2D Animation

A short course on the basics of 2D animation by reymendoza.com I will be constantly updating this page so it would be relevant to the current situations.

What is 2D Animation?
 The creation of moving pictures in a two-dimensional environment, such as through "traditional" cel animation or in computerized animation software. This is done by sequencing consecutive images, or "frames", that simulate motion by each image showing the next in a gradual progression of steps. The eye can be "fooled" into perceiving motion when these consecutive images are shown at a rate of 24 frames per second or faster.

2D animation figures are created and/or edited on the computer using 2D bitmap graphics or created and edited using 2D vector graphics. This includes automated computerized versions of traditional animation techniques such as of, interpolated morphing, onion skinning and interpolated rotoscoping.

2D animation has many applications, including analog computer animation, Flash animation and PowerPoint animation. Cinemagraphs are still photographs in the form of an animated GIF file of which part is animated.

This is 2d

Famous 2d animation characters/show
  1. Disney Characters such as Snow White, Goofy, Mickey Mouse
  2. Popeye
  3. Mexopolis
  4. PHineas and Ferb
  5. The Simpsons
This is 3d

Famous 3d characters/show/movies
  1. Shrek
  2. Toy Story
  3. Finding Nemo
  4. The Incredibles
  5. Megamind

2d has x and y axis only

A sample 2d animation and a quick tutorial

What are the elements of a 2D Animation?
  1. Planning - plan your animation, dont even start drawing without a plan or a storyboard
  2. Clear Message - make sure viewers can understand what you want convey 
  3. A Good Story - even a simple black and white animation (disney did that) would be effective if the story is good. In contrast, even the best animation tools and techniques would not be effective if the story is dull or not interesting. This also means you need to create a storyboard before even starting to animate.
  4. Good Grasp of Motion Principles - 12 principles of Animation
  5. Your drawings, or photos
  6. Animation Software

Softwares used for 2D Animation

There are a lot of softwares that can be used for 2d animation. workflows varies depending on the artist. You can even use photographs to depict animation.

Two dimensional (2D) animation software adds movement and action to static images. These programs use either vector drawn or bitmapped images as objects. The motion of animation is perceived by the viewer from a series of frames. For the motion to appear smooth a minimum of 15 frames persecond (fps) is generally required. 

The list here is short but are some of the popular tools around. 
  1. Photoshop - CS 6 is just around the corner as of this writing but CS 5 can do a heck of a job producing simple animations. By default the animation window is hidden. To show it , Go the menu bar at the top - Window > Animation to enable and see the animation panel
  2. Adobe Flash
  3. Adobe After Effects -
  4. Adobe Premiere
  5. ToonBoom  - see wikipedia
  6. Pencil (free)
  7. Claymation Studio
  8. Animation Workshop
2D Animation Software: What to Look For

2D animation software should provide you will all the tools you need to get your project done and out the door in the formation you want it to be in while also being easy to use and having enough help and support options to answer any questions if they may arise. Any program that doesn’t meet all of these criteria is likely one you should pass over unless it has some other redeeming quality that makes it warrant a second look.

With any program that caters to artistic, technologically savvy people out there, the more features a program has, the more likely it’s going to go over well with even the pickiest animator. The features have to be useful and functional as well. Companies shouldn’t seek to boggle people’s minds with a bloated set of features. A quality over quantity approach should be the plan before all else.

Having a lot of options when it comes to bringing files into your projects and saving your project as certain file formats can help expand what you can do with 2D animation software. The program you choose must allow you to import many types of files and save your projects in several different file formats. It’s better to have a large amount of options in both areas than not enough.

Ease of Use
Animation is a very complex and intricate process that requires a lot of steps and time to complete even a fraction of an overall creation. It’s important that manufacturers do all they can to make learning how to use and master their product as painless as possible for the home user. 2D animation software that’s easy to use can draw a lot of people into the animation field that otherwise wouldn’t be interested in the craft

Types of 2D Animation

  • Cel Animation -  (traditional animation) is based on a series of frames or cels in which the object is redrawn in each consecutive cel to depict motion. Cel comes from the word celluloid (a transparent sheet material) which was first used to draw the images and place them on a stationary background.
A brief history of cell animation

  • Digital Animation - paperless version of traditional animation where drawings are drawn straight unto the computer
  • Path Animation - Path Based animation is the simplest form of animation and the easiest to learn. It moves an object along a predetermined path on the screen. The path could be a straight line or it could include any number of curves. Often the object does not change, although it might be resized or reshaped.
Western Spaghetti - a stop animation film

  •  Sand Animation - sand is moved around on a back- or front-lighted piece of glass to create each frame for an animated film. This creates an interesting effect when animated because of the light contrast.

  • Cut-out animation, is made by cut  pieces of paper card fabric e.t.c. They are place under glass then a frame is taken then the cut out is moved slightly and a new frame is taken. Probably the  most well known of cut out animation is the Monty Python sketches.

Methods in Animation
  • Onion Skinning - Onion Skinning is used in the process of creating cel animations. It allows you to see a faint outline of the previous cel so you can draw the changes for the next cel.
  • Tweening - from the word - "in between" tweening is a method where the first cel of an animation and the last cel of animation are selected and the animation program calculates all the cells in between.
Tweening in Adobe Photoshop

  • Rotoscoping is made by tracing over live video to create realistcic movement. Each frame is traced over individually then the reel footage is removed leaving you with just the traced drawing.

cinemagraphs are still photographs in the form of animated GIF where the animator chooses the part where to animate.

Drawing Exercises to simulate walk cycle


Create the Walk Animation

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Animation

Growing Vines in Photoshop and After Effects

  • http://matty-davis.posterous.com/pages/types-of-2d-animation
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animation
  • www.toonboom.com/ 


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