Got any simple Animation Exercises for a NOOB

The time has come for me to sit down, and start learning how to animate properly. The most I have done is work my way through the Summer of documentation Character Animation tutorial with very amateurish results.

As far as simple animation exercises I have read about the bouncing ball one but my question is do you know of other exercise that though simple in nature are really good at honing the fundamentals of animation?

I want to really learn the basics well, before going into character animation. I sort of see this as learning my animation ‘scales’.

You may want to simulate things from the real world mate, like a leaf falling or a flying plane, dunno. You should first learn the basics of animation and try to understand how to achieve your animation target(because some things you can’t really animate like in the real world, you will have to fake them). You could look for 3d animation movies and perhaps try to get some inspiration from there. Hope this will help:).

I am not really interested in simulating stuff, What I want to learn is traditional key framed animation.

so far I have found the bouncing ball, another has been a sack and some character based ones like different types of walks, coming to a stop from a run or walk, picking up and throwing heavy objects.

You might try picking up these books used at Amazon.

The Animation Book by Kit Laybourne and Illusion of Life by Thomas and Johnston.

They are all about traditional keyframed animation.

Thanks for the book suggestions, I have heard about the Illusion of Life book though it was highly praised most also said it wasn’t really a tutorial/teaching book the. Kit Laybourne book I haven’t heard about though So I will check it out.

At the moment internet book sellers are pissing me off I ordered some books that the seem to be taking their sweet time to ship.

Is the animating DVD at the Blender shop any good, I would love to hear some opinions on that.

TM I have a big scene for my short film:

that needs animating a crowd! Scenario: End of film, gladiator ring on a spaceship. Crazy crowd baying for human blood. Dark, spotlights on crowd.

Now if you fanacy getting your hands dirty, here’s the place :ba:

ha ha, am not an animator am planning to learn though that’s the reason for this thread I wanted to gather some ideas of things I should put on a learning schedule etc. I teach myself in all things art related and I just like making plans and lists before embarking on any thing.

Try your local library. It’s a pretty standard text by now.

Character animation teaches you animation basics better than basic animation tutorials themselves!
(This was the case with me :wink: )

There is nothing really more basic than the basics themselves.

Starting simple:

A curve has 3 points. A beginning middle and and end.

It is a good idea to practice animating trajectories of single objects this way.

  1. Take a camera and set the begging and end frames. This will be a straight line. The go a frame in the center of the animation and move the camera up or to the side or down to create a curve. You now have a smooth animation of a camera going moving along smoothly over time through space. Most animators make the mistake of setting the start frame then the middle frame and then the end frame. Do not underestimate the power of this simple exercise.

  2. Expand on this concept to more complex motions of objects through space. Make sure and create the start and end points first and then do the middle actions after. A ball bouncing down stairs for example. An airplane going through a flight path. A more complex camera move. A pinball bouncing around.

This believe it or not is the first basic to learn.

Then there is this:

Now take one object and then practice all of these principles with it.

Then make more complex animations.

Start with a hand and wrist. Or a hand and arm to shoulder set up in IK.

Move the hand though the basics of anticipation, drag and followthrough.

The hand begins at the waist, it moves up, the hand drags back, so you bend it down as the arm moves up - drag. Then as the arm reaches the top of the arch the wrist is rotated so that the fingers begin to move up, then the wrist reaches the top of the arch the fingers and the rest of the hand move up finally - follow through and the repeat as they drag back down.

In this simple example you should use the 3 point idea. Set the end of the arm motion first and then the middle motion. Then the hand drag set the drag point and the follow through point. Then ajust the middle as needed.

Do this for all of the basics.

Then gradually move up to the full character and do the same for all of the motions of a walk cycle other poses and motions and so on. Animate only the legs if you have to to get the hang of it.

EDIT: Now I am sorry for this not being very fully instructive and absolutely not a tutorial. I am happy to expand on any points. Also if you post a critique thread on what you are doing with each small step, you’ll get invaluable information here from the guys who have been doing it for a while. Just wanted to point you in the right direction for applying some basics. Good luck.

I’m no animator myself but you might try reading the two tips and tricks booklets released by animation mentor. As the name suggests it’s nothing but a collection of tips and tricks which are all I think collected from the sites blog and they are free too Sure it’s not a handbook on how to animate but it’s a very inspiring read. Especially if you want to be an animator.

Here are the links,
vol 1:
vol 2:

Hope this helps,

Get the Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams. Takes you from the basics to complex stuff, and only character animation is involved. Its one of the best things out there next to Illusion of Life. I have both of them, and I find myself referring the Survival Kit again and again.

If you’re serious about animation that is. These books (especially Illusion of Life) are pretty expensive.

@Richard thanks for the suggestions
@halfPintMike got those already and loved reading through them though I don’t animate it made me watch all my animated movies closer trying to see the principles the talk about at work

@agentmilo I have heard about the Williams book and the hugely expensive dvd set, the illusion of life book is pricey but hell its a heck of a lot cheaper than the Charles Bargue ($100+) book I have been eying for my drawing work. If I space out my purchaes I can definately grab that illusion of life book.