Introduction To Animation | Mike Ryan | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Introduction To Animation

teacher avatar Mike Ryan, Traditional Animator

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

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

6 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Toon Boom Harmony

    • 3. Deconstruct Characters

    • 4. Construct Characters

    • 5. Thumbnails

    • 6. Conclusion

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this pilot episode, we will learn how to animate Spike the Bee from the old school Disney cartoons. For this first class, we will nail down his design, followed by drawing out thumbnails of the character in action. This is a class aimed at students who are either just starting off in the medium or for students who already have some prior knowledge of the art form. This class is great for beginners, hobbyists, and professionals in the field because you can use these skills and your understanding of the character to create your subjects on model in various expressions or poses.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Mike Ryan

Traditional Animator


Hello everyone, my name is Mike Ryan. I’m an old school animator who specializes in traditional animation. I’ve animated for over ten years creating short films, work reels, & small pieces incorporating character animation, effects animation, & storyboards. Sharing all that I’ve learned from my mentors to old school animators like yourself will be a rewarding experience. I look forward to having this time to show you the ropes through my animation tutorials here at Skillshare.

Mike Ryan attended the University of Central Florida from 2009 thru 2014, where he studied as an Experimental Animation major. His creative work has been awarded twice at UCF with the J.R. Hopes Scholarship for Animation and the Sony Scholarship.

FREE CLASS ACCESS LINKS & PREM... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hey, everyone, My name is my client. I will school and he specializes in traditional animation. I abandon it now for over 10 years, creating short films, work wheels and small pieces incorporating character animation, vaccination and story bores show all I for my mentors to also animators like yourself is gonna be a rewarding experience. I look forward to having this time to show you the ropes through, like, intonation tutorials. Here at sculpture This class be the first in a series which I will show you from start to finish. How animated character like disease, like being flying through the year. I felt this specific class and the project that we will be undertaking here. I'll be teaching you how to deconstruct and construct the character. Using simple shapes are also show You have to drop creek thumbnails of your character to help you plan your animation down. The vote in the class is ahead. This is a class aimed at students who were either just I'm starting off in the medium or for students who might already have some prior knowledge of your form. So nor is about that you will be fine. This applies to scrape the beginner, the hobbyists and professional fueled because he used the skills and your understanding of the character to create your own subjects on model in any kind of expression policy can think of. You can apply the skills to situations outside the class of characters of your own choosing . They shouldn't be. I don't know characters. They go before time or maybe even characters that you've created on your own as well. I heard all of you to show your products around here because an end, we're all in the same boat. You're reaching the same. Go and want help each other out here. By the end of this class, you will be able to create characters, are simple shapes and create thumbnails for your character. Don't only will this help you plan out your animation for the class ahead, but also we provide you the first step of greater dream. Thank you for drop in. And I hope you enjoy the class 2. Toon Boom Harmony: to start press any key. Where's the any key? Hey, everyone, this is Mike here. Since I have sped up the footage for convenience here, it wouldn't be fair to all of you if I didn't touch on what buttons were features. I used onto harmony. So consider this video lesson a brief on all that and more. Now, if you already know how to work around software, that's fine. If you don't know for unsure about the software, then no worries. This brief lesson will give you the heads up and the low down on how to work around in the system. Click on the paintbrush tour on the top left corner of the screen, choose a color and used the job down arrows to expand or hide the menus to refine them for both the color and brush menus. The top sider deterrents the size of the brush, while the second slider determines the smoothness of the brush. I personally prefer these numbers because it's thinner and the right amount of smoothness right here is the timeline. This is very planned in time or drawings, and above it is the canvas. This is where we're able to create our drawings for our animation. Since we do on the campus. Now a block is filled in at the timeline. That means a drawing is created. This represents one thing. To extend the exposure of drawing, you go to the animation tab on the top. Next go to sell, followed by extend exposure. If you want to extend it even further. All we have to do is just repeat the same process, like so to cut something we don't eat anymore. We just highlight over anything we want Gone Next, select the scissor button to cut them. Drawings are layers of their own. We can show or hide them with the eyeball image to the left of the name. You can even rename the layer by double clicking the name. You can also add or delete a layer by pressing the add or subtract button. Over here, select the kind of layer you want. In this case of drawing where and verify when the papa box shows up the life. All is the light table option here, to whom functions as a digital light table for really able to see through multiple layers to bring an image to tune. Groom go to file. Import images and a pop up box were show up. I have it set so that the image is imported as it is, and that a new layer will be created with the image inside of it. And before I let you all go for the next video lesson, I won't give you a seat. Peek at what you expect the next few video less Since coming down the road, I chose to begin, my classes have spiked being because I figured you would be a good weighing into exploring what the principles of alienation are for anyone just getting into the art form. He's a simple character to draw and senses. Design does not carry a lot of detail. We can put all of our focus on the principles and workflow a damnation during about the drawings you see already in the timeline. I'm multitasking justice. I'm showing you how to design a character. I'm also enemy and the character have schedule to better play out the classes for you guys . Your timelines showed look like this with the drawing to make on the first layer, then your reference image or images you import in the second layer beach to drawing is a new block. The same applies for reference images to you can also see I already have my reference image imported to the timeline, which is in its own layer and with the light ball. But in selected, I'm ready to draw on my drawing layer, which is above the reference image in the timeline. If my colors decide I can easily switch, you can choose one. But for me, I like to use more than one so certain parts that drawing can be seen visually. It won't hurt your eyes if it is always one color, so it sends out more like color pencils, and that's it. For now. Tune in for the next video lesson when we go into deconstructing the character. Thanks for dropping in and see you later doesn't seem to be any any key. Well, this computer hacking is making me thirsty. Let go order a tap. No time for that. Now, the computer starting 3. Deconstruct Characters: Hi, everyone, this is Mike. Now that you went through the brief, you can get started on drawing. Everything is composed of simple shapes, from ourselves to cartoons. Thes detailed illustrations by the animator Preston Blair demonstrate how we start off for a subject with basic shapes going to build them up before details along the way. Now what shapes can we find here? Let's see how the animators made this character. You can see that the artists made a circle for the head. Then they made what we can think of as a being shaped for the body. For the nose piece, they made a small oval infernos itself. They made an even smaller but Syfy narrow oval as well. Now that has had some construction lines to help us pinpoint certain features of the character. How about we throw in a diamond shape so it can tell us where the edge the faces? Let's start any more detail here and there before we can think of as the mask. Now let's throw in some eyes and pupils here, and we get the sense that there's a long pit of Mickey Mels inspected. Be coincidence, I think not. That's drawn his mouth. Notice how there's an invisible dia line between the edge of the mask and the edge. The mouth. How there's a small bump that comes out the circle, the arms conflict like cones that begin. Why the end? Narrowly, once we get to the hands for the other arm, it's actually bent. Sir appears to be too small cones of decreasing with. Now let's try the hands. The palm is one circle, but the fingers being small ovals coming from the poem. Now it's time to draw the rings for the main body as the legs they come out of the body like it swimsuit. Like the arms, the comb like legs begin wide and end up being narrow, and the feet themselves are like small shoes. During the antennas, the wings and the tail let's click on the eyeball. But in the timeline to hide the reference image, we can also click again on the light table bunny to turn off the light table function. That way we can see just are drawing, and there we have it spiked the being. Here's some more illustrations on character design by the animator Preston Blair. Blair worked for the Disney studios and MGM Studios during their heydays in the 19 thirties and forties. He is also the brother of the famed art director and illustrator Mary Blair. So as you can gather, the Blair family were very much in arts. Family shapes are important. What gives the shapes their sense of direction, their purpose, the line or, in this case, the directional line. A directional line helps give the character a strong or dynamic pose is suggest a type of pose or gesture from which the body follows through. If you are accustomed to the software Autodesk Maya, then you were no, that the directional line in a model is the spine that directs the character in a certain way. We, of course, have spines, and they suggest which way we are going. It's no different here. Actually, the same can be said when we're drawing in different colors here. The brushes tune boom provides are no different from the color pencils we use to create our drawings, or how the light table function in the software is the same as our own physical light table at home. It's all the same in the end, just the technology or the output is different. Let's see. I'm gonna add the hand and fingers on both arms Now the wings and the tail followed by the legs and the feet. Some hair, the antennas fill in the shapes and there we go. This will be the final image for this lesson. I'm gonna draw the circle, followed by the bean shape. Next, the construction lines go in the diamond around the face, drawing the circles for the mouthpiece in the nose. And finally the eyes joined the mask like Mickey Mouse. Make a low bump for the mouth. Make rings for the body like a swimsuit. Remember, the arms are like cones that begins. Why that ends narrowly. The hands and fingers follow up, the same applies for the legs and then add the feet. I'm just gonna at the wings here, the tail and the intent of I'm just gonna fill up the rest of the shapes, hide the reference image, and there we go. These press Sembler illustrations can be found on the awesome website Animation Resource is which shares informative animation history to the public. The United States Library of Congress has selected it for inclusion in the library's historic collection of Internet materials related to the comics, literature and criticism Web archive. They conserve the site to be an important part of this collection and the historical record , and I totally agree with, um well, that's it for now. Tune in for the next video lesson on constructing characters. Thanks for jumping, buying and see you later. 4. Construct Characters: Welcome back, everyone. This is Mike again here to help you guys out. Now that we deconstructed a character, let's go ahead and construct one without the aid of a reference image to trace over. Using the lessons we learned from the last video character design at 1st may seem like a daunting challenge, but once you understand the basic foundations behind it, you get the hang of it, like in these drawings by our shirt me, RSA, Big solar start drawing a directional line. A directional line helps get the character a strong or dynamic pose. Now let's sat in the circle and the being shape during some construction lines and set the shapes and at the diamond for the address of the face. Now, if all that in now, if all that in you can add the details, the face like the eyes, the mouth piece, the mask, the nose and smile. How about some rings for the swimsuit? Now we add the arms. Remember, they're like Combs. How about the hands here that's for his arm behind his back. That should look good now. The legs, along with feet during the wings and the point detail to you. I'm just gonna give him some hair here, covered him in, and that's you Get him to waive it. Us. Smile. So now I'm going to add a curve directional line to give a different kind of post gesture. Gonna do my shapes like circle in being shaped diamond. The eyes, the mouth piece in the nose, pretty in the mask, the mouth and the mouth bump details like the eyes and the pupils, the cheeks fixing the intent is here, adding the wings I want make him bigger because I want make him, like full from eating a big meal. Imagine the arms here. Remember the arms like cones. They begin bigger but and smaller, adding the legs and feet along the tail pointing up. And there you have it, one happy be that ate a lot of honey from winning the Pooh's honey pot. Designing a character is very much like building a puppet oratory. We have the basic structure laid out. Then you build on it with more shapes and details of some fleshing out here and there, you get the character that you are looking for, draw the direction online here. Then the circle followed by the being shape throwing the wings again. You can choose whichever order makes you comfortable. At the construction lines at the mouthpiece, eyes and the nose make the diamond. The address, the face and drawing the antennas. Make the pointy tail. Add the lakes like a swimsuit. And since I am going from repose this time around, I want to draw the arms going behind his back. Then I could put the wings here. Let's flesh up character some more. It's always good to finalize the drawing once all the basic shapes and structure are in place. And there you have it, a moody looking spike being from since you guys already know what I'm gonna say next. And that canopy it again. So out just added what I haven't said before. Like the use of the box shaped for designing a character you can use the box shape to help draw. Your character was stirring angle, like right here he edges the box, tell you what side of the character we're looking for. We're perspective. It is positioned in, so the box can be a real help for tricky positions. Like what I'm working on now. I like drawing with different colors. It just helps make the rough drawings state outboard. If these five drawings were done with just one color, then it will be hard to see or make out certain parts of the image, and there will be visually unpleasant for our eyes. Draw me a multi cover just helps make our ref drying specially beatable and appealing to rise. To cap this, using shapes to deconstruct and construct characters is vital to our understanding of character design. They give it form and structure for us to build layers upon layers of detail and appeal. You can make characters or subjects as simple as a cartoon beep to your more intricate subjects like yourself. But folks, that's a class for another time. Here's some more drawings drawn by our shirt. Mears, a big He's a skilled animator who learned his craft from the likes of Glen Keane and Don Blue. He runs a great animation score called and Being Animation Academy, which can be found on YouTube and on his website. I highly recommend going there. I've been there myself and help me a lot of my animation urges past two years. Trust me, it will be worth your time. That's it For now. Tune in for the next video lesson on constructing characters. Thanks and see you later. 5. Thumbnails: Hi guys. This is Mike again. And welcome to the last lesson of this class. In the first video lesson, we learned how to deconstruct characters where the reference images we have. In the second video lesson, we learned how to construct characters without the reference images to trace over. For this last lesson of this class, you're going to use our knowledge of the characters to sign to plan out our animation through thumbnails before animators begin to enemy. They like to play out their animation before. Now, how do animators plan out there? Animation. They do it by creating thes fall sketches no bigger than our thumbs. Animators call these drawings thumbnails. Like these sketches done by David Silverman, Glen Keane and Aaron Blaise. Thumbnails are helpful for a number of reasons, the first being that they help you plan out your animation. I always find it very helpful to have small drawings drawn out before you go out and ami and hyperspeed. Now I say this from past experience. I used to do my animation right from the get go about any thumbnails. You know what happened? Well, I struggled, but what happened is I would start on the drawing, and then I would get bottled down with how should look and feel. I would spend so much time on one drawing that by the time I get the next one, I'm already tired out. Another problem we're not doing thumbnails is that you will likely come across a drawing that's difficult to conceive of. Like if the character is in a certain pose or posture, there would not be easy to draw again. The same problem arises. You spent so much time on that one drawing, trying to conceive of how here she should look like that. By the time you get to it, you know don't do anymore. To be honest, all these problems can be solved by working out thumbnails before he started in a meeting, because they allow you to take the time to visualize what kind of poses your character will be making. And it will give you the time to discover how to make those poses from the simple to the difficult to conceive of, there is some more thumbnails by Michael Maltese Melts Call and Ron Husband. You can see that the animators were playing around with shape, form, gesture expression and structure of the characters they were working with. These stars were taken so much time is needed to get the feel for the characters down. Now you're probably thinking, Oh, it's gonna take way too much time drawing these sketches when I can just be animating right away. I get that I thought their way to until I started drink thumbnails. Trust me, it won't take too much for your time because the beauty of thumbnails is that they are small sketches like the size of post its hence why they're called thumbnails because that can fit on posted. I don't know because I did that myself. If you spend some time drawing out thes some nails, you will come in better prepared for the animation you have in your head. You'll have to waste time trying to figure out how the character should look because you were had, because you would have already figure it out by them. You can use your thumbnails as your foundation for your actual and much larger animation drawings. In the end, you refined that's much quicker and inefficient to do those the not drinking at all. You can make us many thumbnails as you like, so long as you make enough for you to please the direction of the scene to end this lesson . Here are some other thumbnails done By Ronnie Del Carmen, Bar Ken Engine Henson All these artists and Anders you have seen here have thumbnails that reflect their distinctive and unique sensibilities and a special shout out to the creative talent network. I went to the annual animation convention two years ago, where I learned from professionals in the art form what I need to do as an animator. Two years later, I find myself here at sculpture, teaching my passion that is, traditional animation. Tell you guys so thank you again CTN for premium on that road that let me here today. And on that note that stand the video lessons for this class tune into the next video for instructions on your project. Until then, since we did go through all those video lessons, I think we can party around when she's saying a Z Long as everybody's here, let's party. Where is all that look? Are coming from a party mark doesn't have to make 6. Conclusion: we're waiting for the clock to strike. Three. When it's three o'clock, we'll be free. Hey, everyone now that showed you the ropes. It's time for you guys to take the wings with your class project. To recap, we discussed how we can deconstruct an existing character through basic shapes before adding more detail on the way. Then we went over how we construct a character from the ground up, using basic shapes and details as well. Only this time the poses come from or imagination. And finally we talked about how to do thumbnails and why they're important and playing out our animation. All those things we learned here in this class urinal being court ready for a class project . So yes, we're gonna do you're a class project were come in two parts. The first part focus on two assignments deconstructing and then constructing Spike, the being the second part will focus on one assignment, creating thumbnails for your animation. It's like the being on. Oh, these are simple assignment. Just scared for you right in the water before you really dive deep into right animation for a Simon A or part one, do you construct spike being using the construction tips we learned for the class to age you'd find for opposes of the character online, so you will be able to draw over them, trying to find a fun back left and my perspective of the character. You're a finch fit those for drawings, screen captain, and show that sketches were drawn or the reference image post insure your work. You're in the class Project gallery, then for a site and be a part one constructs like to be using the same construction tips we learned from the class. This time we're not using the reference interest to trace over. The four drawings we make must come from our imagination. It could be from any kind perspective. You can think of your revenge with those four drawings. Screen captain as they are, since there are no reference images posts, ensure your works here in a class Project Galleria as well. Finally, for a son a apart to you sell metal spike to be. As you plan out our animation from flying around, you can do as many thumbnails as you wish. All that matters is that you get the fuel for the character and think of as many posts of them flying around as you can when you are finished. Skin kept all the thumbnails together, so they were all appear in one frame. Just that's before Post and share your work here in the Class Project Gallery for a complete demography of spike the being. And to find more interest of him, just go to the wiki page. Let's sit here if you're looking for different images and that once they have ah, you can just Google of the images of the character. You can also find the short films featuring character on YouTube. Just type inspected be or at the name of the short film, which is listed on the same wiki page. If all that said, Let's that you guys ready to go? And as I said earlier, as soon as you're finished with your assignments, post them in the class gallery project so we can share a work with each other. Good luck on your assignments and thanks for dropping by this class. Change the next class where we begin to enemy until next time I see you guys later way