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Questions About Traditional Animation

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Questions About Traditional Animation

Postby Pepino » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:32 am

Hello AnimationNation,

first of all, i'm very grateful that my account has been activated. Thanks a lot! :)
My name is Pepijn (Peppin in English) Claus, an animation student in Rits (School of Arts), Brussels, Belgium. I'm in my second year at the moment.
Although I've learned a lot so far, there are still some things I don't understand about animation. Timing charts in particular. Hopefully some of you can help me out!

What I understand:


First start with the keys (1 and 9), then the breakdown (5, the drawing that defines the curve, which shouldn't be an inbetween) and finally the inbetweens (4 and 6, 3 and 7, …)

This is what I know. It's sort of a "basic" timing chart. The thing is: I use this chart for almost évery movement, which makes my animations very even and because of that very dull.

This is what I don't understand:

say, we have a chart on thirds:
Where do I put the breakdown?


Or here?

Or is it like it doesn't matter if it's 3 or 4, as long as you have a curve?

I also have a question about the in-betweens (2 and 5) in this chart. Is it necessary, because 2 and 5 are not in the middle of 3 and 4, to draw three more drawings (which I will throw away later) for getting exact in-betweens? Like this:


Or is it okay if I just "feel" how the drawings must look like? So that three more drawings are unnecessary?
Or does it not matter- whatever pleases you? It's a dumb question, but I want to know what technique work best.

I know my questions are sort of vague, and I hope my English is understandable…

I have the same questions with charts on quarters: where do I put the breakdown?


Another question I have is about the anticipation:
Say, someone has an idea:
I draw an anticipation:
I want the chart for my antic like this:
And then this chart for lifting his arm:
The thing is, because throughout the animation the arm is following the same curve, these drawings would almost look the same (same position):
Is this something we have to avoid, or does it not matter?

One last question I have is about the settle
Say, I want to create an animation where someone points his finger.
First I draw the keys
Where do I draw the settle?
After the key? (From 5 to 8)

Or béfore the key, so that drawing 5 will be the settle, and 8 is the key?

Is there a rule of thumb, or does it depend on the movement?

That's all. Thanks for reading my questions. Maybe it are minor issues, perhaps the questions are stupid (?), but these things have been bothering me for a long time.

Hopefully you can help me out, means a lot to me.

Thanks in advance,


P.S. I know my English is not great, sorry about that!
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Re: Questions About Traditional Animation

Postby Charles » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:11 pm

Hey Pepijn! Welcome to AN. Your English is fine.

My philosophy is do what's right for the animation and do what works without getting too caught up with technical details such as where to place breakdowns.

When I animate traditionally I avoid timing charts based upon thirds. I always went to the halfway mark or the quarter mark and it worked out pretty well. Or I would forgo the timing chart and animate straight ahead getting something that is right for what I'm looking to achieve and them map out a timing chart as an afterthought.

That's me and I realize that everyone is different and has their own ways.

Again, in reply to your concerns, the best advice I can give is to find what's right for what you're doing and not get too formulaic. Even with anticipation and follow through / settles I look for what works for the particular segment, scene or sequence and then go with it. Trial and error along with experimentation will do the trick.

Reference Preston Blair's "Animation" and Richard williams' "Animators Survival Kit".

Hope this helps. Good luck!

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Re: Questions About Traditional Animation

Postby Pepino » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:55 am

Hey Charles,

thanks a lot for your response! Great advice! :)
I'm also very grateful for your recommendations!

Good luck with your animations!

I wish you all the best,

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Re: Questions About Traditional Animation

Postby marius » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:21 am

Here's the best that I can offer for advice. As charles said it's important to find what feels best to you. I'm just sharing the logic I follow.
Gonna try to address your questions best I can:
1. Thirds- I treat thirds like i do quarters. I would find the drawings for BOTH 3 and 4, 3 favoring the start and 4 favoring the end poses. Sometimes I find the phantom even breakdown to help find those drawings.

2. Question 2, about inbetweens 2 and 5- It's not necessary to do the drawings that you would normally throw away, IF you have a strong instinct for art position. I would recommend finding them, because it will make your animations stronger, and is a great exercise to practice anyways...

3. Question 3, charts on quarters. Pretty much same answer as question 1.

4. The antic question. Position 2 and 4 LOOK like they could be the same drawing and that solution Could work. But the reality is 4 should be a little different because the arm is on a journey to a bend, not a straight swing back. So position 2 is a breakdown between 2 straight arms, and position 4 should be an in-between from a straight arm to a curve. Say you want to keep the arm straight for position 4. I'd then just find the in-between position between position 4, and 5 and use that as my position 2, that way the art won't "stick".

5. The settle question. Your first illustration looks to me like it cushions into the pose. It sounds like you are trying to achieve an overshoot/settle. That looks like it's better represented by your second illustration ( ... 013032.jpg)If that's the case, I'm not sure about your position 4. It seems like it might slow down your movement. The way I'd handle it is move position 4 to the even break down position. Position 3 I'd put evenly between 1 and 4, and 2 would be an in-between between 1 and 3. I would use position 5 as my overshoot (extreme) and 8 as my end key. 6 would be my even breakdown and 7 would be the in-between. This last bit is all just what I would do. There's no one true answer. Experiment, and find what works best for you. Hope any of that helped, or made sense, and good luck!
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