Trouble Finishing Your Animated Project? Try My APC | Patrick Davidson | Skillshare

Trouble Finishing Your Animated Project? Try My APC

Patrick Davidson, Expat Animator

Trouble Finishing Your Animated Project? Try My APC

Patrick Davidson, Expat Animator

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11 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Class Trailer

    • 2. Class Requirements

    • 3. Class Project

    • 4. What is an APC

    • 5. How to Use an APC

    • 6. Why Use an APC

    • 7. Deep Dive

    • 8. Using APC with Client

    • 9. My Project Tips

    • 10. Recap

    • 11. Conclusion

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About This Class

Creating an animation takes a lot of work. This class will teach you the most important tool I have to help get your animated project completed. What is it? It is a worksheet I created after working solo on numerous animated projects. I call it the "Animation Production Checklist" or "APC" for short. In this class you will learn:

  • What it is
  • How to use it
  • Why you should use it
  • How to use it with a client
  • And more!

This class includes some of my favorite tips and lessons I learned while working on dozens of animated projects. Our class project will have you download the Animation Production Checklist PDF and fill it out for your next animated project. I will also be teaching you how to use it with a potential client. This class is for anyone thinking about starting their first animated project, or for animation pros looking for another tool to use.

Meet Your Teacher

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Patrick Davidson

Expat Animator


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1. Class Trailer: created an animation takes a lot of work. Are you thinking of starting your first animated project? Maybe you started working on one, but never were able to finish it. In this class, I will show you my most important tool to get your animated project done. My name is Patrick Davidson. I am an expat living in Central America, and I am also an animator. I've completed a lot of animated projects over the last 20 years, some with friends, some for clients and some completely by myself. So I know it needs to be done to complete an animation from idea to final product. My most important tool is always my animation production checklist or a PC for short in this class, I will teach you what it is, why you need one, how to use it with clients and more. Our class project will have you work on your own a PC and prepare you for your next animation. This class is for anyone thinking of starting their own animation project either by themselves or with small team. I look forward to seeing you in class 2. Class Requirements: Let's talk about class requirements for this class. You will need a printer to print the A P C. Beginners will find the most value here, but professionals can add this tool to their kids as well. We will cover the following what in a PC is how to use in a PC why you should use in a PC. We'll take a deep dive into how to use in a PC. We'll also look at how to use in a PC with the client, and as a bonus, I will be giving some of my project tips. These are the tips I've learned from dozens of animated projects. You can learn from my mistakes and save yourself countless hours of frustration. Next, we will go over our class project. 3. Class Project: for our class project. You will start your animation project using my A P. C. You will print out my A P C. Pdf and learn how to adjust it for your project. Your assignment will be to fill it out and check off the first check box officially starting your own animated project. You can take a picture of your ABC and upload it to the class project area. As you complete more stages of your animation, feel free to update your A PC here so everyone can see your progress. In our next video, we will learn exactly what an A P. C. Is. 4. What is an APC: What is in a PC. An ABC or animation production checklist is a one page pdf that I created to help me complete my animated projects. This document has evolved for me over time. Basically, it is a table with 18 columns for each stage of your animated project. The three rows are the due date notes and complete check box. The current incarnation has 18 stages. Think of these as goals to accomplish. To see your animation come to life. The order of these stages is important. I think it is a good idea. Toe only work on one stage at a time. When you complete a stage, you can grab a big Sharpie pin and draw an X over the complete box at the bottom of the appropriate column. Remember to print out the A P C and hang it on your wall near your animation desk, where you can see it every day. We will go into more detail on how to use your A P C. In the next video 5. How to Use an APC: Let's talk about how to use in a PC. By now, you should be familiar with what in a PC is now. I'll show you how to use one first go download the PdF called animation production checklist dot pdf. This file is built at 17 by 11 inches, but could be printed to scale down onto an 11 by 8.5 inch sheet. Just remember to print horizontally, not vertically. Now fill in your project name and either your name, your studio name or your client's name in the client's name line. Now, by design, the first stage is easy, as you probably already have your idea chosen. So fill in today's date under the due date in the First column and mark an X on that complete check box. Nice job. You have already finished 5% of the A P C. Look at column number to design characters. If you have already done this work, you can mark that complete as well. When you read your column, you have not completed yet. It is time to hang it on your wall near your desk. I recommend only filling in the due date for the next COLUMN. If you try and fill in the due date for all of the columns at once, you're gonna stress yourself out. So it's better to just give yourself one due date at a time unless you're working with a client and they want all the due dates written up beforehand. Next, we're going to see why you should use in a PC. 6. Why Use an APC: Let's talk about why you should use in a PC. Seeing it every day will keep you on track. There are times when you're working on your animation that you want to skip ahead. Toe work on a fund seen. Or maybe you feel like recording voices. Before you have a finalized script, you're better off sticking to the order of your A PC and work in the stages in the correct order. There are always be time to go back to at the revision stage to clean up pieces you might not be happy with. Trust me, it's better to have a first cut of your animation done the no cut at all. It helps to motivate you when you get down. Animation is a long process. You will most likely get unmotivated at some stage of the process. When this happens, you can always look at your A PC and see the progress you have already made. I feel proud of the progress you have made. Most people never even attempt a project with the scope of creating an animation. So take a look at your ABC, find the stage that your at and get back to work it shows others the amount of work involved in animation. An ABC is a good tool to show potential partners or clients all of the stages of work involved. Maybe they have never worked on an animation before and don't realize the amount of labor that is needed. It gives a good overview of the work that needs to be done. You will feel a sense of accomplishment when it is completed. When you finally reached the end of your project, you can check off that final complete box and celebrate your hard work. Just glancing at your completed a PC will make you feel a sense of accomplishment. You most likely will have spent months working on this project, and to see your ABC finished will fill you with pride. 7. Deep Dive: Welcome to the deep dive of R A P. C. I'm gonna show you how I use a PC on my own projects. For example, will use trip my animation as our example animation. So let's get to it. So up here, we've got animation production checklist. Pdf First thing I want to do is I want to, right Click it and I want to duplicate. And then I'm going to rename this so that I've got the name of the project behind it. Okay, so now I'm gonna openness. You can use any pdf reader you want. I'm gonna open it with Max preview, and I'm just going to come up here and go view single page, and then we're gonna be able to see the whole document at one time, and you can see as I wrote my mouse over here, you can see that this is a Philip all form, so weaken type in our information, or we could print it out and fill it in my hand. So for this demonstration, I'm gonna do this digitally. So let's click in the first form here. Project name. I'm gonna try type trip, and then I can get their mouse over and click here or it can hit the tab Key and come brings me over to clients name and this. I'm just gonna put my name. And because my own project you would put your client's name there. If you were working with a client on their project, we can go in and tab again, and it brings us to the first due dates box. And today is the second. So I'm going to give myself seven days. So let's put this at, um for nine and tab. So that means that I've given myself a week to create the idea. Um, but actually, I've already got my idea. So what we can do is we'll put today's date for two, and if we had any notes, we could type them in here. I'm just going to write in. I I already have my idea, and then I can come down here and I can check the complete box. So this whole column is now done. And that's why normally when you start does you might have your idea already begun and you condone, basically, get rid of 5% of your work of the animation production checklist right off the bat. So then we'll go over to design characters, and you may or may not have this done. Uh, let's say that I haven't done so. I'm just gonna put today's date as well. And you know, you don't have to put anything in the notes. It's more of an area if you I have some ideas that you need to get written down. Want to keep them here with your timeline of your production list? And so let's go ahead and check that as well. And so the main goal you're trying to get to is to complete all these checked boxes, because by the time you've done that means you've gotten your final out, put its distributed, you're done with your project. And that's this is how you keep on track for your animation because it's gonna take you a while to complete your animation from start to finish. So let's just say that I have not written my script yet, so I'm gonna give myself, you know, a month to write the script so I might put five to or you in 51 Let's just say I wanted by the first of the next month. And, you know, if I had any notes, I hear I could I could write those down or say if my client had some notes. We you know that he's reading to me over the phone or in a meeting. I could either write them here like Client wants to review script after one week, you know, whatever notes you want to put. And we have not completed the script yet, so we won't check that off. So at this stage, what I want to do is I either want to I want to save this, and we've renamed it with the name of our projects. So we're not saving over the original animation production checklist because we want to have that as a blank copy for our next project. So weakness come up here and save um, right here and you could see now it's not. It seemed out so we can print this file print, and when we go to print it, uh, you can see we wanted to just make sure that our preview window looks correct. If you click on the orientation, just make sure that everything fits and ideally, we want to print this, um, tabloid. And that's 11 by 17 inches that if you have a printer that prints that large, which I do, um, I like to print this big and stick it on my wall. So I like to just click this to make sure the looks. You can view it in the correct orientation and scale the fit that should work. You can scale it down if you need to. And we're just gonna print it now. Say, if you wanted to print it on a legal size of paper, it's gonna resize it on its own. And you can see we could actually go from 75% Let's say 50% and you can see what it's gonna look like on that piece of paper. So 75% seems to work for this and we printed onto a 8.5 by 11 sheets. Actually, I put legal, which is 8.5 by 14. I meant to do letter, but, uh, you know, whatever paper has got in your printer, uh, we're gonna sit scale to fit and looks like 63% is what works for letter. So we would print that and then hang it on the wall. Now, many cancel this. If you wanted to send this to your client or other animators you might be working with or a writer or whoever you're working with, Um, at this stage, you would just email them the pdf, which is here on the desktop. And it's a pretty small file size. We're looking at 111 cakes. So kilobytes so no, not too big. And, um, you know, if you're working with a client, they might want all of these dates filled in at one time. So it's like, you know, we've got six months, we've got a year and how are we gonna break up these stages to keep us on track so that we could meet our deadline, which might be a ah animation festival? Or, you know, a film festival or something that you want to get this into? You've got to keep on track, and that's why you would want to do your due dates all at once if I'm working on a personal project. I don't like to fill these in at once because I find that you know the work, real work. It's in the way of your personal project. And your timelines are harder to stick to, especially with animation. So you re doing these dates a lot. So I just take it one day at a time. And, you know, in this case, we've got it given herself a month to get the script written, and at that point, we would save it. And, you know, once we've gotten the Scripture and we reopen this file and we would check it off and then we give ourselves a new due date for the storyboard calm so real quick. I just want to kind of go over the the different stages that come with making an animation . Uh, ideally, you need an idea that's create idea. You need to design your characters at that point. So you have an idea of how many characters are dealing with and what the kind and what they look like. Um, I like to have the characters designed before I write the script, but because my script is constantly changing, even kind of during the production, that can change especially dialogue. But, um, this is just the order. I like to go in. You could make your own animation production checklist and rearrange the columns and, you know, take columns out if you want. If you don't like him or you don't need them. And the other thing is, if you print this out and say your animation, there's no talking, you know, it's just characters moving around, then you don't need voices. And this whole column you just dropping X through it, you know, cross it out with a marker and then you're got less work to do. So this is this is good to go over with your client at this stage, the very beginning. T say, look, these are our stages. We're gonna create the idea which, ideally, the client has that when he comes to you and we need to design the characters, then we need to write the script. Then we need to create a storyboard. Then I like to record the voices and the reason I like to do that this stage is that R and O Matic has better timing because you can go straight from storyboard to Anna Matic. But your timing of your automatic is not gonna be as accurate without the voices. So we want to make sure that we've recorded their voices at least a rough recording. You know, you could just be you doing all the voices. But Italy's get you your timing, and that's gonna help you at this Anna Matic stage, which, in my opinion, is very important because this is kind of like seeing a rough cut of your film. And you can see what jokes are working or how timing is working. Or, you know, you see a whole bunch of things on it, and you can make changes to into your you can go back, make changes to your script, make changes to the design of the characters, make changes in the storyboard phase to make another Anna Matic. You're gonna use this to kind of bounce back and forth between stages as you're progressing through your project. So once you get your Anna Matic done, you know, uh, then you've got a test screening and and this is typically with just a few friends or people you're working on a project with your client conceded at this stage especially important because you don't want to start doing the you know, the grunt work of the animation. If you're an iMac doesn't work. So you do your test screening, you do make your notes, and this is they're not necessarily here. But you learn things from a test screen, and you go back and make changes if necessary. If everything works out, OK, taken. Move forward to the next stage, which is designing the backgrounds. And this is just the order I like to work in, Um, the D backgrounds, having at least a rough background created, helps me in placement of the characters. And, you know, you can refer back to your story board so that, you know, kind of what? Your backgrounds, what backgrounds are needed. What shots? What angles. You know what, um, objects might need to be in the background cars, you know, whatever. Um okay, so then what? You get your backgrounds created, you could start animating. And, you know, animation is a whole different class. I mean, all of these stages air their own class. Really? Because there's so much they couldn't go into each stage. But at this stage, you want to animate your characters at least a rough animation. And once your animation is cleaned up, then you can cover your characters and I like to do lip sinking after coloring the characters because I put my lips on top of the color characters. So, um, you know, lip sinking is a bunch of kind of grunt work, if you ask me. And there's some software that around that will do it, you know, decent job of it for you. But you're still gonna have to clean it up yourself. Um, and you can't do your lip sync And if you haven't recorded your voice, So there, you know, there is an order to this that we want to train state in the correct order composite, the scenes which you know you're taking the animation that you've created and combining it with your backgrounds. And, you know, maybe putting your visual effects if there's some smoke or, you know, lightning or need that kind of stuff. You know, that's all gonna be composited together and video editing and composite. They're similar, you know, But they're different, but they almost could be the same column. But there are things happen and video editing that are different from compositing. So I've gotta miss two different columns. Once you're editing is done, I like to add sound effects and music, and you and you can thies to kind of go hand in hand cause you're still gonna be video editing as you're adding sound effects music. But you might need to create your own sound effects where you might need to, you know, go find sound effects or get music created by a professional musician or a friend or whatever. And so you know that gives you can give yourself a deadline here to get that done, and then you need to make sure your audio levels are correct. So that's kind of giving you this stage of which might not necessarily be done in a video editor. Um, I do my audio editing in audacity free program. And at that point, you know, once everything's edited and composited together with your sound effects and you know your audio levels were good, then you can have another test screen. And this time you know it should be very to be close to being completed, and you can see ah, better idea of you know what's working, what's not working, maybe some colors or off, or knows all types of things to look for in this screening here because it's being it's close to being done. You'll take notes from that screening, and then you make revisions because I guarantee you're gonna have changed to make. And once the revisions air done, ideally, you want to do another test screen. I didn't put it here because I didn't want a bunch of columns that air test screenings, but you want to do at least one were tested, meaning before you go to final distribution because our final output, because you don't want to have errors in what you send out. So it's kind of like proof reading. You know you want to do a few rounds of this test, you know, test screening, revision, test screening, revision or revision back to whatever column needs to be fixed. Maybe the lips sinkings off on a few things so you could go back to lip sinking, sink it back up in the video editor test, screen it again, so that's kind of your process. And once you have happy with the final piece, then you're at final distribution or final output. That could just be the YouTube. It could be to a DVD, you know, whatever your output is, and then you're kind of getting into distribution, which is getting that output ID file into the hands of your people. They're gonna watch it so and that could be a whole range of things. But once you've kind of gotten the final thing final file output, you can check this off and then you're basically done with animation portion of your project, and then you get into distribution and marketing and all these other things, which is it's separate work from the animation. And maybe somebody else is gonna do that for your project. Or, you know, the client. That's the clients work. Or, you know, you've given the animation of the client, and now they take it and they're going to run with it. That's my animation production checklist. That's how I use it for a project on. Remember to save your changes. And if your file was back and forth with you between you and a client, are you and whoever you're working on your project with, Just make sure that you guys are on the same page with this document printed out hanging on your wall, and you can see it every day and see, this is what I'm working on right now. I've got 30 days left to right my script or, you know, whatever stage you're in, and that's how you'll get your animation done. Next, we'll see how to use an A P C with a client. 8. Using APC with Client: using ABC with a client. I want to explain why a client needs to understand these 18 steps, and a PC provides a quick visual overview of the work needed to be done. Your client or potential client will better understand the scope of work that is involved in animation. This is a good time to decide on a loose timeline for due dates both for the individual stages and for the final product. This will most likely change and get updated during production. Luckily, the A P C is easily updated, but the few due dates and check marks decide what stages air needed for the project. Maybe they don't need backgrounds. Color music, etcetera. You can cross those columns out of the A P. C. Don't forget about the notes. This is a good area for quick notes a client may have during your meeting that you don't want to forget. Did I mention the A. P. C is a Philip will form, so you don't even have to print it out. You can feel everything out digitally and send to a client for review or further editing. I still recommend you both printing it out, so you can see it every day. But sending the digital file is a good way to keep a paper trail of due dates and notes for the project. Finally, you can give the client their own copy of the A P. C for them to fill out and give back to you. Maybe they want to figure out due dates later and give you their notes to compare to yours . This way, you can find common ground for getting things done in a timely manner. 9. My Project Tips: Here's some of my project tips. Don't schedule all your due dates at the beginning. The reason you don't want to do this is it will stress you out. Just take it one column at a time. Give yourself a due date for the next stage to be completed. Don't be afraid to make changes to the ABC. I kept the A p. C. Simplistic so you can print a new one and get back up to speed easily. This way, you're not feeling locked into some big, complicated spreadsheet and having to update it or start again as some big chore. Don't overbite the size of your project, especially for your first project. I've made this mistake more than once. When you create a project for the first time, you don't really understand the work that's involved. And trying to make a 20 minute animation is ridiculous. Keep your first project small so you can have some completed projects under your belt. There will be time to work on your large masterpiece later. I had done a lot of small animations before I decided to take on my first big project, which was trapped, and that ended up being a 22 minute animation. It ended up taking me over two years to finish. It's hard enough to get someone to sit through a three minute animation, let alone a 20 minute one, so keep it short. Avoid your weaknesses. When I made Trip, which was mostly two D animation, I had an idea for a three D shot that I wanted, but I didn't know how to do three D animation. So I spent hundreds of dollars on a software package and countless hours trained to learn the software so I could create this shot. They ended up on Lee being about five seconds along five seconds out of a 22 minute animation. I would have been way better off just trying to avoid doing anything. Three D Sticking to what I know with two D and getting those work hours back. So avoid your weaknesses, blogged about your progress. Let people know you're working on an animation. So when it's finally done, you'll have an audience waiting toe. Watch your final product, and they could be your biggest fans. To help spread your project to a wider audience, build a mailing list. A sap you won't have this built. Before you even start working on your animation, spend a few minutes, get the sign up form completed, add it to your blogger Web page. And by the end of the process, the people that have signed up for your newsletter are going to be your main source of help for spreading the word and finally enjoy the process. Animations. A lot of hard work. And if you're not enjoying the actual process of making an animation, what's the point? So have fun and go get started on your animation project. 10. Recap: Let's recap. So now you know what in a PC is. It's an animation production checklist. In case you already forgot what we learned, we learned what an ABC is, how to use them and why you should want to use them. We also learned how to use them with clients and potential claims, and I gave a few of my tips for getting started with your own animated project. Hopefully, now you feel more prepared to start working on your own animation. 11. Conclusion: Congratulations on completing this skill share class. Remember to post your a PC's to the your project section of this class. I will do my best to check all the projects to come through and give my feedback. I'm really excited to see the beginnings of all your animated projects. Thank you for taking my skill share class on the animation production checklist. Please follow my profile here on skill share because I have plans to make more animation classes. This has been Patrick Davidson, the expat animator. See you next time.