So I’ve been doing a lot of animating for a computer animation competition in BPA. Due to the amount of time I’ve put into it I’ve managed to dig up a fair bit of experience. To help out any beginners in the field here are some tips and tricks that I have learned along the path to success (well it might be success I dunno yet)

  1. Easing is your friend Anyone online will tell you about keyframes in animation but often times the default linear keyframes make an animation look jerky and stiff. There are times you want a sharp stop but consider using a curve to your animation. For a better example of what I’m talking about here’s an interactive curve. (Click on the curves to see what they do.)
  2. Use Frame Blending to reduce render time If you’re making a simple exterior shot or something without a lot of moving parts render out just a few frames (as low as 10 is good) and then stretch it out in After Effects using frame blending. This’ll automatically generate new frames based on the one’s you already have which is pretty cool. I believe Apple Motion can do the same thing but AE is a better program overall especially if you’re a 3D animator or VFX artist
  3. Sound Design is really important It’s easy to spend all your time on the visuals and it’s true that visuals are a big part of an animation but you’d be surprised how much audio does. It makes everything seem a lot more natural. Don’t believe me? Try watching anything without sound and seeing how good it looks. I guarantee you it won’t seem as great.
  4. Always have something move Whenever something is on the screen it’s easy to just put it there and leave it there. For basic titles this is fine. However, if you’d really like to keep your audiences’ attention have something move, even slightly and it’ll make a world of difference. People look at things that move so someone is a lot less likely to read or even look at something that’s just static. It almost blends in. All that said do not overdo it either. Try just scaling the text up or down 10% over a few seconds and see how that looks.
  5. Don’t learn how to do things If you watch a lot of online tutorials or uh… blog posts a lot of them will tell you how to achieve X effect. A common mistake is to just take these at face value and just save or look for these tutorials when they need that effect. Instead, picture this as a chance to sit down with a professional in the field and just see how they work. Learning what each tool does and always thinking in the back of your head what else you could use that for.