Recently I taught some animation workshops for groups of mainly high school aged children and youth. This is the first time I’ve taught animation in any depth, though I ran one workshop on pixelation a few years ago. My main goal was to give a basic framework for people to think about animation in a different way, and teach skills that they can use themselves.

In the two and a half hour workshop everyone drew a character or object on a piece of animation paper. This became a key frame. I gave a very brief overview of key frames, breakdowns and in betweens and explained charts so each person could add a chart to their key frame. Using the chart, everyone then created breakdowns and in betweens to morph between their key frame and the next. For anyone who is unfamiliar with 2D animation, this blog post may help if you want to learn a bit more.

I ran two of these workshops, and you can see the results of both in the video above.

At the end of the workshop, I gave everyone paper and clips to make flip books. I left the direction of these completely open, and the results were varied and brilliant.

The final session I ran was a day and a half long specialism workshop, where I began by going much more in depth with the technical aspects of animation. I showed a few short animations as inspiration including The Illusion of Life, which is a brilliant little video summarising the 12 principles of animation in a clear way. As individuals and as a group they worked through a couple of exercises exploring timing and weight. I was impressed with the way people picked up on some of the principles from the video, thinking about squash and stretch and anticipation in particular.

After drawing thumbnails for their ideas, they began animating on paper. I encouraged everyone to key out their animation, using their thumbnails as poses. The group really thought about how many drawings they wanted between each key, and after the exercises they’d learnt a lot more about breakdowns and in betweens, especially the fact that they don’t have to be exactly halfway between one drawing and another.

Given that there was only one lightbox I pushed everyone to learn to flip the pages, and seeing people pick it up in only a couple of hours was incredible. Flipping the entire scene was also fantastic. I think there’s something really tactile and fun about animating on paper, and I’m glad I could share that.

The films that were created are far beyond anything I anticipated. Real thought went into the making of them, and everyone made an effort to put into practice principles they’d only just learnt. The end results are beautiful and funny. I’m thrilled to have been a part of it.

Granny

Here’s a little sneaky peek at a project I’m working on right now! I’m having fun with the simple palette and design. I’m building all the characters, props and backgrounds in Illustrator and am animating them in Flash.

Create

I’ve been going along to several events at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this week. As part of the EIFF’s Youth Hub events I took part in a filmmaking competition. Each entry had to be made in under a week, and include the dialogue “young and the wild” and the prop of a mobile phone. “Create” was my entry, drawn in about a day and a half. It won second place.

The narration was kindly provided by Philip Todd. You can see more of his work here: philip-todd.com

I’ve also added “Create” to my Shorts page.

New Portfolio and Showreel

I thought it was time for an update of my portfolio and showreel!

Here’s a peek: click on the image to view the full portfolio.

06

My latest animation showreel, featuring Maya and paper animation:

Music: “Dial Up” by Kris Oliver www.krisoliver.com

Paper Animation (Photoshop / ToonBoom): All character, background and colour design by myself.

Maya – Personal Project (1): Character (Morpheus) from here: www.joshburton.com/projects/morpheus.asp, chair prop provided by Aardman.

Maya – Personal Project (2): Horse rig by Tomasz Jurczyk and Carlos Contreras, from www.mothman-td.com/portfolio_items/horse_rig/

Maya – Aardman / NFTS: All characters and props provided by Aardman.

All sound effects from www.freesfx.co.uk

Deer

I cleaned up and inbetweened the deer over the last couple of weeks. At first the movement appeared very even, so I removed some of the inbetweens and rejigged some of the remaining drawings to get back to the feeling I wanted. Once I was happy, I coloured it, added a little more to the background, and had fun with sound effects from freeSFX.co.uk to create some atmosphere!

You can also view the first line test and the line test with breakdowns.

Deer Background and Breakdowns

I returned to my deer animation today, changing quite a lot of the ending and adding more breakdowns and inbetweens. I’m planning to clean it up in Photoshop, something like the deer shown below: quite loose and free, hopefully keeping some of the rough nature of the original.Deer03 copyHere’s one of my favourite breakdowns from today:

deer0015

Deer Line Test

This idea I’ve had for a while, but today I had the chance to get all the keys and some of the breakdowns drawn. Lots of issues here still, so I look forward to working on it more.

Bee

BeeTest2The freelance project I’m working on is very serious, with no colour … so I wanted to draw something completely different today! I’ve had an idea for a short, or perhaps a series of shorts, in Flash. I’d like to keep the characters really simple, like the birds in my “Good Morning!” short.

Short Animation Idea

I have an idea for a short 2D animation, drawn and painted in my rough sketchy style. I drew this test one morning last week – it was great to sit down at an animation desk and draw. As I don’t have an easy way to linetest traditional animation at home, I just went for it and saw what it looked like once I’d scanned it all in. It’s pretty rough (the jump is dreadful) but it’s adequate for a test!

Update

I’ve now finished the Aardman / NFTS Character Animation course … twelve weeks over already!

You can find my updated showreel (with lots of animation from the course) here and my new portfolio here.

And now for something a little different … we had some free time at the very end of the course so I tried to recreate some of the very poppy Popeye test animation (you can see the original here, at about 2:05).

I’d like to try more animation similar to this – with a rig that’s a little more suited to it!

Old Drawings

Dreid_01 copy

This is one of the first sketches I did for the fire in “Dreid”, my VFS classical animation. (You can find the film in “Shorts”.) I took a picture of the sketch when I had to throw the sketchbook it was in away, and I only found the picture this weekend.Bird copyThis little bird was in the same sketchbook, but he’d been drawn for a different assignment. He looked so cheerful I had to colour him in.

Classical Film: Roughs and Clean

Clean

One character from one scene of my classical film. I’m currently cleaning up, which involves rough cleaning the very rough roughs, and then cleaning the rough cleans!

There are a few inbetweens missing from the clean.

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