Jan 22, 2007

2D.. whats that ?

Well.. that was a joke. I know that personally I have to force myself to try and think in a 2D way when I work - I'm talking about thinking poses, thinking thumbnailing, trying to 'plan' my animation in a more traditional way. I never had any formal animation training, and so I learnt to animate in a more straight ahead, and layered fashion. Personally the change of technique to a more 'blocked' approach is my biggest creative challenge right now... its hard.

Anyway.. the point of this post is that I wanted to point you towards a great little program I found recently on the net. Its called "Plastic Animation Paper" and is simply a small, easy to use, and compact little 2D animation program. Its free too.

I was working on the blocking for my project at home ( and yes I will post info on this soon ), and I was getting stuck with a particular broad action. I was posing through it when I thought "I think I need to add a pose inbetween here to get the effect I want", but I wasn't 100% sure if it really would work. This is the problem with 3D - I then have to spend about 20 minutes posing up that frame ( for a rough pose at that ) ... this to me seems fruitless as I just wanted to see if a shape would make for a more expressive transition.
So I thought it best to draw up a few poses in very loosely in Plastic Animation Paper, and asses it there. It was remarkably successful, and in fact I ended up animating the action in a way I`m certain I wouldn't have thought of If I hadn't done this.

There are simple options for frame management and playback, and a cool 'lightbox' feature to see your frames underneath. This drawing is embarassing, but a good example of the basic kind of image needed to explore an idea.

To me, moments of realisation like that really mean something. I do plan and draw my ideas, but only very loosely, and I dont spend too long thinking about the actual mechanics of how A gets to B because I like to concentrate on the performance. Using a small 2D animation prog however, can really help you concentrate on that part when the times comes to nail down exactly how A does get to B.

You can grab the program here: Plastic Animation Paper

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