Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Monday, October 1st, 2018


This week is your LAST CHANCE to enter to be awarded a FREE Animation Resources Student Membership! ENTER NOW ON FACEBOOK

And if you haven’t downloaded it yet, this is your LAST CHANCE to download Reference Pack 024 which includes rare illustrations from Simplicissimus magazine, the Astro Boy pilot, a Terry-Toon in HD, and a reel of classic cereal commercials designed by Ed Benedict. LOGIN TO THE MEMBERS ONLY PAGE NOW

JOIN Animation Resources today and access exclusive Members Only downloads! JOIN ANIMATION RESOURCES NOW

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

Members: RefPack023 Is Available For Download Now!

Reference Pack

There’s A New Reference Pack
Animation Resources
Available For Download Today!

Every other month, Animation Resources shares a new Reference Pack with its members. They consist of an e-book packed with high resolution scans and video downloads set up for still frame study. Members. make sure you download the Reference Packs before they expire. When it’s gone, it’s gone!

Get your friends to join Animation Resources!
Download Page
More members mean we can bring you more special downloads.

MEMBERS LOGIN To The Members Only Page

JOIN TODAY To Access Members Only Content


Reference Pack 023 is jam-packed with jaw dropping animation and inspirational drawings. First up is a high resolution e-book of the German satirical magazine Simplicissimus. It was the most audacious and daring caricature magazine of its day, lampooning the stiffness of officers of the military, religion, class divisions, loose social morals and inevitably, powerful political leaders. Based in Munich, the staff of Simplicissimus included some of the best draftsmen and most forward thinking illustrators of the day. This PDF e-book reproduces a little over two months worth of issues from 1904 in their entirety.

Astro Boy

Also included is the pilot episode of "Astro Boy" which established many of the concepts that later became known to be a part of the Anime style. The animation in this pilot episode is a model of economy. Independent animators would be well served to analyze the techniques used in this program. Many of the ideas for streamlining the storytelling and reusing drawings directly apply to the tight schedules required for internet cartoon series. We hope you find this to be useful in your own work.

Heckle and Jeckle

That’s not all! Thanks to our Advisory Board Member Steve Stanchfield, we are proud to bring you a rare Terry-Toons cartoon in HD. Jim Tyer animates the lion’s share of this cartoon and he had his own sense for distorting the characters to anticipate big actions that makes even tired gags seem fresh. Choose a scene that makes you laugh and break it down… study the drawings and timing. Notice how Tyer uses repeating rhythmic cycles of rolling eyes or flapping mouths to heighten the comedy. Volumes change depending on the need of the movement. His animation is less about moving characters through space than it is expressing movement through the characters. That is a totally different way of thinking about how to animate a film.

MEMBERS LOGIN To The Members Only Page

JOIN TODAY To Access Members Only Content

Bonus Download

With every Reference Pack, we’ll be including a bonus video or e-book from one of our past Reference Packs. This time there are two bonus videos!

Cereal Commercial Reel

Paul Fennell was a pioneer of animated advertising. As early as 1939 he was animating the Kelloggs elves- Snap, Crackle and Pop, and continued to direct commercials starring the trio through the 1950s. This reel of animated cereal commercials features Cheerios spots with brilliant layouts by Ed Benedict. The design and clever limited animation of these commercials foreshadow the style of Hanna-Barbera’s early television series.

Cereal Commercial Reel

Industrial films are fascinating to study. Their primary purpose was to educate and inform, but they also needed to hold the audience’s interest. Animation provided the perfect balance of function and fun. This film about tuberculosis was designed with a very specific audience in mind, but was ephemeral- after their audience had been reached with the message, these sorts of films were no longer needed. For this reason, only a small fraction of the number of industrial films produced over the years survive. This great example was created by the Fennell Studios in 1945.

MEMBERS LOGIN To The Members Only Page

JOIN TODAY To Access Members Only Content

Animation Resources is dedicated to helping creative artists raise the bar for the art of animation through self study and research. Reference Pack 022 pulls out all the stops with an hour of rare animation and a 146 page downloadable e-book. If you aren’t a member of Animation Resources yet, YOU SHOULD BE!

Not A Member Yet? Want A Free Sample?

Check out this SAMPLE REFERENCE PACK! It will give you a taste of what Animation Resources members get to download every other month!

Sample RefPack

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Instruction: Animation Reference


Muybridge – Horse Gallop

Today I’m going to be showing everyone my planning process for using photographic reference to plan and execute a naturalistic horse run cycle. This process has been used by generations of artists to help analyse and capture the motion patterns of real-world objects and creatures. This type of study is invaluable for building an internal “motion library” in your mind, so that when you have to make guesses about how something impossible might move, those guesses can be as educated as possible. For the beginning animator, doing motion analysis can also help give a stronger sense of what motion details matter, and which are best to remove to get an optimal stylistic motion.

First up, here is the finished animation: Horse_gallop

In a complex cycle like a horse gallop, there are many things to understand, and without experience animating similar creatures it would be difficult to plan ahead for this animation considering that we have so much to keep track of.

Get Video Reference

If you can film your own reference, then that’s a great first step, but if you can’t, the first place I search is the BBC Motion Library at Getty Images. This collection has thousands of real-time and slow-motion shots of sports, nature, vehicles, and much more. It’s free to view and download, which is ideal as we will need to carefully go through our shot frame by frame in order to analyse it.

Here is the shot I used for reference. As stated above, it’s free to download (non-commercial use of course) by right clicking the clip and choosing Save as.

A few notes about the shot:

  • It is playing in real-time, not slow motion, so we can use it for timing information
  • The shot isn’t stabilized, so we can’t use it to track body parts necessarily
  • The whole body is visible, including the feet as they touch the ground
  • The speed of the run is relatively stable for a few seconds, ideal for a cycle

Use A Frame by Frame Video Software

Next we need to be able to see each frame of the video one at a time. You can do this by importing the footage into any video editing software if you  have it. I prefer to use a much simpler method by opening it in QuickTime.


QuickTime interface

To my knowledge, QuickTime is the only freely available video software which allows you to step through a video one frame at a time (using the left and right arrow keys). Many others allow you to skip several frames, but none that I’ve found allow this level of precision. Another benefit of this software shown above, is the ability to switch the timecode to frames, so we can easily count and locate keyframes in our action.

Before using the shot for any timing information, you’ll need to know the frame rate of the video. I figure this out by going to 1 second in the timecode, the switching to frames to see how many have elapsed. This shot is in a standard 25fps for european PAL broadcast. This will effect our conversion to our frame rate. In my case, I’ll be animating at 24fps (see the conversion math later on at the bottom of my Xsheet).

Get Additional Reference

Although we could use a single source of reference, it’s better to have several similar sources to draw from, and the plates from Edward Muybridge’s animal studies have been a source of inspiration to animators for a century. We have an extensive library of Muybridge here. These images (shown at top) are invaluable because they show a flat sideways perspective of a horse galloping with extracted frames to display the entire cycle of motion. The only problem with this is that we don’t know how fast it should be moving, a problem we’ve already addressed with our video reference.

Here is a playback of the muybridge_horse set to a realistic 40fps.

By comparing the frames to our video, I determined that the approximate speed of the original Muybridge shot was a brisk 40fps. I also adjusted the frames to stabilize the ground, put vertical and horizontal lines in to help track key parts of the body, and finally tracked each hoof with a colored ball. All of this information provides almost everything we need to put together our plan.

Horse Gaits

basicsGaitsGallopR or basicsGaitsGallopL

The last bit of information we need is an understanding of the pattern we hope to find and reproduce. This information I found easily on an equestrian website, along with footfall patterns of all the primary horse locomotion speeds.


Path of feet shown in color code through cycle duration.

Record Observations and Refine

Finally we are ready to utilize all of this information into a formal plan for animating our horse. By stepping through the video and referring to the Muybridge plates, I record all of the pertinent information I can onto an Xsheet.


Modified Xsheet for planning CG animation

By examining the sheet above, you can see that I’ve sought out the most important aspects of the motion and spaced them out in time so that they flow fluidly. Here is a list of the things you should look for before continuing:

  • Key Frames – These should be the most informational single images for the action, without which, none of the remaining actions can possibly hope to illustrate the action properly. In my case, I chose the Squashed mid-air position, and the Stretched leaping position of the horse.
  • Extremes -The foot contacts must all be present, as well as the maximum and minimum vertical positions of the chest and flank.
  • Breakdowns – Wherever necessary, plan for the passing or half-way positions of body parts and poses, so you do not miss the nuance of the motion pattern.
  • Small patterns– Note the path and notes about the head, these patterns are important and shouldn’t be missed. Make notes of any details you might easily forget later.

For one reason or another, the use of Xsheets has never fully translated over to computer animation, which I think is a major loss. Although these sheets were originally used to plan for the exposure of cell levels in traditional animation, they can find a valuable second life in helping to plan body part motions and musical timing.

Execute Plan

With all of this preparatory work, the only thing left to do is to use this roadmap to complete your animation. By this point, you should have such a solid idea of what your animation is going to look like, that the actual work of animation is almost an afterthought. In The Illusion of Life, as well as The Animator’s Survival Kit, the authors tell stories of their lengthy and strenuous planning procedures, and how once planned out, an animation scene was practically complete before pencil ever touched page. This method allows you to keep a solid focus on your scene even between work sessions, and frees you to focus on the details without becoming lost in the larger patterns of motion.



Taber Dunipace
Director of Membership


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather