Tips For Creating A Cute & Simple Character & Animating It! | Diane Shaher | Skillshare

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Tips For Creating A Cute & Simple Character & Animating It!

teacher avatar Diane Shaher, 2D Animator

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      A Few Tips On Creating A Simple & Cute Characters


    • 3.

      Animating: Part 1


    • 4.

      Animating: Part 2


    • 5.

      Animating: Part 3 - Wrapping Up!


    • 6.

      Adding Buffer or Idle-ness


    • 7.

      Adding in A Background


    • 8.

      Colouring Your Character


    • 9.

      How To Export


    • 10.



    • 11.



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About This Class

This class briefly shows you a few tips on creating a simple, cute, and appealing character. As well steps on how to animate and loop your character doing a simple wave. Perfect for those cute Instagram videos or art blogs! 

What you will get out of this class is bringing a simple character to life, and of course a few animation principles such as easing, drag and appeal! 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Diane Shaher

2D Animator


Diane is an freelance animator based out of Vancouver B.C, she was always inspired by cartoons growing up and decided to pursue animation as a career, so she went to Sheridan College for their Bachelor of Animation program. During the program she interned at a studio named Titmouse Inc. located in Los Angeles, California  and after graduating she got hired by Titmouse's Vancouver studio in 2017. Since then she has worked on shows for FOX, Amazon, Netflix and Disney Channel and is now freelancing for commercial studios such as Linetest and BUCK. 

Besides being an animator, Diane has a huge passion for skateboarding which has been a huge influence on her since she was a 9 years old! She also recently started a new venture called PHRSH threads... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro!: Hey guys Diane here. Sorry, it's been a while, but I've got a new class for you guys. In this class, I cover tips on how to create a character and how to animate that character. For those who haven't seen my first video, go check it out. I cover some basics in there. Or if you already have animation and tomb harmony experienced, then this class is for you. For those who don't know me. I'm Diane, I graduated from Sheridan Colleges animation program and I've been in industry for about four years now. I've had the opportunity to work on a handful of TV shows, such as Netflix's Carmen Sandiego, Amazon's little big awesome, the new Johnny tests disease Hotel Transylvania, and a handful of unannounced commercials. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this class and I'll see you in their piece. 2. A Few Tips On Creating A Simple & Cute Characters: Hey guys Diane here. So before we go into animating our character, I'm going to show you guys what goes into creating a simple cue and appealing character. So first thing is simple shapes. You don't want anything too complex. The simpler the better. Because if you're creating a complex here to animate, it will be a pain to animate and could potentially lose its appeal. It's better to keep it simple, especially if you're new to animating. Second clear silhouette. Part of creating simple queue and appealing character is making sure the character has a clear silhouette, which obviously ties into simple shapes. If you were to take a look at cartoon characters grew up with such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, or linear that from Beauty and the Beast. If you were to color in their silhouette with black, you'll notice there are simple and iconic, almost like a logo. The simpler and clearer the silhouette the better. And third, exaggerating proportions. For example, eyes far apart and melt the PI, or eyes and mouth close together or large eyes and little. Now, as you can see here as my example, I quickly draw out each character has very basic simple shapes that really inconsistent one shape. And as well, the silhouettes are clear and you can kind of tell what the art without seeing their details. That's it for this lesson. I hope you enjoyed it and I'll see you in the next lesson. 3. Animating: Part 1: Hey guys Diane here. Now that we've gone over how to create a character, it's time to animate. So first, you're going to want to relabel the existing drawing layer and the node view to animation or character. I've labeled it to animation. Now we're going to want to draw your character in a neutral position, like how I've done it here. We're going to animate pose to pose. So you're going to have three keyframes. The second keyframe is going to be repeated. So we'll have our character go from the first keyframe to the second keyframe with his arm up. The third keyframe will be as arm out. Then back to the second keyframe. And then to finish it back at the neutral position, which is the first keyframe, just like how I've done it here. So you will want to trees over the characters first drawing twice so that you have two frames. I look almost exactly the same. Then you will want to Copy and Paste Special after these two frames so that when you go to modify this dry, it won't affect the first frame. Now drawn your keys that look exactly how I've done it here. Once you've drawn a new three keys as time to in-between, just make sure you have five frames. The first keyframe of our character is in its neutral position. Second keyframe with his arm up. Third keyframe is with his arm out. Fourth frame is the second keyframe and copy it over. And the fifth frame is our copied first frame. Now we'll throw in a breakdown times. And if you're not sure what a breakdown drawing is, it's the frame that's in between two keys hover. It doesn't exactly need to be right smack in the middle of both frames. It's the drawing that shows us how we get from one keyframe to the next. So create a new drawing between the first second keys will use the onion skin and trees between both frames so that it doesn't boil too much. All right, For the breakdown, drawing between the first, second keyframe, it's probably going to look something kind of like this. I'm actually going to revise the hand pose and the spread down so that it's more clear. There we go. How's hand looks a little small, so I'm going to actually enlarge that. Here we go. That's our breakdown. All right, so I'm just going to extend the exposures on on the first and the breakdown just because it was on a one and we always want them to be on twos. Now on to the next. So between keyframe number 23, we will probably have about maybe three drawings in-between each. 23. So between keyframe number 23, there, you don't exactly need and breakdown is more of just in-betweens. Sends its not going between any drastic poses. So let's throw that in. So you want to repeat what we just did with that break down. You're going to turn on the onion skin and trace between keyframe number two and number three as close as possible. And, and we'll save the arm for last. So for this in-between of the arm, we're going to have it favor the second keyframe. So what that means is that it's going to be closer to the second keyframe, then it will be to the third. And that will give it a bit easing out. So I'll show you what that will look like. So we'll turn on the onion skin or drying. So to ease out of the string is going to look like, kind of like that. With a bit of drag. First I'm going to emit less of a drag. There we go. So that's our first in-between. Alright, since our third keyframe isn't too far from the second, we're going to add in some cushion, which is easing into this frame. So we can add it before this frame between them between and the third key frame. Or we can have it just after this frame. So I'm gonna go for after Saddam. We're going to review what we just said with those last two drawings. The breakdown in the in-between and closely trace the drawings before and after. Okay. Okay. Great. So for cushion, this in-between, it's going to be seeing a system that is the same. So it's going to look pretty close to this subtree, the third keyframe. So that's going to be a little different. I have a little bit of drag. And I'll read you this here to make sure everything goes in arcs. So that's what I'm trying to do right now, is make sure that his hand was moving in a nice part. Promise there. 4. Animating: Part 2: All right, so we're going to do the exact same thing again, but we're going to do it so that we can ease back into this position. But this time we're going to ease out and ease in three Kiva we just did. So I'll make sure if you're in between, is in between this stirring go on nights after the third keyframe. The second keyframe button. So the third one is right here. Okay? All right, So for this next arm drawing, it's going to be easing out of this frame. So that means it's going to be favoring this drying. So we will draw it right about here. And we're going to add some drag to his hand. So it'll look like that will extend the exposure so that it's on a two. All right now and so popping, so we still need to add in few more in-betweens. Specifically, between this new drawing and the second keyframe. This front hand is actually looking a little small, so I'm going to make it bigger. In addition, it's also not going in the right arc. It's kind of going like that, like that. So we're going to move it up so that it's moving in nice, nice arc. So I'm just gonna move it up slightly. Here we go. Step is risks. It's better. All right, We've gotta fix as possible. So we're going to throw in another in-between. So we're going to favor this drying. Keyframe number 2 and repeat the process. So tracing his body and adding in his arm. So it'll be probably right about here. I'm just going to draw it in. And it's going to have a little bit of drag still, but not as much as the last rhyme. Hey, buddy. Okay. Sorry, my sun exposure so that each drawing is on. Time to enlarge. Looking better. Let's repeat it. So now we're going to do out in the next drawing. And the drawing is going to be a breakdown between the second keyframe and the first keyframe so that it will loop back seamlessly. So we'll go ahead and draw in our breakdown between these two frames. So, you know the drill. Hi. 5. Animating: Part 3 - Wrapping Up!: Okay, so for this next drawing, we're going to throw in our breakdown right about here. And then after this break down, we're going to throw in the in-betweens that go between these huge lines. So our breakdown should be about we get a boat there. And I'm going to actually make it a little more curved. Curved listen drag. And make sure when you're doing the drag that it's that each point leads to its last point. So I think it's going to kind of connect to where the fingers last word. So this will kind of having the drag will help make it look less stiff. So let's Let's extend exposure. See how that looks. All right, I'll see it looks kind of poppy. And we're actually going to fix this arm because it's not moving how and why the two and we're actually going to fix this arm because it's not moving how it should be. So let's say this arm, it connects right here. So we're going to have it look like that. Please. That way it'll look more. Venture. All right. We should you throw in some in-betweens and then and then we'll be done. Just make that bigger though. So since we'll be easing out of this frame, easing out in between, maybe about here. I'll say with some drag. I turned to trace over the body. And so actually it was like we need a couple more drawings. Maybe one, but we'll see. So it looks it looks like we'll need a drawing or two between this last drying and the first string. So we will go ahead and repeat what we've been doing. Tracing as closely as possible, the body. And then we'll throw in the army in between. But we're almost there. Guys, so now that we have our character almost done, we just need to throw in about one or two more frames. So let's, let's do that. Okay, so for the arm placement on this frame, we're going to place it. Let's see about let's just say we'll put it right in the middle. Make sure you add in some drag things because I'm like a nice curve. So I'm going to revise his hand. It's looking a little small. So I'm going to flip through this frame. The last frame and the next frame to make sure, I guess fingers the rate length. Sometimes when you're using the onion skin, it makes it harder to see your previous and first drawing even though it's laid out for you, It's a little different. Kind of obscures the actual look up the drying. So sometimes when you're using the onion skin, it's not the best thing to rely on. It's kind of animators crutch. So every time you do a new drawing, a new frame, always got to make sure that like creating a character, you want to make sure the silhouette is always looking clear. And you can clearly tell what's going on in each drawing. All right, We're almost done. We actually need one more drying. Let's just double-check. Yeah, so going back to the last or first drawing, looks a little abrupt. So we're going to add in a little more caution. So one frameshift help ease that. Pop the pop from this frame to this frame. So adding in one frame should help. All right, so our next in-between, it will be right smack in the middle. The last frame and this next frame. And it's going to start favoring the last frame. So it's going to look something like this. So we're going to fill in the rest of the drawing using our onion skin. Okay. So we're gonna have some exposure Plate and see how it looks. Nice. That's a fully animation. So another thing you can do on top of this is have some buffer time before he waves. You can trace over the first shrine at least a couple times and then sandwich it with the first drying. And then copy and paste special that several times with a timeline before he waves so you can have them start waving on frame 24, but copy and paste the first four drawings of him being in an as neutral position up until frame 24 where he starts waving. So you'll have a 1 second of buffer and then the animation of him waving. I can show you how to do that in the next video. Stay tuned. 6. Adding Buffer or Idle-ness: Hey guys Diane here. So in this video, I'm gonna show you guys how to create a bit of buffer before our character waves. It kind of creates a little bit of realism and also liveliness to our character. So I've already done the first step. I want you to trace our first drawing twice over and make sure it's two different frames. So these are the two that I've traced. And I basically create a new frame. And onion skinned traced over the first key. And then I shifted the animation down a tad so that I have room to create some new frames. And then I copied and pasted over this first, this first frames, over to frame seven. So I pasted special and make sure you hit always create drawing files. Hit Okay, and then you trace over using the onion skin, the first key and the previous drawing that you've traced over from the first key. So there'll be 22 drawings in-between the first key. Then once you do that, we're going to shift our animation down, starting with this frame, the frame after the first Keith. So we're going to shift that down to frame 25. Delete the extra bit of exposure on this first keyframe. Then we're going to copy and Paste Special starting on this frame and this exact same spot on the timeline. And always create drawing files. Hit Okay, So right now we're just creating the cycle of the buffer once again. And you're gonna actually shifted over a little bit more so that it doesn't overlap. And so our animation will actually start on frame 29 and delete a bit of the extra exposure, bring that over. And now you should have something that looks like this. Looking good. All right, so the next step is adding a background. Now, show you how to do that in the next video. 7. Adding in A Background: Hey guys. Now that we've finished our animation, we're going to throw in a background. So to do that, all you have to do is hit this plus sign. Go to color card. And it'll by default add in a white color card. You can change the color by going into the node view and hitting the yellow square and hitting this color bar. And you can choose whatever color you'd like. I'm just gonna go with weight. And that's it. Hi. 8. Colouring Your Character: Hey guys, in this bonus video, I'm going to show you guys how to color your character. Well, you wanna do is make sure you have these layers on the right side of your screen. I'll show you guys how to access that. So go to Edit Preferences and go to Advanced. And make sure that you have support overlay and underlay arts on. And that's how you access those layers. So what you wanna do is hit K on your keyboard. And that will show you guys the strokes. So you can go to the Paint Bucket tool and open up your palettes. And I'm going to create a color for the seaweed. So we'll go with that. And make sure. So make sure you're on the color layer and hit, you're going to want to hit this button. And that basically creates strokes under, under the line art. And that allows you to keep your line art in your color separate. So let's hit that again. And that should ensure that the strokes have gone through. Right? Now, what I like to do is assembly line. So I like to go through each frame with the one color. And I just find it's a little bit faster to do one color at a time. So frame through each time, hitting this button and ensuring you're on the color layer. All right, so now we're going to go back to the beginning and repeat this process, but with another color. So I'm going to get some some pink for the salmon scrap. No. I don't want to repeat this again. But this time we don't have to press this button since it's already been transferred over 0. All right, so if you happen to have holes in your liner, where you can do is go to the Paint Bucket tool and press down, gotta close Gap. And everywhere you see this little yellow square, it means that there's open lines. So you can just use this tool to help close the lines and that should help prevent colors from bleeding onto other parts. We can also do is clean up your character. And by doing that, you can ensure that there is no holes in your in your lines. So if you wanted to do that, take that route, you would just create another layer and trace over each and every drawing and making sure that each line is just a solid line and not a bunch of little strokes. We've got our character. It's not super perfect, but it works. And as for the, the way the race part of the sushi roll, I'm going to make an off-white color so that It's got a little more contrast. So something on the yellow side. There we go. I might actually make that a little less saturated. There we go. Same thing again. 9. How To Export: Hey guys, Now that you've got your animation all animated and colored, it's time to export. So go up to File, file to Export, Export Movie, and make sure that it's a QuickTime movie. And make sure that it's set to the location you want to export it to you. And that you've checked off all for export range. As for resolution, same as seen resolution, then hit Okay. And that's it. 10. BONUS : Hey guys Diane here. So I'm going to show you guys how to add a blink to your character. It's super simple and only take about five minutes to do. So. Zoom on in to your character, and let's choose which frame we're going to add a blink to. It really only takes about one or two frames for a blink to register. So so I'm going to add a blink on this frame, frame 47, where the character is returning his hand to the original position. So what you're gonna wanna do is bring out the eraser size down because it's a little big. And create this guy's blink. So we're going to make little crescent moons. And we're busting out the pencil to make it a little more appealing. And that's looking pretty cute. Right? So we're actually going to add in a little bit of ease to the blinks. So it's not kind of abrupt. Show you what that looks like. So we're going to slow it down a tad. So frame frame 48. We'll have it three-quarters of the way up. So his eyelid would be that. And so we're going to be favoring the open position, which is, which is that. So I don't want to have a little bit of a curve and see what that looks like. There you go. And if you want, you can add a little ys on the loads going down. And so what animators usually do is have the blink about halfway down. And then when you're going back to the open position, it's about three-quarters open. So this will be half-open. So that's about half and have some curve to it. Here we go. Sure, I should do the trick. Let's check it out. Awesome. Hi. 11. Outro!: Hey, so I hope you liked this class and I hope you learn something new. Be sure to upload your work to the student gallery. If you have any questions, be sure to hit me up. I would love to review your work and stay tuned for the next video. Thanks.