Posted in Uncategorized

Better Peace of Mind with ADT

I never thought I needed to consider home security systems because of the area that I live in. I was raised in the same small town that I live in now, and it had always been a safe haven for me. All of that changed when crime started spreading west of the big city that is an hour from me. Unfortunately, I am to the west. Gang members have been seen in the area, and drug arrests have gone up. When those two things happen, crime statistics go up too.

We just have a small police force, so this took our town by surprise when we started having a lot of trouble. It is not as bad as living in a big city, but it is still heartbreaking for those of us who thought we would remain untouched by big city problems. I knew that I wanted to do everything in my power to protect my family, which is why I wanted to look at different companies that provide the home security systems. Continue reading “Better Peace of Mind with ADT”

Posted in Animations

4 Tips That Would Prevent You From Having A Compromised Animated Explainer Video Quality

Animated Explainer Videos are extremely effective in putting across your message in a comprehensible manner. The real challenge, however, lies in making sure that the quality of your Explainer Video is just perfect. Here are four insightful tips that could prevent you from getting a low quality Animated Explainer Video produced.

1. Finalize your script before the animation process starts

In the video production process, animation is done on the basis of the script. Once the animation is completed and the final video produced, altering the script would only deteriorate the video quality. This is because, correspondingly, animation would also have to be altered, requiring that part to be made from the scratch. The altered part may then appear like a patch and break the flow of the video, thereby reducing its overall quality. Therefore, it is important to finalize the script before giving it for animation.

2. Specify the minutest of details, right at the beginning

It is advised that even the minutest of details, like color specifications, logo details (where and when to place in the video) etc., are given right at the beginning of the production process. Any redoing / revision is strictly ill-advised, as the new specifications may not fit-in as well, and may in fact, decrease the visual appeal of the video.

3. Final Voiceover v/s Dummy Voiceover

Voiceovers form the foundation of Explainer Videos. For a video to look professional, perfect synchronization between the voiceover and the animation is a must! Sometimes, during the video production process, animation is done first on the basis of a dummy voiceover which is then replaced by the final voiceover. This is a No-No! The final voiceover could have some variations from the dummy voiceover, in terms of the speed of voiceover narration, emphasis made on particular words, pause placements etc. This creates a mismatch between the animation and the voiceover, thus deteriorating the video quality. Even a minutely desynchronized video could confuse the viewers and make them feel annoyed by the low quality. Thus, it is better to animate the video based on the final voiceover instead of on a dummy voiceover.

4. Finalize step-by-step

Typically, the video production process involves the following steps in the given sequential order:

  • Research
  • Scripting
  • Storyboard Creation
  • Voiceover Recording
  • Animation
  • Delivery

Since the video is built gradually, based on the output of the previous step, therefore, going back to a previous step during the production process should be avoided. Since it is extremely important to have the perfect synchronization between the script (voiceover) and the animation, altering anything in these elements, often disrupts the flow of the message, making it ambiguous.

These precautionary tips could help in eliminating the unwanted elements that could put off your viewers. Follow these and pull off an amazing animated Explainer Video for your brand promotion.

Posted in Animations

3D Animation Videos

The definition of 3D animation is, “Animating objects that appear in a three-dimensional space. They can be rotated and moved like real objects. 3D animation is at the heart of games and virtual reality, but it may also be used in presentation graphics to add flair to the visuals.” How did 3D animation come to be?

William Fetter, an American computer graphics art director, is often attributed to being the founder and creator of 3D animation. In 1960, while working for Boeing Aircraft in Wichita Kansas, he coined the term “computer graphics” after creating the first computer model of the human body. This first 3D model is known as “The Boeing Man.” Fetter was the Supervisor of Advanced Design Graphics at Boeing Aircraft. He and his team explored new techniques, using computer graphics, to assist in the design of airplanes.

Being that 3D animation was founded on the grounds of an engineering company, it makes sense that much of the 3D videos that are created are for the engineering industry. 3D animation can show the inner workings of machine or what has not yet been built, the exact thing William Fetter and his team were working on when 3D animation was created.

Besides engineering, there are many other industries that use 3D animation visualizations. Such as, medical, architectural and retail. In the retail industry, many products are hard or confusing to describe, so companies use 3D modeling to explain the functions of the product. This can be extremely helpful for things that cannot be photographed. Such as, microscopic elements or multiple dimensions and angles.

Anything you can imagine, an animator can create. Other industries that commonly use 3D animation include mining, gaming and construction. Fluid simulations are one 3D animation technique that can be used in the previously mentioned industries and many more. 3D fluid simulations can show how the lubrication of a piston aircraft works, or blood flowing through veins or water flowing through the pipes of a building that hasn’t been built yet.

3D animation is a great way to bring to life a product or design that is still on the drawing board. It is also great to use for something that is difficult to explain verbally. 3D animation can make things visible that are normally invisible or hard to understand. Although there are a few industries who commonly use 3D animation, it is now used for much more. 3D animation can be used to describe or show the details of any product, service or function.

Posted in Animations

5 Common Character Archetypes in Cartoons

Whether we’re looking at Shakespeare or SpongeBob, there are common character archetypes that appear in stories across time and cultures. Archetypes are characterized or classified by the role they serve or their purpose in a story. The classical archetypes of a good story include the protagonist and antagonist, the mentor, the sidekick, and the love interest. Let’s take a closer look at these five archetypes and how animation studios bring them to life.

The Protagonist

This protagonist is the main character in a story, show or movie. In many cases, this character turns out to be the hero. It is usually easy to identify the protagonist because the storyline revolves around them and their lives, problems and internal conflicts. Roughly, in Greek, the word protagonist translates to “player of the first part” or “chief actor.”

Why is a protagonist so important? They aren’t always the heroes; sometimes they are just the focal point in a show or even in an advertisement. A protagonist is typically on the “good side,” and follows a moral compass that many deem good. The protagonist is likely to change throughout a story and that action expresses the theme of a story an animation studio is trying to put out. A protagonist serves as a doorway into an emotional story or an emotional heart. They tend to draw a viewer or reader into the story. The best protagonists are characters that people can relate to. As a viewer, you may have shared hopes, fears or goals with a protagonist.

When we look to animation and some of the most well known protagonists we see characters like Buzz and Woody or Superman. Though heroes in our eyes, protagonists are far from perfect. They hold some type of flaw, whether it be internal or within their environment. The conflict they face then causes them to fight back or fall back from the big obstacle, and the way they choose to react to a situation is how we choose to interpret the character’s qualities.

The Antagonist

Classical forms of storytelling feature a main character known as the protagonist, which we discussed. This character will typically enter the story first. Then enters the antagonist. This character is typically depicted as the “bad guy” or the “villain.” Antagonists are without a doubt entertaining and bring a moral conflict to light, which as a result puts our hero at a fork in a moral road.

These characters serve to teach viewers wrong from right. These characters are an essential component to any story for many reasons. They are the primary opposition for a protagonist. They elicit the protagonist in the story to change their perception and try to live in a less flawed world, no matter who or what they must hurt to attain it.

When an antagonist or a villain in any story is personifying a central conflict, it brings a different element to a story that will benefit it. The pressure an antagonist puts on the protagonist eventually brings forth inner conflicts. These characters typically test their counterpart’s moral compass and commitment to being morally just.

The Sidekick

The role of a sidekick was once referred to as the “close companion.” This role dates back more than a century. Specifically, we have our first literary glimpse at a sidekick in The Epic of Gilgamesh, which features a protagonist-sidekick. The main character seeks not only friendship, but also advice from Enkidu. This character has defined many of the consistent and quality characteristics we seek in a great sidekick in regards to a production of a film, book or television series and more.

Gilgamesh was unarguably the main character. However, the epic reveals that the secondary character, Enkidu, played a smaller but still meaningful role in the story. When Enkidu is killed, Gilgamesh responds aggressively because he has grown close to his friend and confidant. The depth of the reaction Gilgamesh has not only adds depth to him as a character, but also lets the audience know how significant the bond was between the protagonist and sidekick.

Another common trope of the sidekick is to infuse the story with humor. This is especially true of animated characters. Where would Bugs Bunny be without Daffy Duck to set him off? Some may see Daffy as more of an antagonist, but he’s not really out to get Bugs. The two characters play off of each other and add lots of laughs along the way.

Other great sidekicks in time include Dr. Watson and Sancho Panza. These sidekicks perform different roles and functions in support of the main character they assist throughout a storyline. They serve a grander purpose than simply being a companion or assistant. They humanize the characteristics of a protagonist. They are also the character that moves the story.

The Mentor

The mentor is usually a great help for the protagonist in any story. They guard or protect them during a big quest or journey that involves both physically harmful obstacles as well as emotionally harmful obstacles. They can take many forms. Typically we imagine a grey-haired and aged man, but sometimes the mentor can take the most unsuspecting form.

These characters usually provide support and guide their “student” toward the right path. Mentors are known for having high morals and standards that can often challenge the student they are looking after. They always find a way to inspire them and push them to aspire for something good.

The Love Interest

This character might often be over-looked, but also plays a very important role in many stories. They are the person with whom the main character falls in love with. They serve, as a catalyst in the journey a protagonist must go through. Depending on the ultimate goal of the protagonist, the person who is their love interest can be of great assistance and motivation, much like a mentor can be.

So the next time you’re watching your favorite cartoons, pay close attention to more than the character design quality. Look into the roles you believe each character plays and their significant contribution to a story line. You’ll find it is hard to have a compelling story without these staple archetypes.

Powerhouse Animation is a traditional 2D animation studio based in Austin, Texas with offices in Burbank, California. Since 2001, Powerhouse has been making ideas come to life through animation, illustration, and motion graphics. With a staff of 35 in-house artists, animators, videographers and designers, Powerhouse works on a wide variety of projects and has created animation for companies including Disney, Sony, Marvel, DC, Old Spice, Miramax, the USO and more.

Posted in Animations

5 Reasons to Use Animation to Reach Younger Audiences

As an advertiser, you know the importance of capturing your target audience’s attention with appealing and relevant ads. For years, static ads have been good enough to do just this. However, in today’s market, animated ads offer an exciting and effective way to garner you the kind of customer attention you need to successfully grow your company, especially if you wish to target younger audiences. Following are a few of the reasons that using animation to reach younger audiences is the smart move to make.

Animated Ads Are Engaging

Part of the reason that animated ads are an effective way to reach younger audiences is that they are by their very nature more engaging than static ads. For instance, they tend to be more unique than static ads, and therefore more likely to grab your audience’s attention.

In addition, people are hardwired to respond to movement. As a result, the activity in animated ads draws the consumer’s attention away from whatever they are doing and focus it on your company’s message.

Finally, animation advertising is an engaging way to communicate your brand because it allows you to create appealing characters and worlds that draw the viewer in and give them a positive impression of your brand. Mascots such as Manny Mo and Jack from Pep Boys put a friendly face on a business that will make young consumers more likely to trust that business. Once drawn to these characters and worlds, your target audience will be more likely to respond to your brand, giving you more customers than you could have achieved with more traditional ads.

Animated Ads Are Easy To Understand

The goal of any advertisement is to communicate the company’s message to the consumer. Today’s young people tend to have shorter attention spans and, therefore, need advertisements that are concise and easy to digest quickly. The less engaging and more complex static ads, as a result, can make it more difficult to convey your message simply and quickly. This is especially the case if the message you are communicating is complicated or difficult to understand.

Animated ads, on the other hand, prove the old adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Because they rely on pictures and characters to communicate instead of words, they can, within just a few moments, convey the essence of your brand in a way that static ads cannot do. In the hands of an experienced advertising animation company like Powerhouse Animation, your animated ad can boil your message down into a fun, appealing, and easily grasped format that will be more likely to convert younger audiences into paying customers.

Animated Ads Are Memorable

As an advertiser, your goal is to make your brand or product stick in the minds of the people who view your ads. In part because they are engaging and easy to understand, animated ads tend to accomplish this goal more effectively than do static ads. In fact, an animated ad enables the viewer to retain up to 58 percent more of the material than do other forms of advertising.

Today’s culture, which is so dependent upon screens like smartphones and tablets, is especially ripe for the use of visual representations in advertising. Because of short attention spans and the ease with which pictures and videos can be digested on a small screen, animation provides a way to more effectively help younger audiences remember your brand. As a result, a commercial animation studio like Powerhouse Animation can provide the expertise and material you need to create an advertisement that will communicate your brand in a memorable way to the younger crowds you want to reach.

Animated Ads Are Modern

Younger audiences tend to be drawn to the modern and stylish. Animated ads, because of their use of graphics, motion, video, and design, are more likely to draw the attention of these audiences because they give your brand a more modern feel.

The very fact that animated ads use animation, motion, and appealing graphics make them a modern update on the more traditional static ad. They reflect more accurately the type of medium with which younger audiences are familiar and comfortable.

In addition, depending upon the design and characters you use, you can create an ad that communicates style, polish, and savvy to the audiences you wish to reach. Alternatively, you can, with the help of your chosen animation company, design an animated ad using your own unique style and personality to draw in younger audiences who resonate with the qualities your brand embodies.

Animated Ads Are Fun

Finally, you may want to consider using animated ads to reach younger audiences because they are fun. Rather than just reading words or looking at a single picture, your audience will be drawn into the world and characters that you and your animation partner create together. Excellent character design, creative and well-designed worlds, and the right amount of movement and action will create a story around your brand that your audience will enjoy watching. The more fun they have watching your advertisement, the more likely they will be to remember your brand and purchase your products in the future.

Advertising animation has many advantages if you want to target younger audiences. This type of advertising has the ability to connect with young people through a medium with which they are familiar, characters with whom they can relate, and motion graphics that they will find both entertaining and memorable. As a result, it offers an effective and appealing way to promote your brand.

Powerhouse Animation is a traditional 2D animation studio based in Austin, Texas with offices in Burbank, California. Since 2001, Powerhouse has been bringing ideas to life through animation, illustration, and motion graphics. With a staff of 35 in-house artists, animators, videographers and designers, Powerhouse works on a wide variety of projects and has created animation for companies including Disney, Sony, Marvel, DC, Old Spice, Miramax, the USO and more.

Posted in Animations

A Few Reasons Why Animated Videos Are Amazing

Animation is a form of storytelling that appeals to vision in a way live action movies sometimes cannot. They can present vibrant colors, unique characters, and stylistic art in order to tell a story. An animated video can tell a story in a unique way and there are many reasons for that.

1. Creativity

One of the main appeals of animation is its ability to tell a story in a variety of ways. It doesn’t even have to be grounded in reality so long as it is done well. The popular “I’m Just a Bill” video from Schoolhouse Rock is an example of that: a piece of legislation speaks (and sings) about how it becomes a law. Even as it approaches its 40th anniversary in 2015, the video is just as relevant today as it was in the ’70s and still helps young students understand the legislative process.

An animated video awards creative freedom that cannot be done with any other medium. The world, laws, and appearance of things in the video are all entirely created by the artist and animation production team, and the possibilities are limitless. It is a realm for imagination to run completely wild. It is here, in animation, where some of the greatest videos and characters are born, telling viewers stories that could not be effectively told any other way.

2. Reach

Animation also has a far-reaching effect. Animated videos are more accessible and can be viewed by more people in a greater range of age groups than an ordinary video. People are drawn to videos that evoke a different sensation in the mind and take imagination to a different world. Cartoons and animated videos from other countries can be viewed all over the world and it would be easier to understand the message than with live action alone.

It is easier to view an animated video, no matter your age, because it illuminates the mind and brings a level of engagement nothing else can offer. Not every animated video is the same – there are different artists, designers, and producers, bringing a unique experience to the wide variety of videos.

3. Appeal

Animation is captivation. People are, by nature, visual creatures. Through vision we take in the world around us, and our eyes look for things that please them. Animated videos appeal to that desire and engage the viewer in a particular way. Concepts are better understood when they are shown rather than told, such as the “I’m Just a Bill” video mentioned earlier. Animation makes it easy to learn a new concept or take in a story.

An animated video captures the audience’s attention, opens their eyes and minds to new ideas, and engages them in a unique, memorable experience. It is through animation that true storytelling is fully realized.

Powerhouse Animation is a traditional 2d animation studio based in Austin, Texas. Since 2001, Powerhouse has been making ideas come to life through animation, illustration, and motion graphics. With a staff of 35 in-house artists, animators, videographers and designers, Powerhouse works on a wide variety of projects and has created animation for companies including Disney, Sony, Marvel, DC, Old Spice, Miramax, the USO and more.

Posted in Animations

3 Mistakes to Avoid in Animation

There are three mistakes that amateur animators do, and if you spot them in videos from YouTube, then you know the animator is a beginner, so don’t be so hard on them. But be warned, people who make mistakes don’t know they are doing them, and nobody is telling them, so, how would you know if you are doing things correctly?

Only Action with no Anticipation or Aftermath

Taking the example of the amateurish animators posting videos on YouTube, have you noticed the problem has to do with the unnatural movement of the characters? That happens because there is no anticipation or aftermath

For example, a martial artist throwing a punch while training. You can think of three key poses: clenched fists in guard position, then the “punching arm” extended, then back to the original position. That’s what the amateur has in mind. A veteran imagines the guard position, then the elbow going back to prepare the punch (anticipation), then the arm extended (action), then the arm going back with the elbow up (aftermath), and finally the character returns to the guard position, breathing slowly. Do you see the natural flow happening all around?

Approach every action by thinking of its anticipation and aftermath. How do you prepare for that action and what do you do after it?

Cluttered Timeline

Let’s face it, when you see the timeline full of keyframes you feel proud of yourself, because right in front of you is all the hard work with millions of keyframes. Well, guess what? A timeline cluttered with a lot of keyframes can harm your animation.

The problem is not the cluttered timeline itself, think about it, if you need to make adjustments, you are going to go through hell and back, making little adjustments to every keyframe. A bigger problem would be that cluttered timelines usually lead to unnatural movement: Jerky knees, trembling elbows or weird vibrations of the head, to name a few.

The unnatural movement is generated when you make an adjustment to the movement of the character by adding keyframes to change the rhythm. For example, if you have a character picking up a box, maybe you need the character to take a little longer to extend the arm, then move a little faster to pick up the box. You can either use more keyframes (easy, but risky), or adjust the interpolation curves (harder but safer and more natural).

Interpolation curves are the answer to the natural flow of movement. The best timelines are the ones that have fewer keyframes and a lot of movement of the character. It takes time but it pays off, especially when you go back to make adjustments. For example, instead of trying to alter 5 keyframes, you only have to change one pose (one keyframe) and you are done.

Have this in mind at all times: A good curve can defeat an army of keyframes.

Impulsive Animation, No References

Amateurs are the best practitioners of impulsive animation. “Yeah! Finally, after all the preparation I can just go for it and bring my character to life!” Sounds familiar? I know how tempting it is to just go head and start animating, but the best way to approach it, is by having references.

What references do professional animators use when working on big projects? Short answer: Anything that moves. It can be a leaf floating in the air, a facial expression, a walk style, anything, even tiny details.

If you check any behind the scenes of any animation you will see that animators often do field work, like getting a camera to record nature, people walking or just record themselves doing silly actions.

The trick is that if you are willing to do it, references are the secret ingredient to get the perfect number of frames needed for the anticipation, the action and aftermath.

Try it out, if you have an action in mind, record a reference first, and try to imitate it with your animation. Do you want a tip? Search on YouTube for “Animation References for <action>” and you will get what you need. Trust me, it will be worth it.

Posted in Animations

Why Animated Videos Should Be Professionally Designed

An interesting way to spread education, to explain some key concept or to make abstract theories easy is to explain through a video. One of the most popular ways to do it is to make animated videos. These videos are not only fun to watch but are more engrossing than a book or paper would be. Besides, they can encapsulate a lot within a few minutes. For this reason, the top video sites are full of such creative content which is not just amazing for its audio-visual quality but also tends to make the most difficult things appear extremely simple.

But it is not easy to create such a video which needs to be short and crisp without keeping vital information out. This is really difficult to achieve as most people find it nearly impossible to keep it short without leaving out information. So, corporate houses as well as academic institutes are hiring services from an explainer video company. The task of such a company is to create videos which are both appealing to watch and easy to comprehend. At the same time, such a company makes sure that it is not making it too lengthy. Lengthy files are often bypassed by surfers who prefer short videos to save time and energy. Patience is wanting in most people these days.

In this age of technology, an explainer video has become a tool which is being used successfully by businesses to put across their ideas, plans and strategies. It is also used by marketing experts to market their products. Advertising in this format has proved to be more fruitful since the product gets more eyeballs. It is to be noted that a video is catchier than a written content. A lot of people will not care to read through a five hundred-word article but will not mind watching a five-minute video.

Besides, if the video is made in a funky way, it can get surprisingly high number of hits. So, how can this be achieved? Just because you are making animated videos does not mean that you will succeed in pulling in the crowd. It is to be remembered that there are plethoric numbers of businesses making videos day in and day out. Most of the high-end businesses put resources into use and hire professionals for getting the job done. There are technical matters to be considered as well.

Even if a video made by a non-professional is engaging and creative, it may suffer from some technical inadequacies. Such an inadequacy can prevent search engines to show the link in the search bar. Just like a written content has to target keywords, likewise a video needs to involve some technical requirements and desist from prohibited strategies.

For this reason, it becomes imperative to opt for professional services by an explainer video company. They are wise in more ways than one. They recruit creative-minded people who can sit over your project for hours and come up with the most striking and even thought-provoking videos. Plus, their technical inputs will help you to build a larger audience base and hopefully make your video go viral.

Posted in Animations

4 Ways to Speed Up Your Animation Working Time

One of the most important things ever in any project is the ability to save time. Perfectionists need to save time, so they can improve their work. Directors need to have the project ahead of time to review the work again and again and handle any changes before the deadline. Big studios need to be ahead of schedule.

So, here comes the bummer. Who is the one with the responsibility to deliver an animation on time? Well. Bad news. You. Yes, you, the Animator. The fate of humanity rests on your shoulders, think of yourself of a Hero on a journey that needs a couple of tips to make the adventure more enjoyable and short.

I. HAVE A HIGH APM (Actions Per Minute)

To be faster at anything, you need to have a way to measure Actions Per Minute. There are two ways to copy and paste anything in the virtual world. Navigating to the EDIT Menu, and select COPY, then move your mouse again all the way to the EDIT menu, and then click on PASTE. Or! You can press and hold the CTRL key on your keyboard (CMD on Mac), and rapidly press “C” then “V”. Right? Using your keyboard can get a higher APM than navigating through menus.

Use Shortcuts! I’ve seen some professionals navigate through menus to get things done, it’s embarrassing. Believe it or not, just by using shortcuts, I’m 20% faster than other animators. So what? Well, when I do freelance projects, clients hire me because they know I deliver ahead of time, because, even though we do the same things sharing the same process, I do it faster (using shortcuts).

Customize Shortcuts. Some software like After Effects doesn’t allow you to customize your shortcuts, but if you can, DO IT! The best Keyboard Profile is the one that handles your most used shortcuts near your right hand. The less your right hand has to move from left to right on the keyboard, the better. That’s why you should try to have all the major functions close in your keyboard “mapping”. Examples could be: CTRL+F, CTRL+G, CTRL+TAB, CTRL+SHIFT+W, SHIFT+3, ALT+SHIFT+3, etc. They are all close together.

Consider using a Gaming Keyboard, Gaming Mouse or Gaming Keypad. The one I recommend the most is the Gaming Keypad (like Razer Orbweaver or Logitech G13) because when the software doesn’t support shortcut customization, you can customize your Keypad to have all the major functions next to each other, and better yet, instead of pressing 3 keys (like CTRL+SHFT+P), you only press one single key on your keypad.

Automate using Macros. You can do this if you have a Gaming Mouse, Gaming Keyboard or Gaming Keypad. A macro is a sequence of key presses that can be automated into a single press of a dedicated key on your keypad. For example. In after effects

II. OPTIMIZE YOUR ANIMATION PROCESS

Optimizing means to make the best use of the resources at your disposal for your project. So the best way to approach your animation process is by handling the 2 most important things in any project. Your Pipeline and your starting Keyframes

Optimized Pipeline. The folder structure of all your files is vital to handling the project with ease. Have folders separately for your sounds, music, pictures, video references, characters and project files (toon boom, after effects, etc.). In our studio, if we do a bit of motion graphics, we have them in a folder named AFTER EFFECTS, and the main project in a folder named TOON BOOM, then the edited animation on PREMIERE. So if any changes have to be made, we know what folder to look, and if we need an audio file, we know exactly where to find it. Every Animation school is teaching the importance of this, and is not just because it looks cleaner and more beautiful, but because it works.

Set Up Key Poses first, handle details later. Yes, yes, you want to impress your boss or your friends, with how expressive your characters can be. It’s better if you block (pose your character) the important keyframes first, the starting position, the middle of the action and the aftermath. And then add additional animation later on.

III. USE A GOOD RIG (Avoid unreliable ones)

Using a good quality rig is essential, having to modify keyframes and poses only means that the rig is not good and is making you waste time. A good rig allows you to be free and more creative, because you can make your character change it’s posing with ease, so your animation process is more dynamic. If you are unable to come up with a good rig, then outsource (have someone else do it for you) or use the rig only to get the key poses, then, forget about the rig and handle additional animation (like hands, tail, hair) manually.

One quick way to know if the Rig is good, is by understanding Inverse Kinematics, and having them in your rig. If you don’t know what inverse kinematics means.

IV. RECYCLE WHAT YOU CAN

Recycle Keyframes. Don’t waste time blocking the character again, when the pose is very similar to one previously blocked, you can copy and paste keyframes and tweak them. For example, if you have a fighter giving a low punch, and you later need a high punch, copy and paste the pose, and then modify it. You will have the correct hip rotation, foot position, and will only need to modify the height position of the fist and maybe the torso. That’s faster than having to block everything.

Recycle Animations. I’m referring to a sequence of keyframes here. The most common example is eye blinking. Instead of manually opening and closing the eyes in the timeline, you copy and paste keyframes across it. Another example would be a walk cycle: if you need to have the character walking and doing something with the hands, like giving orders to other characters, you can recycle the animation, but delete the keyframes for the torso, hands and head, and animate them. This way, half of the work is already done.

Use Older Animations as Reference. Sometimes the timing is perfect and the animation curves (for the interpolation) give you the smoothness you were looking for, but now, you are working on another project and are having problems, you just can’t figure out what you did. This is when a previous animation can help as a reference. All you do is check the number of frames between keyframes, to get the timing right, and check the animation curves.

Instead of wasting time trying to achieve the same result, you can save time by getting the correct calculations checking a previous project. Like the timing and interpolation for the keyframes of the legs in an Angry Walk Cycle, in which every step was so energetic that made kids burst into laughter.

Posted in Animations

4 Nifty Tips to Choose the Right Animation Studio

Businesses nowadays use animated videos to grab customers. Gradually but surely, animation has surfaced as a crucial marketing tool. However, the task of bringing sketched characters to life is one that requires hard work and of course, skilled hands. This is the reason why people seeking for 3D character animation services need to be careful and choosy while selecting animation studio. However, with so many studios claiming to be the best in the market, it is not easy to pick one. So, how are you going to find one? Here are few tips that will help you to get the right one.

#1 Ask for the Work

It is easy to get lured by the show that studios put up on their website. Hence, you should not take that as a complete, relying factor. Ask the prospective studio to show some of their work. You can watch a few animated videos, if they have made any, or you can also ask them to show few characters that have been animated by them. By looking at the work, you will be able to at least make out whether the concerned company will be able to comprehend your needs and can work accordingly or not. Do check on quality of the work too.

#2 Check Testimonials

Testimonials are good ways of cross-checking genuineness of any company’s work. You can check out LinkedIn profile of the company. Check its reviews, ratings and recommendations along with testimonials on its website. Reviews and ratings will help you to get credibility of your prospective studio. Verifying testimonials will help you to decide whether to go for it or not. Any good company wouldn’t be hesitating to provide you information about the studio.

#3 Get to Know the Process

3D character animation is not a child’s play. It takes skilled hands and extensive knowledge, not to mention mastery of the complex process. A good animation studio won’t mind the pain of explanation they need to give to their prospective clients. The problem is that most prospective clients do not bother to go into the process, which is a blunder. 3D character animation process involves several techniques namely character modeling, rigging, texturing, etc. You don’t have to cram yourself with all knowledge of 3D character development. But if the company is able to explain the basics, at least you can be assured that they know their thing.

#4 Check Your Wallet

At last but not the least, do not forget to settle down with the money. After all, you will be the one paying so you have every right to get all information you can about the company’s development price tags. The notion is that 3D character animation often comes at a huge cost. But, do not take anyone’s word until you find it out yourself. Comparing the tariffs would be a good way to find a good deal. However, do not go for any company simply because it is cheap. If you get quality work at a bit higher cost, then the price is worth it.