames, etc.) But a combination of the two techniques I’ve outlined here should eliminate your issue with the wobbles.

If you want more info on this or other questions just ask here or start a new thread and I’ll do my best to try to offer some insight.-JK

Yes, that does help! I’ll keep that in mind.

Boy, there sure is a lot to learn about animation, isn’t there?

Wow. It seems that I had the wrong idea of animation completely.

I took some pointers and I ended up with a simple, partially animated character where only the mouth moved. I used 5, closely spaced, drawings and reduced redraw time by copying and pasting and only redrawing the mouth.

The character talks for about 30 seconds and it only took me 5 minutes to do it.

Question: Is it always best to color in drawings last?

I ask this because that is what I did with my character. I drew one drawing, colored it in, copied and pasted 4 new drawings, redrew and colored in the mouth area for each of the 4 drawings.

Question: Is there a quicker way to do the coloring in?

b.t.w Great articles JK!

Thanks for the help.

as i was doing animation workshops with asifa professionals, all guys traditional-oriented, they told me the following:
if you have a still scene, say, a sea view, then it’s better to have some wobbling to have the scene more lively, than to copy the environment and to have it completely still.

and they told me the trick to achieve it: make 3, or better 6 drawings in a sequence, then loop it as many times you need for the duration of your shot.

i tested this approach and i must say, it works for me, but i am perfectly aware that modern web animations require the work to be fast and there is possibly no time for such experiments.

i do all my colourings ( if i have any :wink: ) always in the end, because i jump then quickly from frame to frame and fill in with the paint bucket.

Conceptually this is true but perhaps we have a disconnect in terms. Wobbling as we have been discussing it here is a strobing effect produced by having lines nearly on top of previous lines so that the line appears to strobe or wobble. This can be seen as characteristic in the Ed Edd and Eddie cartoon show. It is an effect caused by a tiny mis-registration or alignment in drawings. I maybe wrong but what Rob is referring to are things like “moving holds” which are essentually shots that are more life like because in life things are never totally still. There will always be some secondary movements even if the character is just standing around. Things like eye blinks or brow movements or just slight shifting of the characters weight from one foot to the other. But even a background shot will have birds flying or clouds drifting or subtle wind movements of grass or plants. Nature is constantly in motion.

I try to avoid absolutes in answers, so I can only provide you an opinion on this based on experience. Most people apply color too soon. It is a natural process based on two impulses. First most people new to animation are still picture or snap shot oriented and so they feel compelled to finish each picture (frame) before moving to the next frame. Also most beginners are very anxious to see the finished product so the feel they need to see the color quickly.

An important conceptual idea in learning animation is that you want to change your thinking from snap shots to a flow across time. Most animators learn to work across multiple frames back and forth as they animate. Many times only doing parts of each frame across a sequence and then making several passes back and forth filling in more and more details of the action on each pass. This makes the work more fluid and focuses on the rhythm of the movement that would be lost if you pushed each frame to completion before working on the next frame.

The problem with adding color too soon is that it makes it more difficult to work on the animation. It blocks your view of shapes and lines in onion skinning. It also tends to lock forms in place and makes the animator reluctant to make adjustments and therefore the animation suffers. So my advice is totally work out the animation and test it as a “pencil test” with no filling of colors at all until you are satisfied and then you can go back an do your coloring and filling. The only exception to this is that there are times when you should fill your character’s pose all in black to produce a silhouette to check to see if the pose is really readable, meaning that you can tell exactly what the character is doing in the pose. If it isn’t readable then it is a poor or weak pose and should be changed. If it is readable you just delete the black fills and continue animating. -JK

this is a good reason to save all the fillings to the end, and my reason to do it as the last step.

as jk says, the most important things are the motion and the rhythm of the animation. if anything doesn’t work, or works badly in the preview, no colour will make it better. the colour filling is only for the final optics.