Friday, 2 October 2015

Glen Keene and The Secret of Animation - It's All in the Planning

Glen Keane. Wikimedia
The secret of great animation is in the planning. Open up a copy of Autodesk Maya, the leading 3D software, and you just get a blank screen.  With CG animation (or indeed any animation) you get nothing for free. So how do you fill this blank space with creative, entertaining animation?

The answer is - you need to learn to thumbnail. That is to say, you must learn to plan out your work with sketches and scribbles, which create a kind of visual road map of where you want to go.

In the video below, animation tutor Alex Williams analyses Glen Keane's approach to thumbnail skteches and shows how Glen uses them to create beautiful animation. 

The video looks carefully at some thumbnails done by Glen for one of his shots on Disney's Oliver and Company.  Look closely at the thumbnails, check out the final shot, and you will see how closely Glen's planning matches his final animation result.

Does it matter that these thumbnails were done for a 2D feature? Not at all - the process is the same whether or not you are planning a hand-drawn shot or a 3D shot.  Here at Escape we teach our students traditional drawing skills to help them get better at making thumbnail sketches.

And this really is the secret of great animation.  Plan your shot out well, think it through, and know in advance what it is you want to do. Do this right, and your shots will always work.

Fail to do this, and you will have great difficulty creating excellent animation.

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