In recent years, Blender got me fascinated with the world of animation. I started by watching tutorials about animating in Blender, then got straight to doing whatever popped to mind using that knowledge. My focus has been on getting better at posing / sounds / compositing / etc, thinking it’s the key to improving the quality of my works. I recently found a Youtube channel about CGI, which also describes how professional animations are made. One thing I seen there made me question my approach, and if there’s something as essential which I haven’t considered equally.
Unlike me, professional animators do something else: Planning and preparing. I was surprised to see that most take time to sketch their scenes on paper first, covering every important moment in the animation. Even after that, they don’t immediately snatch the actual models and start animating them. They first make a mockup animation, with characters made of untextured boxes as well as very low-polygon versions of world objects. Only later they replace those with the character mesh and start working on the final render.
This is something I never did. I just think of a basic idea (eg: I want a city where a robot will walk by, turn around, then go through a door) then load the models for the world, the model for my character, and start posing. I get an idea of how things look as I keep working on the final render, whereas others go the other way around: They know how things have to look at each point before there’s even a 3D scene. In my search for cooler effects and focusing on just poses materials and composite nodes, I never even thought about this until now.
I’m looking for someone to explain this better. Why exactly do professional animators sketch what they’re about to do first, then animate box characters before getting to the final ones? What are the real steps someone should take before creating an animated film? And how should I handle this in Blender? I know it’s a less technical domain, more focused on thinking and common sense rather than blunt functionality… but I’m hoping someone found a way to explain it so I can do things the right way.