Hand-Drawn 2D Animation: Time-Saving Techniques With Just 3 Drawings | Jayden | Skillshare

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Hand-Drawn 2D Animation: Time-Saving Techniques With Just 3 Drawings

teacher avatar Jayden

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (1h 33m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Core Concepts

    • 4. Character Designs & Storyboarding

    • 5. Setting Up & Animate Basics

    • 6. Main Keyframes

    • 7. Basic Skewing

    • 8. Smear Frames

    • 9. Idle Posing

    • 10. Follow Through & Overlapping Action

    • 11. Secondary Action

    • 12. Colouring

    • 13. Exporting

    • 14. Other Strategies

    • 15. Outro

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About This Class

Have you ever jealousy stared at some beautiful hand drawn animated movie, sadly wishing you too could make something like that, but just simply don’t have the time?

They say that time is money. And if you are an animator, you know this to be very very true. Hand drawn animation, whether traditionally drawn or digitally created, is notoriously time consuming. In a world with inversely proportional rising desire for classic 2D with shrinking budgets and turnarounds, a 2D animator needs to know a thing or two about time management

But there is also a certain stigma in animation circles surrounding ‘limited animation’. Things like tweening, character rigging, puppeteering and the like tend to be looked down upon as inferior. And while I feel this is completely wrong and these are all valid techniques, they undeniably feel different from completely hand drawn animation.

This class is devoted to learning a few methods to approach your animations when both time and funds are short, but you want to maintain that raw hand drawn feel with as few drawings as possible


Throughout this class we will learn: 

  • how to make a vibrant, alive animation with just 3 key drawings
  • how to focus on a few key features of your characters to highlight and keep moving (such as hair, clothes and facial features)
  • how to leverage the principles of animation to your advantage
  • how to utilize digital software to automate certain things
  • other useful strategies for creating entire scenes out of nothing

This class is recommended to the freelancer wanting to keep quality AND and schedule with their work, and for aspiring animators wanting to get some quality material to put themselves out there.

This class is perfectly suited to all learners of animation - the only prerequisite is that you have some basic drawing ability. If you’re a beginner and want to take this class, I recommend first familiarizing and/or refreshing yourself with the 12 Principles of Animation (linked in the Project Description below) before taking on this challenge.

I will be teaching this class in Adobe Animate (as well as some cross-over with After Effects) but while keyboard shortcuts and the like will be specific to that software, these techniques are universal and applicable in whatever software you use.

After this class you should realize that by being smart with your resources, you can get a lot out of what would otherwise just be a few key drawings WITHOUT sacrificing that hand crafted vibe.

Let’s get animating!

Meet Your Teacher

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NEW CLASS IS OUT: Hand-Drawn 2D Animation - Time-Saving Techniques With Just 3 Drawings


Editor | Motion Designer | Animator

I worked as an editor and animator at a production house for 4 years, and have been freelancing since high school. But my experience with post-production goes all the way back to when I was 11, and I used my dad's trail of After Effects to give me and my friends lightsabers. (The files of which have thankfully been lost to the ether.) 

I have a passion for all things film and animation, to the extent I'm very likely not fun to talk to at cocktail parties for those who are sick... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Are you an aspiring artist or someone who's just gotten into drawing and you've always been fascinated by 2D animation. But every time you look at it, you just can't help but think, God, this just takes too much time. I could navigate into that. If that sounds like you, then you might share my story and I'm here to tell you that it gets better. Hi, my name's Jayden. I'm an editor, motion designer, and almost by pure happenstance animator. I'd always been interested in 2D animation. I thought it was an amazing medium that was only limited by your imagination. But it wasn't until my first full-time position as an editor where I was given the chance to work on a lot of 2D animation projects, that I realized exactly why everybody says the 2D animation, specifically full animation, is so difficult because it indeed takes a very long time. Such a long time in fact, that it takes an average studio production anywhere between 6-12 months just to make one episode of a television production. I was being asked to make two-minute ads in less than a week by myself. I don't know how I'm still alive. With the Internet and the modern age comes a double-edged sword. It allows animators of incredible talent to build a self-made, fulfilling career all from the comfort of their home without needing to be part of a big studio or move to LA. But you're still expected to have that same level of quality with less time, less budget, and all the responsibility. In this course, we're going to cover how to achieve that sparkle of traditional hand-drawn 2D animation, but with as few drawings as possible. I'm going to show you the tips and tricks that I've learned over the years just to streamline the process and make things easier. This will be done by leveraging the power of the 12 principles of animation and particular limited animation techniques. The term limited might sound a little bit buggy, but limited in this case doesn't mean low quality. It takes knowing some fundamentals of animation. For your project, you are going to be making a short animation that feels alive and amazing, all only using three key drawings plus some supplements here and there. I'll be using Adobe Animate to animate mine. Some of the keyboard-specific shortcuts are going to be specific to that. But this is not a software-specific course, so please use whatever you're comfortable with. You don't even need to have ever animated before. The only prerequisite is you just have a little bit of prior drawing abilities. Sorry, that's the Holocaust. We'll start at the planning and storyboard stage by deciding what kind of motion will be easiest to achieve. We'll then go on to make two or three really solid, well-drawn keyframes, and then after that, we'll learn to leverage the power of those animation principles to make those three keyframes move. For example, we can use the power of follow-through and inertia to make the hair or clothing wave and bellow. By the end of the class, you'll have turned something like this into this. Not only will you have a stunning, high-quality piece of character animation, that only you and I will know you've cheated on, but you'll have learned a myriad of techniques and approaches that you can use to create high-quality, consistent animations in your further career. Some purists made a cry some of these techniques as being bad habits or cheating. But those purists must have access to a time machine that the rest of us unfortunately do not. If you're ready, let's dive headfirst into the sea of animation and let's see if we can at least shrink it down to a lake. I hope that analogy works. 2. Class Project: [MUSIC] Let's go over what you'll be doing in your class project, as well as answering the question, why animate. You are going to be creating a piece of character animation from storyboard to a color finish, but with a catch of limiting yourself to only three main key frames. By this, I mean that though you might add some extra drawings in the sense of hair and clothe motions, blinking and other little small details. The base poses will only be based on three main drawings. You'll start by choosing your character. It can be one that you've created or a pre-existing one, and then we will go over planning and story-boarding to plan out your motion. The motion can be absolutely anything you want, but if you're out of ideas, I will provide four prompts that I will go over in more detail later. For now they are character dropping down from the screen, a character catching something, a character being startled, a character falling over. I will be animating the character dropping down and I will be including all my main animation files along with all the files of my examples, if you would like to take a peek at those. For this piece, you can use whatever piece of animation software that you are most comfortable with. However, I will be using Adobe Animate throughout mine. But if you're also an Adobe user and wonder why I chose it over, say, Photoshop, which I cannot have animated in. The key difference is the integration of layers and key frames, Photoshop's animation timeline is actually just making a new layer and offsetting its time, making it closer to say something like Adobe Premiere. This is okay for small things, but navigating through the layers gets incredibly tedious and time-consuming on bigger projects. After Effects lacks good drawing inputs and while Procreate is excellent, it's raster-based like Photoshop, meaning it is based on a set resolution. Since Animate is vector-based, it allows me for greater control over scaling, composition, coloring, file size, and a lot more. Like I said, any software is fine to do this course. Just keep in mind that some of the keyboard specific shortcuts that I'm using are specific to Animate and you might have to look up the equivalent in your program of choice. For an alternative to Animate or Adobe in general, I recommend Open Toonz, which is a free open-source program that has both raster and vector capabilities and has been used by the likes of Steven Universe and Studio Gently, like this is some heavy duty stuff. I recommend checking the project description where I've put some links to some fundamentals of Adobe Animate, and also to familiarize yourself with the 12 principles of animation, where I include a link to both an article and a video series covering them. I will cover some of them in more detail in the course, but it never hurts to have more of a foundation. I encourage you to upload and share your progress as you go in the discussion tab below. Please don't be afraid to ask for feedback from me or your fellow students. When you're finished, I would like you to upload both your exported finished movie file and your original project file in the project gallery below. Without any further ado, let's get animating. [MUSIC] 3. Core Concepts: [MUSIC] Now let's go over some of the core concepts that we are going to be covering in this series. Now, animation has a lot of jargon, and terminology, and vocabulary that even now still kind of makes my head spin. So I figured this video will just help to kind of give a refresher and kind of clear the air on some of these terms. The first thing we need to do is to define the terms full animation and limited animation and how they are different. In the simplest terms, full animation refers to when each drawing is a completely new and original drawing. No reused elements, no reused drawings from earlier, everything is fresh and redrawn from scratch. Some people confuse this with every frame being a new drawing. But as I'm going to explain later in this video, this isn't always the case. Whereas limited animation, on the other hand, is where all or part of a drawing is reused for various purposes. Now this is very broad and it encompasses a lot of techniques, but I'll just try to list some of them here. A character whose body stays completely still except for one limb that moves. The body is one drawing and the limb a completely new drawings. Character who's standing and the wind is blowing in the hair and billowing their long flowing clothes. Or it could be things like tweening or animating the same drawing back and forth using keyframes, things like camera tricks, pans and zooms. Limited animation is everywhere. Some people write off limited animation as being always inferior to full animation, that it lacks the level of effort and depth that full animation does. I think this is a bit too unfortunate because limited animation is sometimes just necessary. Full animation in this day and age, especially if you don't have the weights of Disney or DreamWorks' resources behind you, full animation is just not time efficient. So you need to be able to use a mix of both these days if you want to make it as an animator. Both have their usages. Full animation is great for fluid and dynamic pieces with lots of action and various points and high energy. Whereas limited animation is great for comedy, it's great for pacing, and it's great for those silent, quiet moments. Now to come back to the 12 principles of animation, all of them are really important. But in this series, I'm going to highlight a select few of them as the main ones to cover. But before I do, I just want to talk about something which is that these are called principles and not rules for a reason. I think too many people try to think of it as like a checklist. I need to have the squash and stretch. You need to have this. Let's make sure that you have this. You need have this, you need to have this, and they end up making the piece too busy. They're giving themselves a headache. It's too complicated. It can end up being messy. I like to think of the 12 principles more as tools. Think of it like a toolbox. If you're making a table, you're not going to grab the hammer, then the hot glue gun, and then the mallet, and then the screwdriver, and then the buzz saw, and then the electric drill. You're going to pick the tools that you need to make the table. I think of the principles more as tools than as rules. That should be a slogan. Not tools, rules. Not rules, tools. I already messed it up. [LAUGHTER] The first one I want to highlight is squash and stretch. If you watched my previous Skillshare class on how to animate a logo, you'll know how important this is. Squash and stretch refers to how the shape of something morphs and changes throughout the animation. To use the classic bouncing ball animation as an example, as the ball hits the ground, it's squashes from the force and the weight of gravity, and then as it springs back up for its counteraction, it kind of elongates. It stretches like a bullet as the counterforce comes up. Squash and stretch is necessary to sell the weight and volume of your piece, and it can also change the mood depending on what you have, and it can also change the actual material. To use that bouncing ball, if there's a lot of squash and stretch, maybe it's this kind of gel putty. Whereas if there's no squash and stretch, maybe it's a bowling ball or a marble, something very, very dense. The second principle I want to highlight is anticipation. Anticipation is the sort of prelude to the action that's sort of telegraphs the audience want is going to happen. A classic example is the sort of boxer's punch. Rather than just going straight from regular pose to a punch, you can tell I've never thrown a serious punch in my life, with an anticipation frame, the arm would cock back before coming up. Rather than just going like this and looking very weak, you pull back and then punch. This is necessary for readability and feeling of the piece, just to give things power and make it seem like these are things that are actually happening. The third principle I want to highlight is overlapping action and follow through. These are very, very similar terms, but basically they refer to delay slash-drag, slash sort of offset effect where different parts of whatever is moving move at different times to the main action. Again, this is another one that's very necessary to sell the physics of something. I think this one in particular, overlapping action and follow through, is one of the ones that can help sell limited animation the most because just by offsetting a few drawings, just a few drawings by a little bit, you can create an amazing dynamic effect. Now this one isn't officially one of the 12 principles. It's a technique called overshoot. This is kind of the flip side to anticipation. To go back to that punch animation, once the punch actually hits the mark, if we add an overshoot frame where it goes past where the final resting is, almost like it was so heavy that it missed the mark slightly before being pulled back. Fast actions can always benefit from having one or two overshoot frames. So please make it a technique that you use often. The next technique is pretty straightforward. Again, especially if you watched my previous Skillshare video, I promise I'm not shilling it, I promise, but it is slow in and slow out. This means rather than actions happening mechanically like a robot where they just kind of stop and start, it means when they start, they start slow then pick up speed, and then when they stop, they also slow down. This just make things look more organic and graceful, and it can really help sell that it's not just a robot. A really, really important one to talk about, as this is more about the function and actual technique of animation, and that is pose to pose and straight ahead animation. This is another one where it's very important to distinguish the two. Straight ahead is when you draw each frame in succession. So you go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. Whereas pose to pose is where you draw the key poses of each animation. For example, you might do 1, 4, and 7, and these drawings are called keyframes, and then you go back and fill in-between with frames called, well, in-betweens. Now, just like with full animation versus limited animation, they both have their uses. For example, pose to pose animation is great for character movement as you can get a rough sense of how it's going to work out before you do too many drawings, and you can maintain shape and volume. Because if you do straight ahead animation while drawing a character, you can end up with situations where the head suddenly gets a bit too small or the character stops growing in size, things like that. So it can help maintain consistency. Whereas straight ahead animation is best for sort of organic and unpredictable things. For example, hair, or fire, water, any sort of natural occurrence. It's best to do it straight ahead because it gives it just this real sort of organic feel. As a side note, I want to point out that on bigger, more traditional projects, keyframes are further categorized as extremes and breakdowns. Extremes being the furthest that a character's body moves in a particular bit, and breakdowns are how the extremes are connected, and then the in-betweens are how the breakdowns can connect it to the, yeah, you get the picture. But for the sake of this video, we're just going to refer to any completely new drawing we create as a keyframe and anything else that we do as an in-between. It's not exactly correct, but it will just make things a bit more easier and simplified for the purposes of this course. The final principle that I think is really important for this course is timing. Traditionally, timing refers to how many drawings there are in a particular piece of character animation and what that means for the speed, and the style, and the mood. Traditionally, more drawings meant to slower action, and fewer drawings meant to faster action. But obviously, the point of this series is to try to use as few drawings as possible. So that's kind of thrown out the window. In this series, I want to kind of repurpose timing as being more about rhythm, and pace, and mood. The final concept that I want to explore in this video are the terms animating on 1s, 2s, 3s, etc. Animating on ones is that scenario I mentioned in the beginning. Assuming that your project is 24 frames a second, a standard film frame rate, animating on 1s would be every single frame is a new drawing. This is that classic sort of Disney Bambi style where everything is just moving and alive and bouncing. Also, Richard Williams' The Thief and the Cobbler is another famous example of which meticulously animated on 1s. Animating on 2s, however, is where each drawing is held for two frames. For example, if you had 24 frames per second, it would go 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, etc. Animating on 2s is a very, very common technique. Even the giants like Disney and DreamWorks, etc., used animating on 2s all the time. Animating on 2s, I think, is the optimal way to go these days especially. But I want to make a note that I want you to still set your project to 24 frames a second. The reason of this is that if it's set to 24 frames a second, you will have control of the timing and you can mix and match 1s, 2s, and 3s. I'm going to give you another example. Here is the same bouncing ball animation from earlier. These use the same nine drawings. They're both 15-frames long. They go for the same amount of time. The one on the left is set exactly at 2s, so it's 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, etc. It looks fine. It's sells the action very well. But for me, I'm not quite happy with it. So I played around with the timing a little bit and mixed and matched 1s, 2s, and 3s. As you can see, it gives a completely different feeling of bouncing ball, a completely different sense of weight and physics. Even if you decide that everything is just going to end up on 2s, set your project to 24 frames a second, it will just give you a much greater sense of control. Those were the core concepts that we are going to be using throughout this series. There are some more things that I'm going to explain later on, but I didn't want to make this video too overloaded with information. These are the foundations that we will be using. We've got a lot of material, I know, and this is the longest video in the course by far. Don't get too overwhelmed if you don't think you retained everything. I will refresh these concepts when they come up later. For now, I want you to look over these concepts, especially the main animation principles that I mentioned, and start thinking in terms of them. When you watch a new animated show or movie, try to see if you can spot some of them. Also, start to think about what motions would be good to use these principles for. Join me in the next video where we are going to be planning out our character and what that character is going to do, planning out our actual animation. [MUSIC] 4. Character Designs & Storyboarding: [MUSIC] Let's start planning out our character animation. I recommend using an original character you already have or a character that you are very familiar with drawing. It will make the whole process a lot more comfortable and easy if you can already draw them fairly well, fairly easily. However, if you are going to design a character from scratch just for this video, then I recommend doing as many sketches as possible beforehand, trying out different extremes. For example, experiment with their body weight, how tall are they, had they have long hair, short hair? What kind of facial structure they have, go as far as you're willing to go, then go as little as you're willing to go and whittle it down until you get to a place that you're comfortable with. Character design is a whole other series, a whole other course that I'm not really comfortable with just lumping it all up down here. If you are needing some ideas for inspiration for how to design your character, of course there are plenty of great videos on skillshare.com. From here, I recommend making a model sheets. It doesn't have to be super detailed. It doesn't need to be from every conceivable angle, but I recommend at least a basic pose that shows off the main parts of the character. Maybe a couple of head shots in a profile from the back of the head and a few expressions that you might think the character would have. Again try to go for the extremes, go for perplexed, saddened, emotionally drained from everything in this world. Maybe not that one, but try to go for the extremes. This will give you a reference to always check back on if you ever get stuck and need some inspiration. With your character finalized, first we need to give him a name. I'm going to name this character, they're called Holly. Now that Holly has been designed, it's time to start planning out your action. Now I know in my introduction video I said one of the amazing things about animation is that there's no limitations apart from time and imagination. I firmly believe that but because I'm a pedantic mini, I'm going to throw a couple of other limitations on you right now. Okay. This is just so you don't get too overwhelmed and too lost with what's supposed to be a relatively simple exercise. The first limitation is that it should be something that's from point A to point B. What I mean by this is there's a starting state and an ending state, not too much in-between. Anything else that's a bit too complex with C, D, E, F, G and the rest of the alphabet is going to become a bit too overloaded and it starts to defeat the point of this exercise. The second limitation is that it should be a horizontal or vertical movement. I had pointed to those the incorrect way, but it doesn't matter. It should be up, down or left and right. Moving on the Z axis, so in 3D space is a very difficult thing to do if you're not an amazing draftsman. Like I'm not an amazing draftsman so I find 3D movement very difficult. There will also be a bit to show offy and they might overshadow these techniques because people will be too focused on," Wow it's coming right at me" kind of thing. Other than that, it can be any action you want, anything you can conceive of. Just go ham. However, if you're struggling for inspiration, then I have four prompts here that you can use. One, a character dropping down into shot. Two, a character catching something. Three, a character is scared or startled by something. Four, a character falls over. These should be simple enough for you to decide how to put your own spin on it. The who, how, what, when, where, why, and this should mean that even if everybody ends up choosing the same prompt, that no two animations should look the same. For this series I'm going to be animating the drop down into a frame as I feel I can best show off all of the techniques that I want to demonstrate here. Once decided you should plan out your motion. What kind of tone do you want, what kind of mood, where is it set, those things. Even if you don't end up drawing a background, having an idea of where it takes place can help you decide what emotion I want to sell. Drawing basic figure or even stick figure sketches can really help you to conceptualize and visualize what you want to do with the animation. Another idea is actually acting out your motion. Now, it'll feel a bit silly and make sure no one's around then you close the blinds. But it will help you give like an innate sense of what that motion feels like. It really actually does help when you come to actually draw. Think about what type of animation you want to make. What kind of character do you want to be performing this action? Think about your style. Do you want a bouncy energetic Looney Tunes animation, a shop and dynamic action piece? Something more dramatic or down to earth. Think about it. Also if you're struggling to think of ideas and want to use the prompts, think of which prompt best suits your answer to those questions, or which one best suits what you want to make. With that, we should have our character and our action decided. In the next video, I will go over how to set up your project file and some basics of Adobe Animate. If you're using another program, please still watch it as there will be some pieces of advice and settings that are universal across all programs. Look forward to seeing you there. [MUSIC] 5. Setting Up & Animate Basics: [MUSIC] Let's set up your project. As I've been saying, I will be creating this file in Adobe Animate, but most of what I'm doing will have an equivalent in other programs. Please apply these settings to your program of choice. First things first, let's go to File, New, and create our new document. There are a couple of presets that are already set up. Let's base ours off of this full HD preset here. Make sure the aspect ratio is 1920 by 1080. You can use your own custom resolution if you want. But since animate is a vector program, we can scale and reposition this later with ease without losing resolution, and 1080p is basically the standard across the Internet and broadcast these days, so it's almost always a safe bet. As I explained in the core concepts video, we want to set our frame rate to 24, just to give us greater control over the timing. At the moment that's all we need, so let's go create. If you are completely new to animate, I would recommend familiarizing yourself with a few of the basic features. But all things considered, we aren't actually going to be doing too much in this course. We aren't going to be using symbols, tweening, multiple scenes, or anything like that in the more advanced category, so I will just briefly touch on what we need in this video and then gets dotted with animating. This white space here is called the canvas. It's pretty self-explanatory. It's what we are going to be drawing on and anything outside of the white box won't be visible on exports. You can click the mouse scroll wheel to move the canvas around. You can hold Control and use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out, or alternatively Control plus and Control minus to zoom in and out. To recenter the Canvas hit Control 0. To zoom the Canvas back to its full resolution, you can hit Control 1. To fit the canvas to your current screen, you can hit Control 2. Now for our purposes in this course, we are mostly going to just be using the brush tool to draw and the eraser tool to erase, nothing fancy. They're located here and here. Or you can hit B and E on the keyboard to switch between them respectively, which helps speeds up the process when actually drawing. Hitting L on the keyboard will bring us up the Lasso tool, which will allow us to draw a shape around what we want and then we've made a selection which we can alter in any way we want. For example, we can scale it up, scale it down, corner pin it, etc. Over on the right-hand side is the Properties tab. With the Tool tab selected, we can change what brush we want and how we want to use it. You can do some cool things with it, but I would recommend these settings for this particular animation. You want to make sure that this use pressure option is selected. This will allow you to create varying line widths when drawing by adding or removing pressure with your tablet pen when drawing, which in my opinion makes for more natural looking drawings. Of course, if you like them all uniform, uninterrupted line art style, you can turn it off and draw without it. That's totally fine. I generally keep my brush size around five. I like a medium line thickness, but if you want something finite, go maybe around 2-3, something thicker, maybe about 10. Down here we have the smoothing slider. This will affect how much animate will correct and curve the brushstrokes that you make in animate. For example, if it's set to 0, it's pretty much going to be 1-1 once we draw, and it's going to be a lot more bumpy or messier. If you have it set to 100, it will make everything curvier clean and very smooth. Finally, I recommend having zoom size with stage selected, which means that if you zoom in, the brush will scale accordingly. Otherwise it will stay the same size, resulting in either a too big brush when zoomed out, or a too small one when zoomed in. Sync settings with eraser just makes everything easier too, so I would recommend putting that on too. Below is the timeline where the actual animation keyframe information is. For example, if we draw a shape on this latest keyframe and then right-click on the empty block next to it, hit Insert Blank Keyframe, and draw another shape. We now have two separate drawings on the same layer at different points in time, in different keyframes. One block represents one frame, which are 24 frames a second is 124 of a second. You can drag these around to position them however you want. The circle, if the block indicates the start of a new drawing and if it extends out here and it's all blank, it means it's just going to hold on this circle drawing for however long you have this full rectangle here. Of course, we are going to be working with many layers, so to create a new layer, we want to hit this Plus box here, and to delete one with that layer, you want to go on highlighted, hit the Trash can icon here. These are pretty much all the basic features that we are going to be using to get started with drawing in our project. These are pretty standard universal settings, but when it comes to things like brush style, frame rates, etc, it will depend on the individual style of the creator. If you're fairly comfortable with the basics of animate or you want to try it in future projects, make sure to consider your own animations, and what you want to do with them stylistically. We're all ready to go. Join me in the next video where we're going to do the most important step of this whole process. Drawing those three main keyframes that will form the backbone of our entire animation. Let's get started. [MUSIC] 6. Main Keyframes: Let's begin the process of actually creating our main keyframes. We are going to take our storyboard sketches that we made in Lesson 4 and turn them into two or three solid drawings that look like this. These will form the basis of our entire animation, and I promise you this is the most drawing you're going to do in a single video. Before we actually start drawing, it's important to have an idea of how you're going to approach things. I would start by renaming this layer here Construction drawings and then begin sketching out your idle pose or the pose that will be seen the most throughout the animation. This will typically be either the first or last. In my case, it's the last, so I'm going to start there and work backwards. Let's start sketching this first pose. These can be simple wire frames or detailed sketches, whatever you feel the most comfortable with. But it's important to get this step right. In particular, pay attention to the proportions and the posing. It's better to make a mistake here that you can fix in this sloppy chicken scratch setting than to notice it later down the line. I like to start with the skeleton poses and then do a second layer of more detailed sketching. Let's look the bottom reference layer by hitting the padlock. This way when we draw our line art layers, we won't accidentally draw on or over the construction layer, which I've done before, it'll happen to you, it gets really annoying. Once this is done, I like to fully complete the line art of this main frame as it can help give a fuller reference for the later frames. Now before we draw the line art, I think it's a good idea to try to think about which parts are going to be moving separately with follow through, overlapping action, anticipation, those kinds of things. In this example, I think her hair and her clothing are going to be fairly free-flowing. They're going to be moving fairly independently from the rest of her body. So I'm going to make three line art layers. Take your time with this. Try to make it as smooth as possible. But don't be afraid to "cheat" such as resizing or repositioning sections like this. If you feel an arm is pretty good but just needs to be slightly stretched or slightly rotated or repositioned, just do it. Some purists might say that this is not good for draftsmanship or anything like that, but this is a time-saving tip class. So anytime saving tips are okay. I think this is totally fine. Now that I've completed the body, I'm going to now start on the hair and I'm glad that I've made that separate layer because now I can do this. But if you've run into the problem like I did, where actually in this example I didn't make one for the shirt, you can easily separate layers, especially at this early stage, by selecting the lasso tool, you can hit "L" on the keyboard, drawing around the area you want to cut out, and then simply Ctrl+X and Ctrl+V, which simply cut and paste and make sure to put this on your new layer. After you've made this main pose, I'd recommend taking a breather, even sleeping on it to make sure that you're 100 percent happy with it because this is going to be what the audience sees the most. We've come back from our lunch break or it's the next day, and we're going to move on to the next frame. Now for this one, you have a few options. You can either decide to go straight to the next pose or move to the final pose. There's no real right way to do it. I personally like to get the extremes down place. If this is your first frame, you can create a new keyframe by dragging the playhead across, clicking and dragging down the column like this to highlight all the layers you want to create, which in this case is all of them, and then right clicking "Insert Blank Keyframe". If this is your last frame like mine, then still click and drag down, selecting the whole column, click and drag across to the right-hand side, which will automatically make a blank keyframe and move out keyframe information over to the side like this. While we're at it, hit "Ctrl" and this yellow line should pop up, and click and drag that just to extend how long this keyframe will play out. In this big chunk of blank keyframe here, I'm going to add another blank keyframe like so. As technically, this animation is going to snot without her in frame, so I need some blank white space here at the beginning to get the full effect. We want to make sure that onion skinning is on. Onion skinning is what allows us to see frames before and after while we draw, which is invaluable for maintaining consistency. To turn on onion skinning, click on these two circles up here and we'll have a blue and a green icon which moves with the playhead. We can extend the range of these by clicking and dragging these like so. Just like with the main frame, we're going to start sketching out this extreme pose. For these next two, I want to get both of the construction frames down before starting the line art. This will let us alter the drawings in these early stages as we see fit through testing the motion. Now if we turn on the loop playback button, which you can select here or hit "Alt+Shift+L" and extend this out, it's going to loop this section every time we hit "Enter". So let's see what we got. I would play around with the timings of this. Just like before, moving these sections around until you get the held timings for what feels about right. Consider your style and what feeling you want, whether faster or slower would work better, and settle on something that works for you. Now that we're happy with the motion, let's go ahead and finish up the line art. [MUSIC] With those three drawings, we have completed our keyframes for this main project. I really want to stress that it's important to get these three drawings right. You want to spend a lot of time and making sure they're solidly drawn, you're happy with them because these are going to form the foundation of everything else we do. If there's something, some little tiny mistake, or something you're not happy with it you notice later down the line, it's going to be very difficult to correct it later rather than doing it here. As I said before, now's a good time to take a breather, to sit on it, maybe sleep on it, come back a little bit later, check to see if there's anything that really stands out to you that you don't really like, just so you can come back with a fresh perspective. Remember, look at your own animations and figure out exactly what it is that needs to be shown with these three keyframes, what three key poses are going to best sell your motion. It might look a little bit janky, but you should be able to tell what is happening just by those three key poses alone. Really sit down and think, are my three poses selling the motion alone? Please see me in the next lesson where we will cover basic skewing. [MUSIC] 7. Basic Skewing: In this lesson, we're going to go over basic skewing and start to form our foundation of how we are going to manipulate these three drawings. To clarify what I mean by skewing, this is taking an existing drawing or image and simply altering it or distorting it slightly, usually by stretching it, scaling it, slanting it, or cone appending it. To visualize this, let's use our old friend, the bouncing ball animation. For the impact frame, when the ball sort of squashes when it hits the ground, if we didn't have anytime to actually draw an ellipse, we could just sort of skew it to simulate that squashed elliptoid shape. In my experience, skewing works best for fast motions and between two drawings that are already fairly similar. I often do this step actually at the very end. As if you truly want to save time, it's best to do skewing after all the coloring and extras have been finalized. However, this step can add a lot of possess, for lack of a better term, for very little work. I've decided to show it off here for two reasons. One, as a little bit of a motivator, you can start to see some animation going really quickly, and two, because doing this step early, even just as a test can help you figure out what actually needs new drawings and what can be fine as is. Remember, the aim of the game in this course is to do as little drawing as possible, rest your poor little carpal tunnel hands. Let's start at the beginning and move one frame before the next. Select all the frames that you want to alter, and this time we're going to hit just "insert key frame", not "insert blink keyframe". This will make a duplicate of the previous key drawing rather than completely blank. Again, make sure they're all highlighted. Hit Q, which will bring up the boundary box and scale options. This is how we can skew or manipulate our image. For this animation, I want to squash it down a little bit when her foot touches the ground. I'm going to alt click and drag the center square of the top bar here. I'm going to drag it down a little bit to the side and there we go. With skewing the name of the game is subtlety. One, because if you do it too much, people will notice that it's the same drawing just really skewed and two, because too far can mess with the vector data and animate and you can get weird little glitches like this. Let's repeat the same thing, but on the next key drawing, making sure to add a new key and all the layers we want and this time, leave this new one alone and step back to the old one. Let's go with that overshoot principle that I mentioned in the previous lesson and squash her down. Let's go ahead again one frame and this time I want to overshoot a little bit more coming back up. Imagine like with a bouncing ball there is once again, this sort of shoot back force. Because she dropped in sort of this direction, I want her to sort of bounce up slightly towards this direction. It's also good to imagine things in arcs. Yeah, think of the physics of it, even if it's cartoon physics, just think of the physics of it. Let's go ahead and do one more just a little sort of settle in slightly with some easing in or easing out. Actually, just before we play this back, I want to go back to the fall. I just want to make a duplicate of her falling and drag her up a little bit so you can sort of see her legs start to drop down, move it just a little bit out of focus just so you can get it a little bit more of the fall before it actually happens. If we play that back, we can see we've pretty much solved the illusion of her dropping so much just by altering these two drawings. Let's do the exact same thing for the next drawing remembering to make new keyframes when needed. It can be difficult to keep track of everything so if you feel like it, you can label your main keys by selecting them, going to the properties tab, hit "label", and type in the name. Remember to keep some of those animation principles like anticipation in the back of your mind. In this case, I want to add an anticipation frame before she sort of spruces backup like a frog preparing to leap. Again, consider arcs, ease in and out, overshoot those sorts of things. Feel free to mess around with the exact timing of the frames by clicking and dragging. You can do it on twos or even threes, or you can mix and match. Make sure they hold for as long as feels comfortable and if in doubt, just go with your gut. When skewing your animation, try to think about how much you need. Is this a big arching movement that needs a big overshoot or something small and subtle. Do I need just a single skew frame to imply motion or many ease in and out frames to make it feel smoother. It will depend on each case so keep these things in mind when experimenting. As you can see with about five minutes of work, we've turned this into this. Skewing is a powerful tool. It has its limits such as only really selling fast motions for slow motions, you're going to need more drawings. But if you're in a pinch or just want to spruce up what feels like too few drawing slightly, it's an absolute lifesaver. If you were down to the wire and the client was happy, you could even call this done. However, there are a few more things we can add to make it even more full of pizzazz. I need a better word than that, but it will make the hand drawing nature of this shine without doing too much drawing. Remember, that's the name of the game. Join me in the next lesson where I will be covering one of my favorite features of animation, smear frames. Hope to see you there. [MUSIC] 8. Smear Frames: [MUSIC] Now we move on to one of my favorite parts of animation, smear frames. Smear frames refer to those frames of animation that a very exaggerated or stretched in order to replicate motion blur. For example, let's say you have a shape that's moving across the screen very quickly. You could add just several frames of that same shape directly in-between, but this makes it look very stiff. Instead, we could put a single smear frame of a stretched oval, and this will make it feel much more organic and alive. Smears can vary from the subtle to the extreme, and can sometimes lead to awkward moments to pause on all to take a screenshot on. But I think that they are a very valuable and important technique to use. Let's go over some of it now. How much you use smearing depends on several factors, what the action is, the art style, the overall tone, and mood of the piece. For example, if you're doing something very wacky and comedic with lots of big motions, then you can go all out and create some insane smears. But if it's something quieter, dramatic, and serious with a very realistic odd style, then it might not be appropriate to use any smears at all. Let's go over some smear techniques. Probably the simplest is an extension of skewing, and that is to simply stretch a drawing. For example, using the same skewing principle, we can make a keyframe of the crouching drawing, stretch it up to where her head roughly ends up in the next frame, and if we play that back, we have a nice, flexible, stretchy, smooth motion. That was a lot of adjectives. Smear is a very much a matter of personal taste. Try it out on your own and see what motions you can come up with. Stretching has its limits though, as realistically, only the parts that are moving should be smeared. For example, say you have a long rectangle standing up that is falling over. The base of the rectangle is barely moving in position, so it wouldn't make much sense to stretch this path out. However, the top of it moves considerably, so it would be better this frame to form a more of a triangle shape. Testing out with basing shapes like this can help simplify the motion or make things clear what should actually be stretched. For example, if you chose the falling over prompt, imagine the head as the top of this rectangle, it's going to blow more than their feet. For my main piece, I've decided that I want it to be subtle, I don't want that much smearing and I want a thumbs up at the end to look a little goofy in contrast to the rest of a cool and confident pose. I'm going to move my finished hand pose over towards the end of the animation, create a blank keyframe on this hand layer and then with onion skinning, just try out a few shapes. The great thing about smearing is that you can get pretty fast and loose with the drawing leading to some absolutely wild-looking poses. This blob on its own, it looks nothing like an arm and you'd be embarrassed to share this drawing to a friend or family member, but when played, it does wonders. I'm going to make a midway key of sorts with her arm extending like this, again, anticipation frame. Then I'm going to add two more smears as her hand comes down with another overshoot frame. Remember to always be keeping some of those 12 principles in mind. In the second smear I have done here, you can see another tick that I use a lot with smearing. Let's call it trailing for now. Instead of the crazy stretchy, blobby shapes, you draw a fairly solid drawing, erase some of it, and then considering the direction it's moving in, fill in with these directional blobs in that space. This is a good thing to use if you're using a few smears in a row as it hints much more as to what the full actual shape of the object is. For example, in the man getting hit by the ball, you don't really get to see that bowl still, it's always in motion. Doing it like this with those directional blobs will still give the viewer enough of that hint as to what the object actually is. After playing around with the timing and adding a few skewed ease in and out frames, I think this is pretty good. This example, I don't want to go overboard, but there's still a few more smearing techniques that we can go over. Another very simple one is speed lines. Let's go back to the beginning when she's falling down, and to give it a sense of gravity along with some trailing of course, you can see I've already gone ahead and done this, I'm going to add a handful of lines in the direction she is falling. Pay attention to where the extremes of the corners are for the starting point. For example, her limbs feel pretty appropriate to have some lines or two trailing out behind them. You can even draw over her body and cross over the line naught, but use this sparingly. In certain circumstances and again, depending on the tone of the piece, you can even get away with a frame of nothing but speed lines. For example, when this man jumps back up from getting knocked down, the frame between him on the ground and him shaking his fist is just a bunch of arched lines. Again, by itself, this looks pretty goofy, but when played, you don't even notice it. The final technique is to draw a duplicates of sudden elements or edges, such as eyes, hands, the edge of the face, etc. Almost like an echo effect. This is great for implying intense shaking or repetitive motions back and forth. For example, maybe in the catch animation, the character rattles a bit from the shier effort required to stop the ball's motion. Smear frames take little bit of time to get your head around. But I think once you master them, they are one of the most fun things in all of 2D animations to actually animate. It will depend on the piece, on the tone, on the actual motion itself, exactly how much smearing is necessary, which technique you should use. Again, please look at your animation and decide how stretchy can I get with this? Or alternatively, how much can I get away with this? Smearing is one of those elements of 2D animation where your actual skill as a draftsman or just like how well you can draw an image isn't really as important as your intuition as an animator for what's going to sell the motion. Because oftentimes a smear frame does not look well drawn, but when you play it back, it's seamless. Join me in the next video where we are going to be covering idle poses, hope to see you them. [MUSIC]. 9. Idle Posing: Now we move on to idle posing, which is a very important step. Most of the time when creating a piece of animation like this, this character in there standing or idle pose is probably going to be seen for longer than the animation lasts for, leading you having to stretch out and hold on this frame for quite a long period of time. This can look a little awkward and stiff, especially if it's held for an extremely long time, let's say 10 seconds or more. So let's go over a few little tips and tricks you can use to make this single standing pose just feel a little bit more alive. Probably the simplest and most common one is making them blink. Sometimes this alone is enough to sell that they're not just a cardboard cutout. An average blink animation only needs two extra drawings, eyes half-closed and eyes fully closed. I recommend making a new layer and drawing our new eye poses on top of the base drawing. We have to be careful to make sure they have blink keyframes both before and after it, so that we don't cover the original once it's done. This really should be done at the very end of the process after coloring. For now, I'm just going to put white underneath and fix it later. Luckily, to paint under our line art, we don't need to make a new layer. We can go up to the Properties tab, make sure the Tool tab is selected and click on the brush mode drop-down menu and change it to paint behind, which means that every new brushstroke we add will be painted under everything else. Once that is done we have a simple and clean blinking animation that we can copy and paste as many times as we want. But to go a step further, I like to use blinks to hide changes in facial expressions. Let's say after this, I want it to look smug, like she was just like, "Oh yeah, did you see this [inaudible]? I'm pretty cool." First I'm going to create my new facial expression on the blink keyframe after the full closed frame and then later go back and change that eyes closed frame to make it a more neutral expression. We can go even further and use a little skewing, adding a keyframe on the main drawing and making a very subtle bump frame or tuck. We play this back, I think that looks pretty good. This technique can be incredibly subtly powerful and can be used any number of times. For example, imagine a character on a phone call. We could use this technique to have a very wide range of emotions go across their face, like they're having the most serious phone call of their entire life. So think about in your own animations for this exercise. How does your character feel after all is said and done, after they caught that ball, after they got knocked down, are they happy, sad? Is there a change in their expression? You can use this technique to make it pop just that little bit extra. Another technique we can utilize is the boiling line. This is a neat little effect where the line art wiggles in place. Think something like Dr. Katz or [inaudible]. This is another effect where it will be case by case, a more comedic, fast, and loose style will be perfect for it. Or it's something more serious, it could be inappropriate. The most organic way of achieving this style is pretty simple. Simply take your idle drawing and just for the purposes of demonstration, I'm going to merge all of these into one layer by selecting all of the keyframes here, hitting control C, making a new layer, and hitting Paste, which will put all of our information together onto one nice clean line of drawing. So we've taken the idle drawing and going two frames forward, making a new blink keyframe. You want to trace over it using the onion skinning tools. You'll want to trace this drawing twice. Make sure when you do the second trace to do it to your original drawing so it will be even closer and then simply loop these three drawings on twos and you've got something like this. The subtler you want the effect, the more accurate you will need to be. But if you want something wild like this, you can go pretty haphazardly and create something that looks pretty cool depending on the art style. With this technique, if you change the poses ever so slightly, you can make some nice little loops. For example, you can make a laughing animation just by raising the chest face up and down and making the mouth shape larger and smaller, or show a character struggling to lift something. There are many, many ways you can use this technique. Hopefully now you'll be able to look at you're piece of animation and see the moments where the character is idling, where the character is pausing, and apply a few little tricks just to make it seem a little less stiff. Especially if you're making something that's very dialog heavy and explain a video that has lots of texts and this kind of thing, and the actual length of the video is more important than the animation itself, these sort can be absolutely necessary. Join me in the next video where we're going to go over one of the more flashy steps that will really make it stop to pop in adding follow through to animate the hair and the clothing. Hope to see you there. [MUSIC] 10. Follow Through & Overlapping Action: [MUSIC] Let's make our piece really shine by adding some follow through and overlapping action on the hair and clothing. This is going to be the most drawing that we do outside of the main three key frames. But trust me, when I say it's going to more than makeup for it. For a quick refresher on this dual principle, it might be helpful to think of it as the inertia principle. Let's say you have a flagpole on wheels and you suddenly stop the pole moving. The flag is going to continue to move forward due to physics before being pulled back because of gravity and vice versa if we start moving it again suddenly. It's a very important principle for generating realistic motion but smart application of it is also one of the easiest ways to cut down on workload. Let's start with hair. A couple of things to consider. The amount of follow through is going to depend on a couple of things; the force and speed of the motion, the direction, and the length of the hair. The faster the motion, the more drag or inertia there is going to be. Very simple. The longer the hair, the more curve and complicated motion there is going to be, because the closer the hair is to the scalp, the less it will move. For example, someone with a medium-length bob cut is only going to waive slightly for a brief moment and likely not change shape much and someone with a very short cut probably isn't going to move at all. But someone with a long mane or a long ponytail, it's going to be a lot longer and chaotic, possibly with several pendulum swings and curves. As for the direction, the hair will drag with the edges pointing towards the opposite direction of the main action and once the main action finishes, the hair will then catch up and then some. For my main animation, let's start with the drop-down. I'm going to start by clearing all my key-frames on the hair layer between the point her foot touches down and when she comes to a stop. I'm also going to draw a temporary red arrow so I can keep my direction in mind and with onion skinning on, start drawing. With this, I'm personally going to draw this straighter head to give it more of an organic feel. But if you feel more comfortable drawing this pose to pose, that's perfectly okay too. As I draw each of these, I'm always keeping in mind that the closer to the scalp, the sooner it's motion is going to end. So as early as the second or third frame, the top of her head will already have started to settle while their ends are still falling. I'm going to start these on ones and as it gets closer to the end, I'm going to slow it down onto twos. The exact length of time this whole animation will take will depend on you'll gut feeling. Feel free to go back and add or remove frames based on what feels right and mix things on ones and twos. Don't be afraid to use a skewing frame here and there, especially for easing in and out. Remember, we're trying to save as much time as possible. Let's play this back. Wow, it's a world of difference, isn't it? Let's do the same thing for when she jumps up. This time due to the smear frame that we have here, I don't really see any point in drawing anything new. Let's start from this point and clear all the frames on the hair layer up until the end pose. First I'm going to draw her hair very straight and heavy with that initial drag and then have the middle and end start to curl up. I want this to have a very wavy and bouncy and stretchy feel. Remember, the longer the hair, the heavier it is too. Let's play the whole thing back. Wow, we're starting to make a L'Oreal commercial. See how much life this adds. It is possible to overestimate, so don't go too far on this. If the hair just kept bouncing back and forth over and over and over again, it would really highlight that the main drawing is, well, just not moving at all. Try to keep that in mind. Now we can also add follow through to the clothes, though it has a more limited application and there are two more limitations to consider; the type of clothing and multiple points of contact. The material and how tight the clothing is will change depending on the animation. For example, a long like summer dress is going to bellow and flow in the wind whereas tight leather jeans will not. Unlike hair, which only has the scalp as the point of contact. Clothes have multiple, such as the arms, chest, ankles, etc. A good rule of thumb is that only jackets, dresses, and loose t-shirts will ever really need follow through, which is why I only drew her jacket on the separate layer. My approach of the jacket is essentially the same as the hair, just more constrained. I'm starting by having these parts that are closer to her arm settle first as she falls, and then when she hops backup, having it flare up for a moment before coming back down. Clothes can be a little more difficult than hair because drawing a realistic fold is tough to convey as even in very simple animations and simple drawing styles like this, so subtlety is king here. I'm only going to be drawing two or three more frames. Follow through is amazing and it is the most important technique for creating believable motion in my opinion. It takes a fair amount of investment, but trust me, when I say it's well worth it and it'll make everything just feel more dynamic and fluid in the end. It gives the illusion of having more unique frames and fluid motion than you've actually put in and so one one of those like wow principles. It was one of the ones when I first figured out how to use it, that it really changed the nature of my animations. Look at your animation and consider your motion, consider the direction of your motion and consider which parts of your character can move separately from the main action. Join me in the next video where we're going to go over a principle we've been subconsciously doing this whole time, but we're just going to make it more literal in the forefront and that is secondary action. Hope to see you there. [MUSIC] 11. Secondary Action: Final principle we're going to talk about in this course is secondary action. Now we've been doing a subconscious application of this all throughout this course. But I just wanted to go over it here just so you can think of a few more ways you might be able to apply it to your animation. Secondary action refers to any motion that supports the main motion. For example, if the main motion is a punch, the secondary action might be what the character does with his other arm or his facial expression. It's a great way to add personality invariants to your characters. In my standard boxer example, he's got a very rigid posture and face, hinting that he's focused and professional. If he make his other arm go flailing, it now implies he's a newbie with bad form or maybe he's showing off. If we top it off with a sleazy grin, we've now made a completely different character. We didn't change the main action at all, the punches exactly the same. But these three clips feel very differently to each other due entirely to the secondary action. In my main clip, I already have several examples of secondary action. Thumbs up at the end or her change of smug facial expression. I'm pretty happy with these. I'm not really going to add anything new. But if I wanted to, I could change them and create a new feeling. For example, I could change her expression throughout to have her eyes always closed like this is taking a lot of effort. Or I could keep her arm lazily at the side to show that she's very nonchalant. She's not actually taking any of this very seriously. Like I said, we've been doing this subconsciously all course. But now's the time to really try and sell it. Look at your animation. Is there a limb you can reposition slightly? Is there a different facial expression you could give them? Is there something you could do with another part of their body? Just add a little bit of extra character and really sell. This is a different person through the main prompts that I put together. I think secondary action will be the thing that ensures that even if everybody ends up choosing the same prompt, which you will submit, but no two animations submitted in the project gallery will look the same. Join me in next video where we are going to lock this baby down and add some color. Hope to see you there. [MUSIC] 12. Colouring: [MUSIC] Let's color this bad boy. Now I'm going to say something here, even though I've set only a single video of the coloring, never underestimate how much time coloring is going to take. I see animators do it all the time and I do it all the time, where you get to the end of the project and you've been going gung-ho this entire time. You are only giving yourself a day or as little bit of time for coloring and then you're rushing to get something out by the deadline. It's faster and easier in vector software like Animate, which have really powerful bucket fill tool options and their like, and of course, it depends on the level of detail in your piece. Something simpler is going to be quicker than something more detailed. But even then I would set aside at least 2/3 of the time it took you to animate this whole thing and put it at the end to give you enough time for coloring, just so you have some leeway. You don't want coloring be the thing that destroys you at the very end of the project. There is so much to talk about color, too much in fact, that I don't feel right even beginning going into the facets of color theory since it requires a whole another series. For this video, I'm going to be keeping the color very minimal. I'm using no shading and I'm going to use the exact colors from my character design sheet. But think about what type of color scheme you want to use. Do you want no shading a little or a lot? Do you want a lot of colors in effects, or do you want a more monochromatic look? Do you want it to be brightly saturated or soft pastels and muted tones? It will of course depend on your art style. Something very geometric and simple will benefit from being flatly colored. Something more detailed and realistic might need more colors. Even this isn't an ironclad rule, sometimes if there is a lot of motion, even a detailed art style looks better with fewer shadows. My advice for this exercise would be to go with as little to no shading as possible as it will just distract a little bit too much from what the point of this course is about. If you're struggling to come up with some color ideas, I recommend a site and an app called coolors.co, which allows you to do many cool things. The main one being the generation of a five-tone color scheme at random with a simple press of the space bar. It will also give you the hexadecimal codes so if you like what you see, you can just import them directly into your program of choice. First things first, we need to clean up this line note, since it's a bit messy and all over the place right now. Essentially, before we want to start coloring, we want all our major lines to be connected to make filling them in easier. There are two ways to do this, both with pros and cons. The first is to consolidate all our layers into one. Start by going over the whole sequence and erasing any areas where the lines might overlap, such as hair and clothing or any limbs that you've put onto a separate layer. Make it all look like it's just one neat, uninterrupted drawing. Once they are all nice and clean, delete any unused layers such as the original construction lines or the like, select all the layers and right-click "Merge layers." This will technically turn everything into a symbol where in order to fill you're going to have to double-click on the symbol when the blue bounding box appears and then going and color up, and since I haven't really covered symbols or bitmap, so I'm editing in the image in the series. If you feel a little bit more comfortable with just what we've done before, then I recommend selecting the keyframe and going modify, break apart, and do this for all of them. It'll be a little bit tedious, but it might save you headaches down the line. The benefits of this method is that everything is nice and clean on a single layer, allowing you to just move forward when coloring. The downside is that with our limited animation tricks, you'll end up having to color things twice or multiple times. For example, at the end of the first hair motion here, even though the base layer is a static image, it's repeated in the one keyframe after it, so you'll have to color it in twice. Now you can get around this by doing the coloring of those static pace frames first, and then going back and doing your skewing and adding all the extra bits and pieces, that's totally fine. But for the sake of clarity in this series, I have done it linearly so if you're following along with me, then you'll have to probably double up. Sorry about that. It also makes it a little less flexible if you decide to change an element in the line note. Let's say if you want to play around with the timing, adding or removing some frames of the hair of the jacket, this one is best chosen for when you are 100 percent certain that you're finished. The other option is to simply keep it in layers. For this one, instead of erasing the overlapping lines, you want to close them over points where they will be hidden. If we hide certain layers, we can see that things like the hair, the arms, etc, have these huge gaps so we just want to connect them up. Since they'll all be hidden by other layers, you don't have to be accurate at all. Usually, I just do this quick lazy blob shape. Once all the layers are successfully closed off and making sure that all the layers are from top-down, so for example, her hair is supposed to be the very back layer, so let's just move that down there, you can begin coloring. This method is a little bit messier in terms of the timeline but allows greater control of a motion if you decide to change these things. Lets you hold onto your keyframes without having to recolor them. Either of these methods is fine, I use them interchangeably based on I got feelings for this course, I've done it with the first method of making everything onto a single layer. But you'll be able to decide which is best for you and your animation. We're really lucky in Animate that we have a very powerful bucket fill tool effects for coloring. Unlike the one in Photoshop, because it's a roster program, sometimes pixels aren't always perfect. Because Animate is a vector program, it will always be colored in perfectly to the line. You simply select your tool, your color, hover over the closed space on the layer that you want, click, and too easy, you're done. It is very important, however, for these lines to be fully closed. If they are even a little bit open, it will either color parts that shouldn't have been filled, or it won't fill anything. If you still have some gaps at this stage as you most likely will, I have so many throughout here. You can either fill in the line notes by going back to the black coloring over. You can drag with the point of fill to expand and just close it off a little bit, or make sure that the pen tool is set to paint behind, and using the color you want to fill, just plot down a line or a little dot or two to close it off and then hit the paint bucket. If you want to add shading, by the way, this is the way to do it. By drawing a line with paint behind set on where you want the shadows to start and end, and then simply fill it in with your base color and your shaded color. Now it's simply the tedious process of going forward and filling in every single frame. Like I said, it's easy to underestimate how much time this will take. Make sure you set enough time of it aside to not let coloring be the thing that destroys you just before the deadline. [MUSIC]. With that, we've fully colored our piece. It's amazing what a little bit of color can do to add life and vibrance to a piece, whether it's just a little splash against the monochromatic look or something very vibrant with three times, four times of shading. I really, really want to stress to you, look how energetic and vibrant we made our piece using only three key drawings. I really can't stress that enough. Again, look at your piece and figure out what can color do for me? How much color do I need? I'm I overcoloring? I'm I under coloring? It'll be case-by-case for each individual piece of animation. Now we're just about finished, whether you're ready to finally export it and put it up or you want to do a few little compositive things and to add to effects, that thing. We just need to get this out of Animate or whatever program you're using. Please join me in the next video where we are going to be covering exporting. [MUSIC] 13. Exporting: [MUSIC] Now let's cover exporting. Animate is actually pretty good with exporting options. However, it unfortunately doesn't have some of the same benefits of the like of Photoshop, After Effects, or Adobe Premiere Pro with the dynamic link updating on the fly. If you're using a program other than Animate, then this exact process might differ a little bit. But the same principles about file format structures still apply, so please watch through to get my recommendations for your final output. First things first, let's just clean up our timeline a little bit so that there are no unnecessary layers that we don't want as they have a tendency to show up on exports. There are two ways I recommend to export from Adobe Animate, natively and through Adobe Media Encoder. Let's cover natively. To do so natively, let's go to File, Export, Export Movie, and it brings up a very simple save as styled box. Our options here are limited, but old school and powerful. We could save it as a PNG sequence, which will save literally every single frame as its own individual image. That if we save into its own folder, we can import that folder as a grouped image file almost like a GIF. This method almost never fails, but I would only really recommend it as a last resort if every other option has failed, as this is little bit clunky to work through. You can do it as a JPEG sequence also, but JPEGs don't support alpha transparency channel so I don't recommend it. Personally I love to save as an SWF file. This is a vector file format instead of a raster file format like PNG or JPEG, which does mean fewer programs are going to be able to open or import it. For example, Adobe Premiere cannot. But it has a huge advantage over raster formats, the resolution. If we look at our PNG image and import it into another program, in this case After Effects. If we decided we wanted to make the shot a closeup when we scale up or zoom in, eventually it's going to get too pixelated as there was only the regular HD resolution to work with. But with a vector image, which is all math and data, we can turn on this continuously rasterized option here. This will mean that we can scale it up as high as we could possibly want and the resolution will scale accordingly. It won't be an issue at all. It's like an episode of CSI Miami where they zoom in on a screw, it's like that but actually real. Though I love SWF files, it has its drawbacks, mainly that it will render everything in your project file. You've got multiple sections or layers that are turned off or multiple scenes, let's say because you wanted to export them separately. You have to separate them into different files and then export like that. Otherwise, if you just explore it without separating, your SWF file will look like this. Yikes. Separating everything like that can get tedious, so let's look at the other way to export with Media Encoder. For this one, we want to go to File, Export, and Export Video, the option below Export Movie. This brings up a dialogue box that gives us many more options to play with. First, you can change the resolution here, which is nice. If you decide that you want to export it in for 4K, you can change that here. There is also a dialog box that allows us to create either an alpha transparency channel if you want to use this for compositing or just fill everything with white if you're not concerned with stuff like that. Down here, you can select your scenes to export. Now we didn't go over this in the main clause since we just did the one motion, but you can create multiple scenes within the same project file if you're doing multiple shots. All of my examples that I've been using throughout this class were created like this. This is a much better option if you just want to export one of them instead of all together. You can also choose just to export a certain section of frames if you just wanted a certain endpoint and add point if you wanted to. Finally, down here we have the codec and file format. There are way too many of these to go over, so I'm just going to recommend two. The first is if you want to export it to After Effects, or to Premiere, or another program for compositing or editing, let's say you're not finished with it yet. In that case, you want to choose QuickTime and Apple ProRes 4444 with alpha. Although if you didn't choose alpha transparency, you can just do the regular Apple ProRes 4444. This will create a high-quality near lossless file that will allow you to edit and compose without loss of data when you reexport that. The other option, which is the final delivery format for uploading and what I recommend across the board for all programs, is H.264 for the codec and the preset to this YouTube 1080p HD. This is the format that I want you to upload your final project as. Whether you're using Adobe Animate or not, please look at these settings and try to replicate them in whatever exporting program you're using. Make sure that this open Media Encoder queue box is checked and that your destination folder is correct, and then just hit "Export". Let's just go to the folder just to check that it exported properly. Beautiful. Strictly, this is the end of the animation section of the course. However, there are a few little compositing tricks that I want to teach you if you want to elevate this just that little bit more, plus a couple of other strategies that I wasn't able to incorporate into this main example, but then I think are absolutely vital in the future, especially for planning out not just individual shots but entire scenes using limited animation. Please stick around for one final video on other strategies. Let's do it. [MUSIC] 14. Other Strategies: Here at the very end of the course, I want to go over a few other final strategies that you can use to improve your animations. These don't all have to be used together. In fact, it's impossible to use all of them together otherwise it gets too cluttered and messy. But especially if you're making entire scenes out of limited animation, hopefully, you can use some of these to elevate and save yourself a little bit of time in what you're doing. Maybe, just maybe, you'll create a bone on in such a way that it looks like these are all smart auto decisions and not just because you ran out of time. First, let's go over some color grading and blending mode tips. I will be using Adobe After Effects to color these. But many programs have the exact same layout so please find the equivalent in your program of choice. I've imported my main animation and for the sake of the example, the stock background that I found as well. Let's say you think these colors are just a little bit flat. We can use the adjustment layers to make them really pop. Let's go to layer, new adjustment layer. An adjustment layer is a layer that will affect all of the layers below it. For example, if you put a black and white filter on an adjustment layer, it will then apply it to everything below. It's just a very nice, clean, neat way to apply effects to a lot of layers at once. On this adjustment layer, we want to go to Effect, Channel, CC composite. Now this effect is very powerful. It is a little difficult to explain, but for now, let's just say that what this has done has copied all of the visual information below the adjustment layer and put it into the adjustment layer. Essentially now it's acting as a duplicate file or a duplicate layer of everything below. This is important because we're going to go to this drop-down box here and change the blending modes of our layers. Blending modes are essentially how that layer is going to be shown and blended over the others below it in terms of pixels, colors, brightness, etc. To demonstrate, I'll show you what blending modes look like on a regular layer. On normal, which is the standard as the name implies, everything is at 100 percent. But if I were to change it to multiply, for instance, essentially all of the white values become invisible and the black ones get burned onto the layers below. If I choose screen instead, the reverse happens where all the black becomes invisible and the white is burned. Generally, I think overlay is the go to blending mode if you're unsure. It combines screen and multiply it together, meaning you get these colors and contrasts and the image just pops at 50 percent. If we change the blending modes on our adjustment layers, the ones with that CC composite effect on, we are essentially multiplying screening, overlaying or whatever effect we choose, that layer on top of itself, allowing us to create some very powerful filters and looks based on what pixels and what color information we want to be added. Now we have these really contrasted, interesting look. If it's a bit harsh, I can hit T on the keyboard and change the opacity to turn it down. We can go further on this adjustment layer. Let's go to Effect, Generate, Fill, and then choose a color that we like. This will produce this really interesting tint effect that we can then play around with and change by changing the blending modes and capacity. Or we could go to Effect, Generate, Gradient Ramp. Now we're playing around with directional shadows and lighting where we could move the points around. Maybe the sun is up here and it's casting higher amounts of light and shadows down here. Or we could even add a blur effect, make sure to have repeat edge pixels on and then if we blur this out with our blending modes on, we create this soft balloon lighting look perfect for a summer or a beach vibe. You can even use all of these effects at once if you want, by creating individual adjustment layers and applying these effects in a stack with all these blending modes on. Now we've turned what was very flat, simple image into something that is much more vibrant, full of life. Just like that. Experimenting with adjustment layers and color effects can completely change and elevate the tone of the piece. It's well-worth even setting aside just 10, 20 minutes at the end to play around with a variety of combinations. After Effects is a whole other beast and I know it intimidates some people. However, if you want to get into it, I have already created a whole other course on animating any logo in After Effects, which you can start even if you've never used it before. Please check that out if you're interested. Next up is the humble Ken Burns effect, otherwise known as panning and zooming. Maybe you have a shot that needs to hold for a long time, so long that it becomes obvious that this is just a single drawing. Well, sometimes just a simple pan or zoom can be enough. Before we do anything, we want to pre-compose this so that we can apply all that key frame data to a single layer rather than all the individual ones. To do that, we just highlight all of our layers. Right-click, pre-compose, just name this, whatever is easiest for you. Now we can apply it to as if it was just a single layer. We can still go into that layer by double-clicking on it and now we are inside this new pre-composition. An important thing to note is always make sure you have a little bit of visual buffer. For example, if you're going to do these position pan key frames, you probably want to zoom in a little bit just so that there is this buffer on the edge of frame so that when you pan across, you don't get any of these black bars. Let's simply add some position key frames to this piece. Automatically both of these two examples just feel subtly different, subtly more full of life. We can go even further and add parallax. Parallaxing is the effect that the more distant an object is, the slower it appears to move. If you've ever stared out of a car window and notice that the trees close to the road zip by, but the mountains in the distance stay relatively the same. That is called parallaxing. For this, you can just simply key frame each layer but have them move at slower and faster rates. For example, the closer something is to the, well, let's call it a camera even though isn't the camera. The closer something is to the camera, the faster it's going to move, and the further away it is, the slower it's going to move. You want to be careful about hiding the seams of the layers. For example, in this one, it would look that she's just sliding along the ground. It's smarter to simply change the composition so that her feet are not visible. Let's re-frame it, rescale things up so it's more of a mid-shot. With just that simple chains, we've made this shot feel incredibly dynamic with just the single drawing and a couple of keyframes. Being smart with your shot composition can allow you to make entire scenes out of nothing. Let's take an example of two characters that are having a very serious talk. If you compose the shot flat like this, the fact that they aren't moving will be incredibly obvious and the audience will expect some motion to happen. You're probably going to have to end up doing a lot of work, otherwise it will feel like very lazy. But let's split this shot up into two shots and do an over-the-shoulder shot, reverse shot close up. Suddenly the scene takes on a much more dramatic role without adding any extra character animation. If we go even further and add in our pan parallax effect, now the tension is absolutely palpable like something is about to pop off. This can be one area where studying live-action films and television can actually be a big help for animation, especially if you're going for big dialogue-heavy serious scenes. Always keep in mind though that it's really difficult to get z-axis motion in 2D animation, especially if you're strapped for time. Focus mainly on the horizontal and vertical motions and the shot composition of live-action films. Sometimes you just have no time at all and your only option is a cut. But if you know what you are doing, this can also work to your advantage by using a film technique known as the Kuleshov effect. This refers to the idea that the relationships between shots is what gives the meaning, not the individual shots themselves. Here's a classic example. You have a shot of someone looking, then a shot of a puppy, and then back to that person smiling. This is a scene of a nice man looking at a nice puppy. But if we change that middle shot to something of someone falling over and hurting themselves, this scene now becomes one of a jerk, being happy at others misfortune. We've only changed the middle shot, but we've completely changed the meaning. In animation, you can use the Kuleshov effect to hide that lack of motion between states. If we add these two frames of this person's face back to back with no transition. It would look horribly junky and we would probably need to add in some in-betweens which could take time. But if we insert a shot of their point of view of what they're looking at. The audience will 100 percent understand and it will feel 100 percent natural. Think about ways that you can create the meaning through the cut. How can you imply motion through the combination of shots rather than actually having the motion? I personally recommend checking out the anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion, as it is a masterclass in using limited animation shot composition, and editing in particular to tell your story. The first episode is action-packed and full of dramatic scenes and lots of things happening. But there's a total of only 1000 drawings throughout the entire 22 minutes. The final strategy, just embrace your limitations. Sometimes this is where some of the most memorable and creative choices come from, and especially for comedy, it can work amazingly. check out this joke from SpongeBob SquarePants. There are no in-betweens from Patrick being awake and him being asleep. But that serves to make the joke that much funnier. If all else fails, just embrace your limitations and try to think of ways to make them work for you. How can you make a hard cut funny or impactful or dramatic? How can you make someone sliding or moving around interesting? [MUSIC] I really want to stress how much I believe that limited animation is not lazy or cheap or bad or any other negative adjective that people want to throw towards it. In many ways, I'm often more impressed by a well-executed piece of limited animation, than I am with a full animated piece. Because of course, the full animation piece has a lot of talent and creativity and a lot of effort and sheer ability. But limited animation piece one that shines really well, speaks to the creativity and problem-solving skills of the animator. Sooner or later, every animator in the world is going to have to make a piece of limited animation. Rather than deride it or think it's cheap or like to bemoan yourself that you have to make something that is limited, own it, make it work for you, and make something that looks really special at the end of the day [MUSIC]. 15. Outro: Even though we only had three drawings every time it is, messes up my wrist. That brings us to the end of this course. I hope this has been useful for you and I really hope I have helped you understand that you don't need every single drawing to be completely unique in order to get that sparkle of 2D animation. Sure, it's nice and whenever you can do it, please go for it. But in certain real-world practical applications, it's sometimes just not feasible. I hope that you've been able to get a few little tips and tricks along the way that can help you in your further career. The point of this exercise isn't that every single time you should only make animation using only three drawings. More so just to help you understand that there are ways that you can show motion. There are ways that you can tell the story without creating new drawings or without creating more headaches for yourself. Over the course of this series, we went over the 12 principles of animation, as well as some other limited animation principles and how to leverage them best for your animation. Like I said in the beginning, I still believe that animation is a wonderful medium, only limited by imagination, but unfortunately time as well. Hopefully, now you are able to leverage the power of those techniques to use your time most effectively, to let the imagination part do its thing. Thank you very much for being through the course and I look forward to seeing all your wonderful, amazing animations. [MUSIC]