TJ Phan’s Animation Workflow

I love this!
Earlier I posted about Cameron Fielding‘s fantastic in-depth explanation of how he created the intense, physical action in Turok. Now TJ Phan jumps into the mix, with a great explanation of how he animates. He talks about thumbnailing and video reference, but I think the most important thing he does is treat each key like a drawing.

When you key every control of your rig on the same frame, and then do that not only for your Key Poses, but also for your Breakdowns, Extremes, Eases, and Overlap you wind up with something much akin to a traditional hand drawn style of animating. If you do that and wind up with shots as polished and dynamic as TJ’s then you can be certain of at least two things:

  1. You know what you’re doing
  2. You’re pretty darn good at it

Just don’t let it get to your head.

This isn’t the first time I have heard of computer animators working this way. Thinking back, I remember seeing a W.I.P. version of Kyle Mohr‘s dialogue exercise, “games” that was animated with stepped keys down to nearly every frame. I can’t find that version now, but you can see the final product on his website. Justin Barrett posted some really sweet examples including this shot of Puss in Boots.

I think it’s high time I scrounged up the discipline and confidence to try it myself. Thanks, TJ!

PS: Don’t you just love animating in a time when there is so much easy to access advice and instruction on the Internet?

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