Welcome to Human Movement Class
Welcome to the Character Movement Course at Stop Motion University online. In this course we will dive into exploring character movement in the 3 main forms of animation (2D, CGI, Stop Motion) while not just examining the movements of bipedal humans but also how to infuse character and performance into the animation process. This specific course does not require you to understand the basics of animation principles such as animating on 1’s and 2’s. We will cover a lot of this in the animation classes. There are somethings that may seem confusing at first but when you just into the actual lessons you will pickup on the methods, lingo, and principles pretty fast.
There is no time limit for completing this course. However, there is a final for which you will need to submit once you have completed the the lessons if you intend to earn your certificate. If you get stuck then your should remember that practice is where you develop understanding. Just reading through the lessons and watching the videos is not enough. Most animators that work professionally spent the formative years animating on their own before they started working in the field. Once in the field it was like attended school all over again. In fact most animators will tell you that they are always learning and picking up new techniques and skills. There is an endless amount of instructional information out there and I don’t want you to think this is the end all be all course. This course is really a deep study to get you started in doing character animation.
One of the reasons we use the 3 animation styles is that 2D, CGI, and Stop Motion are very different from each other but at the same time very similar. 2D animation allows you to block out key poses and deal with timing, CGI allows for those key poses to be implemented and then the computer fills in the in-between keys, those two techniques allow for a better understanding of how movement is produced before diving into the linear straight forward style of stop motion animation. You can always fix 2D and CGI animation with no hassle. Stop Motion requires a little more technical effort, skill, and practice to fix after it has been animated.
Here’s what you will need for the class. First, you will need a computer of obviously. This can be anything from Mac, Windows, or Linux. Next you will need to have some kind of input device for making animation. That would be a mouse, tablet, camera, or scanner. It all depends on how you want to record or control your animation. Software is completely up to you but I personally would suggest that you purchase a copy of Dragonframe software for stop motion purposes. You can however get a copy of Stop Motion Studio for free or get the Pro version fo a little bit of pocket change. If you are doing stop motion in this course you will need a camera. A web camera is ideal for beginners but a DSLR is preferred for more of a professional look. You should also download a copy of Sketchbook Pro from Autodesk. It’s free and will allow you to draw flipbooks for planning out your animations. We use this software a lot in the course. If you are planning on doing CGI animation then that software is completely up to you to decide. In this course however we will be using MAYA 2020 by Autodesk. You can however use any CGI software you like. CGI software just really gives you a wider perspective and allows you to see where you could improve upon your animation techniques. However, it is not required for this course.
We do have a textbook recommendation for you and that would be Richard Williams Animation Survival Kit. It is THE BOOK to own as an animator and your instructor will reference some of Richard Williams examples while also expanding on them and contradicting them. It is advised that you eventually obtain both a physical copy and a digital copy of the book since it will make a difference in your animation journey when doing your own animation research. Though this is the most widely referenced book in the industry you will notice as you study more and more that the book is just reference or a starting point. It is not the end all be all. That knowledge really comes from your practice and implementation of technique per character. Not all characters or moments are animated the same.
It is super important that you keep an open mind when trying to learn animation. Many professional animators that have been in the field for 20 plus years will tell you that you cannot do something when in fact other artists have done that specific technique many times over. A great example is animators saying you cannot convey emotion other than through the face. This is absolutely not true and you can easily look at the Magic Carpet character from Disney’s Aladdin to disprove that mentality. Others will say you cannot get good animation except when you animate on 1’s. This is also a falsehood. Richard Williams and many other animators say this constantly yet there are techniques on 2’s and 3’s that when done properly add not just realism but also style to a performance. The best thing you can do as a beginner animator is to keep an open mind. I always like to say “Open Minds will Open Doors”. So don’t be afraid and dive right in.