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I prefer calling these 'animation notes' or 'writings' rather than 'tutorials'. I don't assume methods that work for me would naturally work for the others. There are million approaches to animating, and I think discovering methods of your own is a very personal and special experience. 

acceleration and force (2016) original post

1. Ah Fai was a chief animator for McDull’s animated features. He’s super cool. Ultimate senpai. 

2. Previous post on breakdowns right here 

Some thoughts on acceleration and force:

I presented this in the order of how I slowly understood the trick of delivering force - first an abstract concept of impact taught by Ah Fai, then a more complicated discovery on the acceleration pattern, last back to a more abstract concept of breakdowns

Like I’ve previously stressed, 2D animation is everything but one single approach. There’s no one rule that rules them all, but interchangeable ideas with math, or physics, or music, etc. There’s no “perfect” animation either, but what is perceived as organic and dynamic. E.g., using the Fibonacci numbers to animate didn’t bring me a perfect animation! On the other hand, a tiny change in the pattern could already make the feeling of force so much more powerful. 

Not so much of a tutorial than a personal experience. I hope you find this interesting.

breakdown (2016) original post

Breakdown is a very crucial technique of animating. It is a guideline of how every action should be acted out. It involves a thinking process of “hmm, I want my character to move in this way particularly, because of the context/situation/emotion/thought… etc” 

contour and structural (2016) original post

A friend asked recently: how do I start animating? So here I have a quick example of happy running squirrel.

Start simple, I recommend, that is, to simplify your animation so you don’t get caught up in the details in the beginning. I observe there are two basic ways you can make a rough animation - by Contour and Structural animations. 

Animating is basically to draw a lot and link these drawings together. Some of us draw naturally with contours, the best way for them to begin animating is perhaps simply by animating the contour! So here we link all the drawings by animating the outline and silhouette that are represented by curves, straight lines, and angles. 

Some other of us draw more comfortably with the structures, because that’s how most of us are taught to understand forms in school. With balls and springs, it’s maybe easier for them to understand what’s happening underneath the moving body, and what drive different parts to move differently. 


Personally, I’ve always animated with contours because that’s how I draw naturally. Since it’s convenient for me, I could then focus on delivering a more dynamic action. But there are occasions where the character design is based heavily on forms which require me to animate structurally. 


So you could consider trying either of these two by first understand how you draw - do you draw better by jumping straight to the outlines, or by first representing the body with a skeleton. Contour and structure are like the two ends of a spectrum, once you master one method, you could try the other way to improve your animation! I believe good animations are based on the knowledge of both. 


I hope this helps!


Extended ref: I made a contour animation of a squirrel using the sine curve, and you can see how linking the curves could help to bring out the flow. 

the illusion of force: ripple effect or wavy/sinuous motion (2016) original post

the animated dot (2016) original post

Thoughts. Long-ish thoughts. 

Or a love letter to animation really.

notes on gesture studies (2015) original post

Anonymous asked: Why did you skip realism? (2016) original post

For books though, I have some personal favourites to recommend:
Drawn to Life (2 vols) by Walt Stanchfield
The Animator’s Survival Kits (DVD/books) by Richard Williams
Force by Michael C. Mattesi

notes on 360° sketching (2017)

Anonymous asked: Any tips on finding your own art style? (2015) original post

I think the first step to finding your own style is to be a detective of everything you like.

I like Sengai Gibon’s spontaneous lines and shapes, but really it’s the meditating frog’s cheeky smile that gets me for the most part.