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Animation Nation

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“Animation should be an art…what you fellows have done with it, making it into a trade…not an art, but a trade…bad luck.” -Winsor McCay. Have you ever watched SpongeBob, Bugs Bunny, or a cartoon in general? Well, they’re all animated. Just thousands of pictures run together to give the illusion of movement or animation. Animation is called a moving picture, film, or and comes from Latin, movens picture, or moving picture. Years have publicized that animation is a fashionable thing for all ages, young and elderly. Here’s a small question, what’s animation and how do you do it?
Well, my reader, Animation can be split up into about five parts, Stop Motion, Basic Animation, Moviemaker Magic, and Character Creation. They’re thousands of types of animation, but here’s a couple for the amateur people, like you. (No offence) Animation is fun, but can take lots of time to make a good animation. In about five or six years, about two or three animated shows are created and become popular. Like, in 2009, only about five shows, Sidekicks, Total Drama World Tour, Generator X, Chowder, and CCGS were popular and were created. Crazy, right? So, let’s get started!
The first group is Stop Motion, which is the origin of animation. Its derivation started when two idiotic cavemen smashed through a cave painting. The first idiot took off with a small piece of it. The other idiot watched him and said those two words that we now think of uninformed and choppy,” Thing. Go.” He grumbled happily in caveman talk. This man no longer is considered an idiot in this day and age. Thank you, Mr. Comedian! Alrightly, well, there’s mainly three steps into making a productive stop motion film or production. Step one is getting a camera and tripod. (A tripod is a steady platform with three extended legs to elevate a camera. It’s like a person on an elephant) the tripod is there so the camera doesn’t bounce or joggle during the picture taking process. Then it’d be one blurry, messy, and just plain dreadful disaster. Keep in mind that using a steady, light sensing camera is a good candidate for your production. Step two is to take the first picture, then slightly move the thing you want to be animated. Slightly moving the thing isn’t moving the arm/leg all the way up or down, it’s more about 1/8 the way up or down. Keep doing this and keep in mind, twenty-four seconds equal to about one hundred slides or pictures. That sounds like a lot, but in reality, each move is slight and precise. Lighting is more noticeable, says wikihow.com, in the final product. It’s time consuming but productive in the long run.
Subsequently, basic animation is what you see in shows like Garfield, Total Drama, and Generator X. These include CGI (computer generated images), animated films, etc. Let’s get started! Step one is all about organization. It’s called Pre-production. It’s the first and vital step in making an animation. It’s the storyboard, says tutsplus.com that help to finalize the final product. Layouts and models sheets are like a fundamental outline of the characters, their outfits, poses and every expression that that character could make. It’s like a blueprint for that character, the base, rough details, etc. Step two is the Production. Here’s where the real hard work comes from. Most of this step is composed of lighting, rigging, texturing, and, the focal point of this research project, animation. Using stunt dummies or a small reference, the layout is more of the basic idea of the lighting, texturing, and rigging for that particular character. Basic animation has many, many steps, but these are the main ones (because If I tried to explain every little step, I’d be here, for about, maybe two to twelve weeks.).

Next, moviemaker magic is, well, magic. (No, it won’t make you a wizard) simple, prompt, and pleasurable. Three words to describe Microsoft word. Same with animation if, and I mean if you know the steps on how to do it and you understand it. The steps are useless if you don’t understand what they are meaning. So, let me help you. Step one in making an animated document in Microsoft word is to open it, duh. Step two is to draw the first frame (or slide, as many experts call them) and duplicate (or keep copying over and over) it while slightly moving it. Preview it every five slides to make sure that it’s even in movement. One of the worst things you can do while doing this kind of animation is to freak out when you mess up slightly. Doing this animation is like writing an essay, the rough draft is the place you can fix your mistakes and bumps in the road. All I can say is to not freak out when you mess up! After you have all the notches and bumps smoothened out, you’ve reached step three, which is to add a composition, backdrop, whatever you desire…Hey, how about an opening sequence! That’d be cute, right?

Lastly, character creation is the main key in making your animation look first-class, skilled, and smooth. Many jobs even use character creation, like Forensic Animation, to reconstruct and to paste together shattered remains of a victim to identify him or her. The face or body, is reconstructed from the shattered remains with a computer program. If you’ve ever watched CSI New York, you’d understand what I was talking about. Alright, there are a couple steps to create your own character(s). The first step is all about balance. Balance in the real human body comes from the ears’ canal liquid near the drum (or what makes you hear, but that’s another paper worth of information). Ever heard of a thing called center of balance? If not, the center of gravity (or balance, as I said), from ehow.com says, from the torso that helps you keep balance. This is not the entire balancing system, but, for time and paper sake, this is what you need for a character to make it “realistic” enough. Your character has to look realistic enough to make people think they’re somewhat real, but “cartooned” enough for them to look cute and funny. Began with what I just explained, which is called the center line. It sounds exactly what it is, the dividing line that goes through the center. Start off sketching stick figures before finalizing the entire character. The center line in the head should have a vertical and horizontal line that should pass right between the eyes, over the exact tip of the nose, and thorough the center top lips. There are many postures for the center line. Let’s say that your character was looking at you dead on, the vertical line should be perfectly strait, now if your character was looking to the left, the line would curve slightly to the adjacent place he/she was looking. Just like in real life. Perspective is key, says Adrein-Luc Sanders, and editor at about.com, to a good character. Okay, once you have all that done; now it’s time for the fun part! You now have to add the arms, legs, and details like muscle mass, hair, the tiny details…Focus mainly on perspective and lighting if your finalizing it…if not, then ignore what I just said. Character Creation is just a cute name for Rigging, which is what it really is. If you’re having trouble trying to get the character to move or it doesn’t look quite right, don’t yell at it, use test animations or draw that character in a different pose. (Because yelling at an inanimate object will make you look insane, and you might be called a nut.)

As you can see, Animation came from art. Like a virtual Da Vinci with his animated Mona Lisa. To the comedic caveman whom hit a cave wall out of anger, to the 21 century and CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) animations, doing animation has gotten easier and a lot more entertaining. They can shake up a commercial, spice up a project, and raise awareness about almost anything, like the Red Cross, baseball, and even a political campaign. If you can follow (and understand) my steps, then you’ll finally see that this time eating art is very fruitful. So now, get off Facebook and Twitter and get those brains thinking! It’s Animation Nation, baby!



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