For me personally, I love seeing the work behind any animation(always an inspiration to me) from thumbnails, storyboards, animatic, rough animation, to the finished product so I thought it'd be fun to share how I'm animating my film, and animate in general(traditional paper and pencil, 3D is a bit different, but a lot the basics remain). Today I animated a very short 2 second scene of my character Ollie digging in a corner, not too technical compared to previous scenes involving Ollie, but it's a good glimpse into how I approach a scene--I know other people work in completely different ways and really everybody develops their own approach to animating, I know I invent new ways to approach it but usually come back to this way of working, just depends on what a scene calls for.
I start with looking at my animatic/storyboards to see how a scene will play out(length, any acting opportunities, need to consider music emphasis*like falling or a specific reaction that is helped with my music choice*). In this example, it was one board and minimal action(this is a slightly older board, he's been moved over more and that table leg isn't there):
I then open my sketchbook and begin to play around with the scene, how a character might act, move, etc. All very brief almost stick-man-esque thumbnails---I spend roughly 5 seconds on each little drawing(more often less than that). I'm only focused on the movement, I've had plenty of opportunities to work-out Ollie's design etc. No pretty drawings during this process. On this particular bit, I played around with how Ollie might dig around, how his arms might throw stuff, etc. At one point I "YouTubed" Frisbees and dogs digging in holes for brief reference along with "acting" out how my arm moves when I throw something behind me(when I thumbnailed I drew him facing the opposite way*thought it might work better*, when I then looked at my layout I realized it still worked a lot better having him facing the original way):
From there I start animating. The video below shows my entire process(looped a few times) so I'll just describe it now. I start with my key poses, in this case my primary action is all in the arms so I focus on nailing the timing down on this particular pass, I don't worry about keeping Ollie consistent and in place for the entire sequence, I draw him once to know where he is and then proceeded to focus on his arms. After I rough in my first pass(this particular version has an ending part where he pushes a stack of books away, but I had to cut it due to time constraints), I look at it and make notes of how long I'm holding each drawing, realize what's working and what's not(Like I mentioned earlier--cutting that ending push scene, so he's just digging around) and then head back to the cube and start smoothing the arm action out, test this pass, again watching it carefully and adjusting my timing as needed before diving into my third pass. This is where I worry about the rest of Ollie(planned straight-ahead animation), I work on all of his secondary actions(hips, head, collar fluff, feet, etc.) and also do any necessary cleanup work(like adding his goggles, line on his pants, etc.) before pencil testing it again and at least for just Ollie, calling it good. For this scene I only had 3 passes, however I have other scenes that required more passes or even re-doing sections of animation, so how quickly I finish a scene depends on how demanding the acting/movement, etc. is. While I finished this section today, I recently had another scene with Ollie that took me a good week to complete. I will be adding effects animation and of course there's a background, but you'll get to see all of that extra fluff in April when I finish my entire film.
Anyways, hope you enjoyed this little film preview. :) Not the most flattering scene for Ollie, but there's plenty of other shots that make up for this one. haha. Well time to go plan out my next 3D project....