Animation can be described as one of the hardest skills to master. It can take an animator years and years of practice and devotion to get where they want to be.
That said, animation is always moving and adapting. It is not something one can actually master, but rather a process of developing skills and continuous learning.
We have put together a list of great and unique animation tips that you may have overlooked or never really come across. What makes these tips more valuable is that they have originated from some of the industry’s finest and experienced animators.
1. Draw and redraw over and over again (until it looks spontaneous)
(expert animation tips by Aaron Blaise)
Planning goes a long way in video animation. Disney Animator Aaron Blaise suggests that there needs to be an element of unplanned, spontaneous drawing. That doesn’t mean, however, that you dive into your project without having a clear plan in mind. Storyboards are commonly used amongst most video animators and acts as a visual aid as well as a timeline for your animation.
Aaron is suggesting that once you have a general idea of your animation outline, keep drawing until it’s right. Keep sketching your animations until they become part of you. Only then will you see your drawing become free flowing and your animations burst to life.
For more tips from Aaron Blaise, check out his website here.
2. Start working remotely
(Expert animation tip by Paul Clements)
Paul Clements is a motion designer and animator for various leading brands around the world. Naturally, Paul has worked in various locations and amongst different office cultures.
My output literally doubled when I started working remotely. The constant interruptions in an office are a productivity killer for artists
— Paul Clements (@paulclementstv) April 21, 2016
Although Paul’s tip can be taken as a form of saying “just don’t work in an office”, we believe it goes much further into the motivation of an animator. Animators want to be inspired. They want to be in an environment that encourages them to work and stimulates creativity. Understandably, animators working in a dull office all day, with people that constantly interrupt them can cause productivity to falter. The key is to find a setting that you feel comfortable with. If you work in an office, find a desk that allows you to free your mind, away from any distractions, but close enough to bounce ideas off.
For more tips from Paul Clements, check out his website here.
3. You will be judged on how well you listen
(Expert animation tip by Lino DiSalvo)
Lino DiSalvo is a veteran animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios and was the head of animation for the popular film Frozen. Lino says feedback is a vital piece of any animation.
You may have a broad array of animation skills and a great attention to detail, but without taking on board feedback from the right people, your animation may never get the attention it deserves. While animators are encouraged to get creative and push their imaginative boundaries, it’s vital you follow any piece of advice or comments you may get.
For more tips from Lino DiSalvo, check out his twitter feed here.
4. Immediately grab your audience’s attention
(Expert animation tip by Scott Wright)
Scott Wright is an experienced video animator who has worked for DreamWorks animation for over 15 years. During Scott’s time at DreamWorks, he was part of the team that worked on Madagascar, Over the Hedge, and more recently How to Train Your Dragon. Scott Wright says that when creating an animation, you MUST immediately grab your audience’s attention.
One of the biggest challenges any animator or artist will face is immediately attracting and attaining the attention of their audience. Did you know that the first seconds of your video are the most important? Although not quite as relevant for full-length movies, in short videos, the first couple of seconds will either win over your viewers or lose them.
For more tips from Scott Wright, check out his website here.
5. Take constructive criticism
(Expert animation tips by Dana Broadway-Masson)
Feedback comes in all shapes and sizes. Dana argues that feedback comes from various places of knowledge and experience. Don’t feel offended by any of it. Sometimes a person’s individual preference or sense of style can influence the types of comments they give you. Furthermore, don’t be disheartened if you don’t receive any positive feedback. People may think of the constructive criticism as an opportunity to discuss things you should change, even if they had positive reactions to your work. You can read Dana’s full article on how to overcome your insecurities here.
Dana Boadway-Masson is a senior mentor on the popular website AnimationMentor.com. Dana has worked on animation projects across all scopes including games, commercials and DVD movies.