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How to help fight Covid-19 as an Artist / Animator

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As the Corona Virus spreads throughout the world, it has left most countries to mandate a quarantine and now you’re most likely stuck indoors for the next few months. With a vaccine at least a year away and the death tolls exponentially rising, the only way to fight the spread at this time is to distance yourself from others and be educated on the facts and myths on the Corona Virus. There is so much misinformation about Covid-19 that the United Nations has actually called out for help to spread the truth so here’s how artists and animations in particular can make a difference!

The United Nations Call Out to Creatives for help

This is not just any creative collaboration. Your submission could save actual lives from this virus and it’s a public service that is desperately needed at this time. They are taking both video and art submissions. If you’re an animator or artist who wants to help go to the information page:

Click here to see all the rules and participate

Here is a compilation of facts about Covid-19

Gamers can also help fight Covid-19!

If you’re not an artist but have a computer to play games, you can help fight the disease as well. Folding@Home Is a program you can download that uses a bit of your computer’s resources to make simulations that researches need to help find a cure for Covid-19. Millions of PC users world-wide are pitching in to help and you can join the fight as well! Read more about Folding@Home’s efforts to fight Covid-19 HERE.

Taking advantage of your free time

Being stuck in quarantine means that you will have a lot more free time in your home. Schools are being taught online, jobs are being done remotely, giving you the opportunity to free up some time to do other things at home! With all this free time you’ll probably end up playing games or watching anime/movies, but also think about how much more time you have to learn new things that you’ve wanted to learn. Try to set a routine to teach yourself at least one new thing in regards to animation or art. It could just be animating or drawing more, or maybe even learning a brand new drawing/animation program. Take advantage of your time because now you have it in your hands.

For me I’m trying learn some new free programs that are great for both drawing and animating. Being proficient in more than one program vastly expands your creative freedom on your next projects.

Blender was always something I wanted to learn because of all of the great 3D animation, rendering, and even 2D animation features that come with it on top of being completely free.

Wick Editor is another free browser based 2D animation program that almost anyone can pick up to doodle some animations.

Krita is a free painting program with awesome brushes for painting and even has some animation tools as well!

All of these programs are very accessible and can open up many doors that you haven’t been able to open before! If you’re stuck at home, now is a great time to just sit down and learn at your own pace even if it just means getting familiar with the interface and tools. Just search up some tutorials and start from the basics. You’ll be very surprised how much you can learn by just trying and spending the extra time you have to learn something that you actually want to learn.

Wick Editor Anim8 Jam is Still Running!

Another great event to participate in if you’re an animator is to enter the Anim8 Jam that is still accepting entries up until April 12! There is a $500 prize pool and multiple winners so check it out if you have nothing else to do! Read all the info on how to participate!

How to control your speed, spacing, and easing in animation

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Having trouble controlling the speed in your animations is one of the most difficult problems you can run into especially when you’re just getting to learn animation. It’s hard to animate how fast something is when you have no idea how to properly space out your drawings each frame. When you’re animating your next frame, how do you know how far it should move? Well first you need to get a better understanding of what spacing is.

Spacing your drawings each frame

Spacing is quite simply the distance of how far your drawing moves from one frame to the next frame. If it moves a lot on the next frame, then you have a lot of spacing. If it moves just a little bit, you have little spacing. Simple!

As you can see from the animations:
a lot of distance between drawings = a lot of spacing = a lot of speed
less distance between drawings = less spacing = less speed

My animation is too fast! How do I slow it down?

If you finish an animation and play it back, you might see that the animation is faster than you want it to be. There are two easy ways to fix this problem.

  • Double-framing
    If there are only a few parts in your animation that you feel is too fast you can easily fix it by adding double-frames to that area. Double-framing is just adding an additional frame in between your keyframes to slow down your animation by half. This method works quite well but if used in the wrong places, the animation will look choppy and off. Make sure to only double-frame areas that have natural slowdowns like the peak of a jump, or when something is slowing to a stop, or when the object is generally supposed to be moving at a slow pace.
  • Changing the FPS (frames per second)
    If your entire animation is too fast in general, you can try lowing the frame rate of your animation to slow the entire project down equally. A lot of people believe that 24 FPS has to be the standard but there is nothing wrong with using 18 FPS, 15 FPS, or whatever FPS that makes your animation look the best to you.
Single framed animation. Looks a bit fast at some parts.
With added double frames in certain areas, you can properly time out your animation with little effort!

My animation is too slow! How do I speed it up?

A very common problem for beginner animators is that their animation is way too slow. In most cases an animation needs some speed to give it life, but many animators are too scared or hesitant on increasing the spacing of their animations so there will be too many frames in a movement. This is why having an understanding of spacing is so important.

  • Removing frames
    You NEED speed in your animation so you must learn how to take away some of your frames to increase your spacing. Remember more spacing = more speed so if you have a bunch of frames that all have small spacing, you will have slow movement. Try to delete some frames where you can see frames that are way to close in spacing.

The art of EASING. Combining the slow and fast.

Hopefully you’re starting to get the hang of how spacing affects the speed of your animation. Now for the most important skill in animation… EASING! Easing is basically a smooth transition from slow movement to fast movement (or vice versa). This is the golden skill you need to learn for your animations to look good. If you can master this, your animations WILL improve and start looking a lot better.

So lets look at how slow movement transitions to fast movement (small spacing to big spacing)

Now the trick is to apply this to any sort of movement like jumping, running, punching, etc. Every natural movement has some sort of easing. Even really fast and quick movements that could only last a few frames, you need to think about your easing when drawing your next frame. Those moving balls from the gifs above? It was a stick figure’s head the entire time! All I did was apply easing to the movements of the head just like the above gif! Look at how the head is always transitioning from slow to fast as he jumps and moves. This also applies to every other body part.

You can see the easing that was applied to the head in this animation. There’s always a smooth transition between slow and fast spacing! Always keep easing in mind when you animate!

Keep practicing!

At the end of the day you wont get used to spacing and easing your frames unless you keep practicing and animating for yourself. Keep getting used to the distances of how speed is related to spacing and smoothly transitioning from slow to fast and from fast to slow. It’s a game changer when it comes to learning animation. The concept is simple but it is universally applied to every animation!

Wick Editor Anim8 Jam 2020 – $500 prize pool! (RESULTS POSTED!)

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Results have been released! Thank you all for participating!

(UPDATE 2)
We livestreamed all the submitted entries and honesty I was blown away with the quality of all of these entries! You can watch the whole stream again here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/594926701
Judging is now underway and that will take about a couple weeks to set it all up and prepare for the announcements of the winners! Stay tuned for more updates!

(UPDATE 1)
The due date is now over and submissions are now closed! we’ve received roughly 40 plus parts so congrats to those who finished their entry! Judging has now started and the judges will review the top 10 parts submitted! Hyun will also be streaming going over ALL submitted parts and giving feedback to each one of them! That stream will be on Friday 17th (1pm PDT) on Twitch!

The raffle for T-shirt and $50 steam gift card will also be held in the stream!

Thank you everyone for participating! I hope you all had a good learning experience with this new animation program and all of your feedback has been noted so we can improve on Wick Editor faster than ever!

Welcome to the very first Wick Editor animation contest hosted by Wick Editor and Anim8! The goal of this contest is to introduce animators both old and new to our new free browser animation program called Wick Editor. We want people to have fun playing around with this program and see what awesome creations people can make! No download or money is required to use Wick Editor! As long as you have a access to an internet browser you’re ready to start!

The contest theme is “SPRING”

With this animation competition you will be making any animation that has the theme “SPRING” What is the meaning of Spring to you as an animation? You can make it a short story, or just a simple animation. Use your creativity to show us what this theme looks like!

CONTEST RULES

  1. You MUST use the program Wick Editor to make your animation (at least 10-15 seconds) using the theme “SPRING”
  2. You CANNOT use any other program to make your animation but you can use other programs for post production like adding color correction, visual effects, and sound effects.
  3. Animation can be in any size or frame-rate you wish.
  4. No overly sexual or disturbing content.
  5. Animation must be uploaded through Anim8 by checking the submission box.
  6. You may collaborate with other animators but if you win the prize money will still be sent to one paypal account only! Please discuss terms with your group if you decide to collab.

SUBMITTING YOUR ANIMATION

(Due Date: APRIL 12 @ 11:59PM PST)

Submit your animation on Anim8 by clicking “UPLOAD” and checking the box “Submission for Wick Editor Anim8 Jam” to officially submit your part. Making an account on Anim8 is free and uploading is easy!

Make sure to check this box when submitting for the contest

If you share your upload on twitter using Anim8’s share feature, you will also be entered into a raffle of free Wick Editor merch and also a $50 steam gift card! You don’t have to be top 5, all you need to do is submit your animation through Anim8, then click the share button on your video!

Entering Raffle for T-Shirt and $50 Steam Giftcard

Click on the share button to post your anim on twitter to enter the raffle

After you uploaded your animation to Anim8, use the share feature to share your part on twitter you will automatically enter a random raffle drawing to win a Wick Editor T-Shirt and a $50 steam gift card! No top placement is necessary. As long as you finish, upload to Anim8, and share on twitter using the share button, you’ll be entered into the raffle! 5 winners will be picked at random!

(To win the shirt you must be in North America but gift card will still be available worldwide)

PRIZES

There is a total prize pool of $500 that will be split up between the top 5 entries!

1st Place – $300
2nd Place – $100
3rd Place – $50
4th Place – $50

Random Raffle – $50 steam card + Wick Editor T-Shirt

JUDGING

Cast of Judges:
Hyun Owner of Hyun’s Dojo animation community
Stone Owner of Fluidanims animation community
Telepurte Renowned daily animator on Twitter
Howard Wimshurst Owner of Animator Guild award winning animator
Sareth Established animator and community moderator

Animations will be judged by both the public and a cast of judges. There will be multiple factors considered when judging an animation.

Creativity – How can you stand out from all the other animations by using the theme “Spring”? Thinking out of the box and using creative ways to express what you think Spring should be.

Animation Skill – How can you impress people with your talent and skill as an animator? Show that you have what it takes by using your own special animation techniques.

Entertainment – General entertainment can include humor, storytelling, and writing. How enjoyable was your animation overall to watch? Make sure that your animation isn’t boring and keeps the audience’s attention. Your timing and pacing will be important here!

What is Wick Editor?

Wick Editor Tutorials

If you have any questions about the contest visit our Discord server on Anim8! Good luck animators!

Choosing an animation color palette

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Color in an art piece or an animation allows the artist to express their emotion, and personal tastes. Because of this, color is one of the most important aspects in the arts, but at the same time can be one of the most difficult things to grasp. This post will cover some tips and tricks on how to make your coloring job look good, so it can be applied to future illustrations and animations.

Simpler = Better

Assuming you are coloring in a digital program, and not restricted to the limitation of material provided by traditional finances, you currently have a lot of options handy on your color picker when it comes to color and hues and whatnot. If just starting out, it is important to remember that the simpler, the better. Do not immediately overwhelm your piece of art/animation with a buttload of different hues unless you absolutely know what you’re doing. This will create a lot of work in keeping track of all the different colors being used and can possibly overwhelm your art with too much going on.

Having too many different colors in a piece can cause them to clash in an unappealing way.
Limit the amount of key hues in your pallet in order to avoid clashing colors more easily.

The color wheel

The color wheel

A simplified color wheel looks like the one above. Here, warm and cool colors are easily distinguished, as well as the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. Considering color harmony, there are many ways that a color scheme can be organized. The three easiest ways to determine a color scheme are to pick a key color, then to look at colors directly next to it, complementary to it, or triadic to it. These types of harmony are called analogous, direct, and triadic respectively.

Color Harmony Examples

Generally, these color schemes are utilized the most when it comes to art and animation. Some examples can be found in pop culture, logos, and through the works of many artists.

Art by Ryky
Analogous color schemes are chosen by having colors that are picked directly next to each other on the color wheel.

Example art by Ryky

Firefox Logo
Direct, or complementary colors are colors generally on the opposite side of the wheel. It consists of one warm color and one cool color.

Superman
Triadic schemes form a triangle, and contain 3 main hues spaced equally around the wheel.

How to shade using color

This section is dedicated towards how color is used in relation to shading, and not how to actually find a light source, and shade, as a disclaimer. A good example would be this before and after video thumbnail by Saviroosje2, which covers another good tutorial that teaches a more visually appealing digital shading and coloring job.

Thumbnail art from here: youtube.com/watch?v=A8lAxUgDGiA

When shading with color, it is a general good rule of thumb to have the shadows a bit cooler-colored and more saturated, and to have the highlights warmer, and less saturated than your key color. It is a subtle change, but is a great way from keeping your coloring job less monotone.

Additionally, by addressing that shadows needs more saturation, and that highlights need less, you can avoid over/under saturating your key colors, and save the saturation for things that pop out and provide contrast.

Saturation example

Color Context

Another thing to note is the context of colors against other colors. People perceive color differently when it is against a lighter vs darker environment. An example can be found in this popular optical illusion:

Optical Illusion -- Cylinder and Checkerboard

In this image, squares A and B are the same shade of grey. However, square A appears darker than shade B. This is because of the context interpreted around the squares; having the shadow be darker than a certain hue automatically makes it look lighter. Here are more examples of how the color red looks against the context of other colors. Note how vivid the circle looks compared to each of the other background colors. All of the circles have the same hue. You can also experiment in a program with how different colors/shades look against certain hues.

Red against different backgrounds

Colors and Emotion

Inside Out GIF

In color theory, certain colors trigger certain emotions in a viewer. A good guide to reference which emotion each certain colors are associated with are the characters in Pixar’s Inside Out. Generally, warmer colors such as a yellow Joy and a red Anger represent a warmer, or a more passionate emotion. Similarly, colder colors such as a blue Sadness, a purple Fear or a green Disgust represent colder, and less energetic emotions respectively. Below is a more in-depth chart depicting what certain colors symbolize.

Color Symbolism Chart
Source

This use of color is often used in storytelling aspects in a painting or an animation, for example with these contrasting scenes in Up.

Up scene happy
Up scene sad

The first scene shows warmer reds and yellows to indicate a sense of warmth, and happiness, whereas the second scene shows a lot of cooler blues and greens to indicate sadness.

Saturation and Emotion

Saturation also plays a role in addressing the tone of a scene. If you look at the Up scenes in the previous section, the top happy scene contains a lot more saturated, bright colors than the desaturated, darker hues on the bottom scene. Here, I’ve crudely drawn a face against an orange background and only changed the image’s saturation. See if you can identify a the differences in emotion between a more saturated vs a less saturated environment.

Saturation and emotion

When you combine color with saturation and brightness, you can further emphasize what you want your viewer to feel in your works.

Saturation + Color + Brightness and emotipn

A note on Color pickers and Swatches

The color picker -- Flash
Default Color Picker – Adobe Animate CC

This is the color picker, also known as the colour pallete, color sampler, color-o-matic-9000, or Billy. The alternative to the color picker is to use swatches, which consist of colors pre-picked by either you, a download, or the default system in whichever program you are using for your masterpiece. When using the color picker for the first time, it can be tempting to give up and use said swatches instead. If this accurately describes you, and you are using any version of Flash, I beg of you. Please do not use the default swatches. Now, this might be an unpopular opinion, and I apologize if you personally disagree, but the default color swatch in Flash looks to be the equivalent of a unicorn’s barf on LSD.

Default Flash swatches
Default Swatches – Flash

There is a better, more appealing color swatch than the default. A link to the swatch & instructions on how to download can be found HERE. Additionally, the zip file for the swatch shown below can be found HERE. It works with any version of Flash, and is a great improvement to the default swatches.

NTSC Flash Swatches
NTSC Swatches – Flash

If you are not into swatches, you have the ability to pick any RGB color ever with the mighty color picker. Here are a few things to note for a default color picker if starting out, as well as a recap of what’s been said on this post:

  • Try not to have a key color in one of the 4 corners (don’t have too much/too little saturation). Instead, save the vivid hues and the greys for things that need to pop out (extreme highlights/shadows, glowing objects, the subject of a painting, etc…). This would put a key color more in the middle of the square.
  • Limit your hue count and pallet for your work. Too many colors can clash and look unfavorable if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you do want a lot more colors on your pallet, start out with 1-3 key colors, then build up your pallet after roughing out what you want with those colors.
  • Keep color harmony in mind – when in doubt, use direct, analogous, or triadic colors for your pallet.
  • Observe color in the context of other hues
  • Experiment!
  • Share your finished experiments to Anim8 and to Hyun’s Dojo! (if you want)
  • Have fun, take your time, create a lot!

As you develop as an artist, you will find that there is a way of coloring that you like that might be different from this tutorial. This is perfectly fine! Although there are many “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to this post, if you have to break the rules to suit a coloring job visually appealing to you and your audience, then that is absolutely acceptable. Art is subjective to suit the appeal of the artist and the viewer, and its colors are no different.

How to Draw Perfect Stick Figs, 3D Weapons, Impact Frames and More in Flash / Animate CC

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Here are 7 Flash/Animate tutorials with totally unique techniques. If you complete 2 or more then I’ll feature your tutorial drawings at the end of this post: just ping me @HeartOfTheStorm on Discord!

The Perfect Stickfigure

How do you find your perfect stickfig style? That depends whether you want a more refined or cartoonish look.

For the clean and pro look, base your proportions on the human body. Proportions are just the relative lengths of body parts; so use a human reference and your stickfigs will automatically look better.

Proportions of human and stickfigure.

Human images by Jazza, available here.

You can make your stickfigs fancier by adding feet, hands, hips, and/or shoulders. The more human features, the more you’ll understand the real body. It’s hardcore but I recommend it, especially if you want to do fullbody later.

^ Lines get thinner based on distance!

After you’ve grasped human proportions you can choose to exaggerate them. Unsure of what to exaggerate? Use cartoons as reference, and emphasize the extremes of a character. What features are important? What features can you shrink to make the important features seem bigger?

^ Refs and advice by @Stickly

Make sure to balance proportions so that when you make one thing larger, make something else smaller. Knowing realistic proportions is a huge help when you’re making cartoon proportions, because you’ll know if it looks believable (which is different from realistic).

How to Draw 3D Weapons

1. Draw a side view of the weapon using the brush or line tool, clean lines are better:

How to draw 3D Weapons in Flash and Animate CC - Sword - Step 1

2. Squash and/or skew it, duplicate it:

Step 2

3. Move the sharp bits into the center, join the edges, clean it up!

Step 3

If you want a front view, just lead your lines down. Draw straight by holding Shift with the Brush or Line tool:

Step 4
Extra Example Sword

Sometimes you only need to do steps 1 and 2:

How to Draw Impact Frames

Impact Frames are frames which make an impact more convincing through flashing colors and lines. It’s fine if they’re subtle or even overdone!

How to draw impact frames in Flash and Animate CC - example

For simplest impact frame: draw a white rectangle over your stage, select it, then press F8 to make it a MovieClip. Click it again and then use Blending to invert the colors of your anim for a few frames.

If it lasts more than a few frames it implies time stops!

I use many different Blending options. Choose one, then press the up/down arrow keys to rapidly find one you like. The Color Effects properties are also crucial since they can change the tint and transparency of your rectangle.

To upgrade your impact frames: draw random lines, sparkles, and add radial gradients. Everything radiates from the source of impact.

For traditional impact frames: print out your frame in a light color then ink the lines with a brush pen. Next scan it and add some filters/gradients in Photoshop. Optionally paint glow around the ink.

How to Draw Cones

How to draw cones in Flash and Animate CC

Glow Without Lag

The Glow and Blur MovieClip filters are easy to use but laggy.

For the simplest alternative glow you can use linear and radial gradients with the alpha turned down:

A different alternative which makes glow surround a shape is Soften Fill Edges.

  • 1. Copy the original shape, change it to the color of glow you want. Don’t convert it to a symbol:
  • 2. With it selected, at the top click Modify>Shape>Soften Fill Edges:
  • 3. Ctrl-Shift-V to paste the original in place:

The drawback is that it screws up complicated objects, so if it’s screwing up then take the original shape and Modify>Shape>Optimize by 1% or so. It’s finnicky, so mess around with it and test its limitations.

How to Draw Gears

How to draw gears in Flash and Animate CC

How to Draw Chains

1. Start with a guide: draw a crappy chain or a curved line to follow.

How to draw chains in Flash and Animate CC - Step 1

2. Use a reference to draw a chain link in any style (use mirroring for nice symmetry), then draw a couple rotations of it. You only need 2 angles of the chain link (front and side), but I wanted 4 for variety.

Step 2 - chain links

3. Select each chain link and press Ctrl-g on one at a time so they won’t conflict with each other, then copy-paste and place them. Right-click>Arrange helps overlap.

Step 3

4. If you’ve got ugly overlap: select every-other chain link (the sideways ones you’ll erase stuff from). Cut and paste them to a higher layer.

Step 4

5. With them selected, Ctrl-b to break them into basic shapes, temporarily make them a different color if you want them to stand out from the ones below. Erase any parts that should be hidden by the chain links below.

Step 5

You’re dunzo kid

Step 6 final version

How to stay motivated as an Animator

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There is no way around it. Animation takes a lot of time and one of the most common problems that animators face is the loss of motivation. With so many frames and drawings to do, how is it possible for an animator to find the mental fortitude to finish projects? As an animator for over 10 years, I’ve learned a few valuable strategies to keep yourself motivated as an animator or even just a general artist. If you feel like you just don’t want to open up that program or continue with your project, try following these steps to see if they’ll get you in the right mindset again.

Don’t look at the finish line. Look for the next step.

This is probably one of the most useful methods in any goal you’re trying to reach and it has very general implications to many things, but it does work quite well for animation.

Say you want to make a 3 minute animation. For a solo animator, that’s a pretty sizable project and one might not even know where to start with such a big project. The dread of opening a blank canvas knowing that you have to draw over 4000 frames is something you don’t want to be thinking about. Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself like “I have to animate at least 4 hours a day” will set yourself up for just skipping those days, because at the end of the day you just don’t want to do it.

Instead of setting these big scary goals for yourself, try to split it up into smaller steps; Things that you can actually look forward to that don’t look as scary.

For example: “I will animate at least 20 frames today, any extra will be a bonus” That mindset sounds a lot better than “I need to animate 4 hours a day” or “I need to finish this entire scene”.

Now I know some people might be thinking; 20 frames a day will take forever and no progress will be made. It’s true when taken literally, but consistency is more important than volume. The hardest part of animating is actually opening up the program and starting, so setting easy goals like this will at least help you get started again. And since the goal is so easy to reach, your mind will be rewarded for accomplishing that goal of 20 frames and more likely than not you’ll probably do more than just 20 frames while you have the program open already.

The best analogy would be walking up a mountain. Don’t look at the peak and tell yourself how horrible it’ll be to walk all the way up there. Instead, look what’s directly in-front of you and set smaller goals like, “My goal is to reach that tree that’s a couple miles up.” Keep setting those small goals and before you know it, you’ll already be near the top of the mountain!

Find inspiration without comparing yourself to them.

When learning how to animate, watching other animations is a great way to get new ideas, techniques, and appreciation of the art. Some good places to watch animations are Anim8, Hyun’s Dojo, Twitter, Vimeo, and Youtube. But when actually learning animation, you might feel that you’re extremely behind compared to all those animators you look up to. It’s extremely important not to compare yourself to those people as it’s just as easy to get demotivated because of how big the skill gap is. Keep in mind that these people have been in your shoes before as well when they were starting to learn animation! You’re essentially following in their footsteps, not flying all the way to where they are in skill.

Finding inspiration also doesn’t have to come from animations as well. Watching live action movies / videos that you really like are also awesome sources to find ideas for your animation. Movies and animations are very similar in that they both use the same techniques for production like storyboarding, scripting, shot setups, and more. Next time you watch a movie that you like, don’t watch it just to watch it. Watch it and study each shot and how the director sets them up. See what angles and timings they use to cut to the next shot. You’ll find a whole new source of inspiration and motivation for your animations!

Animate with others or find an audience.

Another great way to keep up your motivation is to just surround yourself with people who are animators. Animation communities like Anim8 Discord or Hyun’s Dojo Discord are filled with people who also animate, so it definitely helps for people to motivate each other. Animation discord servers make it easier than ever to find productive channels where you can even screen share your progress or watch other’s who are currently animating. Odds are when you see other’s animating around you, you’ll want to start animating as well. It’s just a simple mob mentality tactic. It’s fun too when you can share your work with immediate feedback!

Burning out / Rest

art by Gemma Correll

Animating requires hours of your attention. Redrawing or re-positioning the same character over and over again, adding every single little detail for each frame is something that can get very taxing for your mind and body. Artist burnout is a very common and real thing where even if you could be having fun animating or drawing, your physical body and mental state cannot keep up and you will end up burning out. Remember to take regular breaks, step back and stretch, exercise, and eat to maintain your health as animating can easily make you forget to do these normal every-day things. Keep track of the time and make sure you’re not working to the point of exhaustion. THE GRIND IS GOOD BUT REST IS IMPORTANT!

That’s about all the tips I can really give to you. I for one am definitely not the perfect worker. I too get a loss of motivation or end up burning out all the time, but to have a skill-set that not a lot of people have where I can give life and movement to a drawing to entertain not only the audience but myself is something that I still appreciate very much. It’s just really cool to have the ability create something from nothing. So even if you’re not in the mood to animate or just feel too lazy in life because you just like playing games, it’s perfectly fine. Start by setting those tiny goals and see where they can take you.

How to get started with animation

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So you want to become an animator and don’t know where to start? I’ve been in the same position before and it took a while for me to get into animation for a while because I didn’t know what programs to use, the concepts of animation, and even what websites that could help me. The art of creating a moving living character from drawings is really a magical thing and it’s a powerful skill to behold. I’ve laid out a few simple steps that could help push you into the right direction, and hopefully you too will be happily creating animations for yourself.

STEP 1: Is Animation actually the right thing for you?

One of the main gripes about animation is TIME. You will need a lot of it and there is no going around it, no matter what type of animation you want to make. Not a lot of people know just how much time it takes to make even a small animation unless they’ve actually tried it for themselves. So if you have no experience with animating yet, you should ask yourself, “Am I the type of person who doesn’t mind putting in time and patience to get something done? Or am I the type of person who wants results right away and cannot sit still focusing on a task?”

If you said yes to the fist option, animation might be right up your alley! If the 2nd option fits you better, then animation will probably be a very frustrating process. Either type of person can become an animator and both types of people do exist in the animation world. It’s just something that you should definitely keep in mind. Animation takes time and patience. period.

STEP 2: Finding the right animation program

So you’ve made peace to yourself that animation takes a lot of time and patience and you want to give it a go. Great! Now in order to make an animation in the first place, you need some kind of animation program that can help you play multiple drawings in order through a timeline. Of course you can use paper and pencil in the traditional sense but its 2020. If you’re going to start somewhere, starting digitally will make life much easier.

There are many popular animation programs out there. To name a few we have Adobe Animate CC, Clip Studio, ToonBoom, Krita, TV paint, Blender, and many more. All of these programs have their own strengths and weaknesses, and specialize in different forms of animation.

If you want to start somewhere though it’s best to start off with a free program or even a trial version of a program. What type of animations do you want to make? If you want to do more graphic and logo animations try to look for a program that can work in vectors like Adobe Animate. If you want more of a painterly or sketch style, Clip Studio is a very common pick. If you want to do 3D animations, Blender is awesome to get into and free! Speaking of free, some good programs are Wick Editor, Krita, Blender, FlipAClip (for phones), and much more.

STEP 3: Animation tools

Now that you’ve decided on what program or programs to test out, you will most likely need something to draw with. The most common tool used in animation is a digital drawing tablet. This is a piece of hardware that usually includes a drawing surface with a special pen that can register strokes and pen pressure as if you were drawing in real life. These are not really required for 3D programs but for 2D programs that require drawing, it is an essential tool.

When it comes to drawing tablets there is a huge diversity of brands to choose from! There are two types of tablets you can buy; graphic tablets and monitor tablets. Graphic tablets do not have a display built in so you look at your monitor while drawing. Monitor tablets, although more expensive, do have displays so you can draw directly on the screen providing a more natural drawing experience. Both types work very well and many artists use both types with success.

Some brands that I would recommend personally would be the Wacom brand if you want the best of the best and the Huion brand if you still want a great tablet for a more reasonable price.

STEP 4: Tutorials and guides

Now that you have the proper tools and program need to start animating, you need proper guidance on how to use the basics of your program and also some basics on what to actually animate. There are many great tutorials on Youtube that teach the basics of just about any program so make sure to get familiar with your program first and how its timeline and tools work. Look up the animators you like and see if they themselves have tutorials online. If not you can study their animations and see how they draw their movements frame by frame.

STEP 5: Just do it

Here is the hardest part about learning animation. To just push away all your worries of what you don’t know, and just doing it. Anything you do at this point will give you experience no matter how bad it looks so just try to make something. At this point you’re only getting familiar with how to use your program and what its capabilities are, not making a masterpiece. If you think about it, everyone has had to take this first step at some point in their lives, even the animators that you look up to today.

STEP 6: Share your work

Once you’ve played around with animation and made your first little animation, naturally you would want to show someone your creation! This is your first little animation child after all. This is where it all begins. It helps to share your work to other people that are also starting off or others that have the same interest in animation as you do. People can tell you what to improve on, what to animate next, and even some people can show you what they’ve made so you can give them feedback as well.

STEP 7: Join a community

Being in a community of animators is one of the best ways to stay involved and improve as an animator. It’s very hard to stay motivated in this field if you’re alone so try to make friends and surround yourself with animation communities. Most likely they’ll help you figure out techniques that you didn’t know about and even have animation sessions with you to make it an overall better experience. Animation takes a lot of time after all, why not do it with someone or a group?

Some good communities to join are Anim8, Hyun’s Dojo, and Newgrounds.

With all these to take into consideration I feel like the most important factor is joining a community. There’s so much value people can bring to help you learn about animation. It is quite a grind, but with the right tools, people, and patience, it’s one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.

Reviewing Wick Editor – A free animation program directly on the browser!

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Wick Editor is a new free, browser based, animation program that requires no installation or download. As long as one has access to an internet browser whether it be PC, tablet, or phone, making animations is now a very possible avenue for newcomers. Just how good is this new tool though and how will it stack up against the staple programs that people use today?

For many years, getting into digital animation was quite difficult. There were only a few animation programs at the cost hundreds of dollars. Because of this, getting into animation as a new user came with expensive barriers. I’ve been on a search for a program that would be both affordable, easily accessible, and most importantly, functional, and Wick Editor could be the best of all these worlds.

Accessibility

The main attraction to Wick Editor is how accessible the program is. There is no download required, it’s free and open source, and it is usable with multiple platforms like PC, phones, and tablets. To have an animation program this accessible in so many different formats is a huge deal to animators on a budget and new people trying to get into animation.

The Animation Timeline

The timeline is essentially the bread and butter of any animation program. This is where you can visually see and edit your frames in your animation. Wick Editor in my testing has been very robust in their timeline controls and actually a lot better than some other timelines for programs you have to pay for. It has all the essentials that one would need for animating like layers, keyframes, stills, onion skin, and even implementation of sound effects directly on the timeline.

Flash and Adobe Animate users would be very familiar with the Wick Editor timeline, which is a very good thing since those programs have one of the best timelines on the market. A good functioning timeline means less time fidgeting over technicalities and more time focusing on your drawings and animation.

Performance

Having an animation program fully functional on an internet browser might lead to speculation on the performance, but that is far from the case. With the most recent updates, Wick Editor actually performs very well! There is no brush stroke lag and even bigger projects with multiple layers hold up well. With further updates performance will always improve so it looks promising so far. Wick Editor also comes with auto-saving every 5 seconds so you will never have to worry about losing your project.

Animating Features

The amount of animation tools and features that Wick Editor comes with are quite limited at the time of this review, but the ones that are available work very well. It is a vector only based drawing program meaning instead of raster rendering with pixels like Photoshop, it uses clean vector lines and shapes like Illustrator and Animate. On top of that you are able to nest animations in “clips” that can speed up animation workflow like lip-syncing and looped cycles. Wick Editor also has an intuitive coloring system that includes a color picker, color wheel, and smart filling for coloring your projects.

The devs have stated that they are working on more features like gradients, glows, and maybe even some raster based tools!

The Devs and Updates

The developers of Wick Editor, Luca Damasco and Zach Rispoli, have been developing this program for the last few years. Their reason for creating Wick Editor was because there were no easy and accessible free animation programs out there to teach kids. If there isn’t anything out there, why not just make it? Receiving multiple grants from reputable companies like Mozilla, they travel to schools and conventions to teach curious minds on the worlds of animation and game development. They have plans to keep pushing out new features and fixes for the program to set the bar when it comes to free animation programs.

Final Thoughts

My final thoughts on Wick Editor are quite positive. It’s a very solid animation program perfect for beginners and intermediate animators who want to learn and not spend a dime. While there are a few bugs and missing features that I would like, because of the consistency of the devs constantly updating the app and adding more features based on community feedback, it has the potential to become a staple program for even veteran animators. I’m excited to see how far Wick Editor can go and how it turns out by the end of this year.

Try it out yourself at https://www.wickeditor.com

Doors 5 – The biggest independent animation collaborative ever

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Doors is an iconic animated collaboration made by hundreds of independent animators

Doors 5 is now open and taking entries from all animators from all communities in what is expected to be the biggest animation collaboration from independent animators ever! If you are an animator you should definitely look into joining HERE. If you don’t know what Doors is, then you’ve come to the right place.

What is Doors?

What started off as a simple idea in a small animation community has turned into one of the most iconic animation collaborations on the net. The “Doors” series organized by Sean Pluto consists of a very simple yet effective theme; Animate a figure entering from a door on one side of the room then exit through the other door on the opposite side. It sounds very simple, but combine hundreds of creative animators together, and you will have something truly special.

The Doors series has over 4 million accumulated views.

Since the first release of doors, the collab quickly started to grow in participates and attention as more sequels were made. It came to the point where the fourth installment of the series had over 100 participates with a runtime of over 30 minutes. Back then, it was the biggest “stick figure” collaboration of its time!

The last Doors was in 2015 which was supposed to conclude the series for good, but that didn’t stop the fans and other communities from making countless tribute collabs and spin-offs inspired from the series. There were many out there, but none were the official and people were wondering if the official Doors will ever return if it all.

The Return of Doors

Year 2020 marks Doors 10 year anniversary and Sean Pluto has made a surprising return announcing Doors 5 to the public. The response was massive and old animators started to return to the animation community as well as other communities joining in. With animators around the world submitting over 50 parts a day, this sequel is expected to be much bigger than it predecessor and even the largest independent animator collaboration ever. Entries are still being accepted up until Feb 1st so if you’re an animator reading this right now, you can join and read all the rules HERE. The collab is expected to make a release during late February on Anim8.io and the Hyun’s Dojo Youtube channel.

2020 The year of the Animators

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2019 has finally passed and for most people it was quite a roller coaster of emotions and many obstacles. For us in the Anim8 team we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes working on improving our app and planning ahead for the future. We have high expectations for Anim8 and we plan to make 2020 the year of the animators!

Anim8 is now 1 year old!

December 30th marked our 1 year anniversary since our public beta launch and we’ve reached very awesome milestones since then!

In that time, Anim8 has grown to:
– Over 250,000 visitors
– Over 750 animations uploaded
– Grown the 3rd largest Discord for animators

We owe it all to the awesome community of both animators and animation fans that helped test out our app and provided the valuable feedback we needed to keep heading into the right direction.

Since then we’ve had many weekly team meetings to keep planning our direction for the future and the year 2020.

Big Updates on the Horizon

Anim8 V-Next (our private beta site for supporters) has seen many updates including the new Anim8 feed where it looks completely different to the current public version of our site. The focus of the feed is to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible to watch many animations in one sitting. We want to make it an almost addicting experience where one can just visit Anim8 and see what’s popping in the animation world and actively interact with each animation.

Included will be a completely redesigned UI, better search functions, and a community focused tagging system. We’re excited to see what the public will think about these new features and how we can improve on them!

As always you can follow our Discord to keep updated with the most recent Anim8 updates!

These updates will be coming sometime during January to February!