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Mrgelastic's avatar

How do animators make cartoons?

Asked by Mrgelastic (508 points ) December 26th, 2009

i have always loved cartoons, and since 3d is taking over, i would love to figure out how exactly have people been making cartoons for over 60 years now.

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14 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Do some research on “apparent motion”. You should find a lot of material relating to the way that animation works.

iRemy_y's avatar

there are alot of ways to make an animation. the most simple way is to draw each frame of a charecter doing something. try out pivot. it’s a stick animator which allows you to understand animated motion better, because you make every frame. look up tutorials if you get stuck. it’s a really fun program to try out.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

The hell with that; I want to know how re-animators practice their craft. That sounds interesting as hell.

Merriment's avatar

The old method of drawing each frame is dying out. It has become computer generated. Although there has been talk recently of Disney returning to old school style for a few future productions.

To see how “old school” style works draw a simple stick figure on the bottom corner of a page of a paperback book….draw him the same for several pages and then make minute adjustments for few more. repeat this until the stick figure has completely changed position.

Then fan through the bottom corner of the pages like you shuffle a deck of cards and just like that you are an animator.

Rarebear's avatar

What’s cool is the modern motion capture animation. They dress the actors into suits with a bunch of dots on them, and they do the motions. The computer reads them, and the animator team will draw over them. Gollum in LOTR is an example of this, as are the characters in Avatar.

Naked_Homer's avatar

No matter what method is used, it is all useless without a good base of art and drawing and a concept of motion.

I recommend “Disney Animation the Illusion of Life”. Every single lesson in that book carries over to 3D.

In the end it is the same in animation as it is for anything. The product is only as good as those who wield the tools.

Animation programs, 2d or 3d, like a scalpel, can be designed to do the best job possible, but in untrained hands you end up with a bloody mess.

sndfreQ's avatar

What @Naked_Homer says…I’ll also add that one should be aware that even the most photorealistic 2D/3D computer animation still leverages concepts from traditional animation, such as squash and stretch, inbetweening (tweening), and physics that are distorted for effect; also drawn skills for developing animation art, character modeling, storyboarding, and layout are still heavily steeped in traditional foundations.

Here are two resources that you can also research online, that have forums and classes for aspiring animators:

http://www.animationmentor.com/

http://www.acmeanimation.org/

Mrgelastic's avatar

Thanks guys

Naked_Homer's avatar

No problem. I love talking animation!

fundevogel's avatar

If your name is Zemekis you do it with velcro and ping pong balls.

Zen_Again's avatar

And there’s Wallace and Gromit.

dabbler's avatar

From what I’ve seen most cartoons with a sound track get the sound track laid down first in a studio. Then the scenes are drawn to synch up with the sound track.
Basically because it’s easier to do that than to synch up the voices with the action if you do the reverse order.
The CGI animations are much the same way with timing targets defined by the sound track.

MadMadMax's avatar

3d animation software and a head for visual art. It takes a lot more than mastering the software.

https://www.google.com/#q=3d+animation+software

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I am sure there may have been more than one way of doing it, but they all had the same principal; the figure was altered ever so much, depending on the speed of action, to the point that the eye blended it all together. Early cartoons were inked or painted on Mylar cells, or equivalent. This way they main character was painted on a cell and the background could be seen through it; you did not want to have to try and recreate a complicated background with each frame. Think of how layering works with most digital editing or photo editing software. With something like Disney you might have one scene 8 cells deep. If I remember correct I think it was 18 frames a second, which mean for each second of animated action you would need 18 frames. That did not mean the subject moved greatly in those 18 frames (which was basically a click of the shutter) or even moved at all, but a fast moving object would move more over those 18 frames than an object in slow motion. Once you ran the film at normal speed, each of the cells would only be visible to the eye for a split second and then the next frame in the sequence would take over, and so on, and so on. It happens so fast all of the frames blend together into a fluid smooth motion if the animators had it correct and had everything registered right so that it was not jumpy or skip prone. Old Disney movies would have taken 10s of thousands of cells for the 90 minute movie.

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