How important are drawing skills to a 3D animator?
3D animation is a visual
medium and many of the ideas that we want to get across to other
people are best shared in images, so even if it’s just a
rough concept sketch there is some level of drawing needed in
most projects. Also since the creation of compelling images in
3D uses the same principles of composition as drawing and painting,
learning more about one will augment the other. If you are interested
in being a professional animator, consider it a mandatory requirement.
If you are trying to please only yourself and possibly make some
short films it may not be required but certainly wouldn’t
How do I make good
We have talked about
this to some extent already, but this question was so popular
that it seemed to merit quickly summing up the techniques involved
and offering some direction for exploration. The first thing that
is required is to know your tools. The second is to make the decision
of how much detail will be enough detail. Often we can get away
with less than absolute realism, many great animations were made
before 3D hair was possible in any form. Once we have these two
things covered we need to decide how to proceed, we have two basic
ways to create hair for a model: modeling and mapping or using
dynamic hair simulations. Explore the first solution if you can.
I have heard that I should never use bias when modeling. Is this true? If so, why
We discussed bias
in Chapter 2, including some of its pros and cons. However, you
should try to model without it as much as possible. There are
times when a tweak of the gamma will set a lumpy model to rights,
but it takes a lot of experience to know when a gamma can be tweaked
and how far it can be pushed. For the beginner, it is recommended
that you avoid bias, at the very least for nonmechanical applications.
Once you have more experience with the tools and you feel confident
with it, though bias manipulation can be a very powerful and time-saving
Are constraints absolutely necessary to animating characters?
The short answer is
no. You can animate a character with only bones in it, or even
without bones. But creating a simple rig to do things, such as
keep the feet isolated from the hips and control the eyes, you
will find that your animation time is spent more productively.
You don’t have to make the most complex character rig in
the world, and once you have designed a simple rig moving it between
characters is a snap.
What do I do withmy animation when it's done?
Show it off! You can
get free Web hosting, and share your animations with your friends
and family and the A:M community. Posting to the Web is a great
way to get critiques on your work. If you want to get a job in
the animation industry this is a crucial step; getting critiques
helps us analyze our own work. Either way, you will want to make
your animation available for everyone to see and the Web provides
the perfect outlet. A good place to start is at A:M Films.
What does it take
to get hired in animation?
The obvious first
requirement is talent. Professional animation is a demanding field
that requires good results in a short time, so before you are
hired studios want to know that you can perform. The tool they
use to judge this with is called the demo reel. A demo reel is
crucial to presenting your work and getting your foot in the door.
The format for a reel is typically NTSC VHS tape, every so often
someone will ask about submitting a CD, or a DVD. Unless the job
description specifies those as valid formats, stick with VHS.
Your reel will need 3 minutes or so of solid character animation
on it, accompanied by a resume and a brief cover letter. Contrary
to popular belief it is not the program you used to create the
reel that matters so much as the skill and ability demonstrated
on it. If your first reel doesn’t get you a job, keep practicing
and animating. Like most things a little hard work and dedication
will take you a long way.