51 animation exercises (level 1)

The first year ended, but that doesn’t mean I should stop learning, right?

I looked for exercises in animation to do over summer break, and found quite the comprehensive list from AnimatorIsland: http://www.animatorisland.com/51-great-animation-exercises-to-master/

51 animation exercises divided by level, from the classic bouncing ball to a character putting on pants. It looks interesting, it looks challenging, and most importantly, it looks like great exercise. Which IS the whole point, after all.

Here’s level 1, the first 11 exercises, with some thoughts afterwards:

  1. The most basic animation exercise. I did before but decided to repeat, for completion’s sake. Not to happy with this one, honestly – the ball doesn’t fall naturally, I overdid the narrowing-due-to-speed and made it look like it’s being sucked down. At least the bounce on the ground feels nice.
  2. I overdid the narrowing here too, but the overall motion is pretty good – the bounce and the weight look good, and the decline in height until it rolls works in my opinion. Still room for improvement, though.
  3. Much happier with this one. I only had to worry about the motion, not the form (I just moved the brick drawing around). And the motion looks good – the weight is there, the rigidness of the brick is there. The bounce might be a tad too high after it hits the ground, but other than that, I happy.
  4. Mixed feelings here, but overall positive. The motion is a little weird, he does this tilt before turning so the motion looks like a bell curve. On the other hand, I think I did great in regards to keeping the shape of the head as it turns – not trivial at all, believe me. Plus, he has a moustache. That’s always great.
  5. Not too happy with this, but at least satisfied. This one also moved strange, going up instead of flowing into position – I tried to do something that didn’t really work out, oh well. And the nose is acting weird, and the mouth gave trouble… But I did manage to get more character into the character, and keep it consistent throughout – so that’s nice.
  6. Simple, quick, and pretty good. I found a pretty in-depth blinking tutorial, including eyebrow and creases movement – that’s where the creases came in this one, and I think it adds nicely to the result.
  7. There are so many ways to do thinking, it was tough choosing. Settled for this one and also tried some character design. The design came out nice but simplistic, but the overall result is pretty cute, so I’m happy. Next time I wanna make the whole character move, though.

Short interlude to explain the flour sack! It’s another classic tool to exercise animation. Since the form is so simple, you don’t need to worry about and can’t hide behind the details of the character. You have to get the MOTION right. So practising with the flour sack can be very educational. More about it here: http://www.animatorisland.com/hello-world/

8. Back to the program. I’m pretty happy with the wave, I was mostly testing the waters with this one. The tassels could have moved better (more ‘flowingly’), but it’s alright.

9. I like this one. The animation could have been snappier, but the overall weight feels pretty good and the motion flows well enough.

10. I was gonna make a simple falling loop with tassels wiggling and maybe a simple splat on the ground in the end, but then I saw some of their examples, and they made the sack bounce off things before stopping. So why not? I’m really happy with the result, I think I nailed the weight and the bounce. My only problem is that the overall motion feels a little… choppy? It’s not really a single motion, it very obviously goes pump-pump (as opposed to the more desirable pu-pump), but I couldn’t fix it without loosing the ‘oomph’. Sorry about the technical jargon, it’s a little hard to explain normal language.

11. Not as happy with this as the last one, but still pretty darn pleased. The lower tassels were a bit of a pain, I had to make them act like feet but then I had to take some liberties with how momentum works. And the flipping after the jump could have more impact, and so could the way the ball goes… But that’s for next time. For now it’s a complex motion I happy with, so on to the next one!

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2 thoughts on “51 animation exercises (level 1)

  1. Nice! I’ve been meaning to try their exercises list for a while (or the somewhat similar 11seconds club one) but having decided to stick to the monthly animation battle entries I always seem to have an excuse not to do it. Yours is a pretty inspiring post, looking forward to seeing your take on the rest of them 🙂
    Will you be posting more of your “end of year one” projects?

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    • Thanks! And as long as you’re regularly animating you’re fine, I took the exercises mostly so that I’ll have something defined to do. Otherwise I would have started something too big, gave up and never got anywhere.

      I won’t be posting any more “end of year” projects, everything that’s left has either mine or someone else’s face on it, and I’m not fond of putting them on the internet like that. Or they’re absolute rubbish, that’s also some of them.

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