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  1. #1
    Enthusiast OblivionFall's Avatar

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    OblivionFall's Epic Big [EVERYTHING] Tutorial

    Introduction
    Welcome to OblivionFall's master tutorial! This is the one place to go where I can pass on all of my experience as an animator to the 'lesser' generations. Most of the material in here can be found in my video tutorials on Youtube, only here I will explain everything in far more depth with less strain on your internet and in a more 'direct' form.

    For just a little background info, I was first introduced to Pivot Animation in April 2006, though I didn't animate fully until around the 9th August 2007. I stayed on Youtube from the end of 2007 until the end of 2008, when I found this website, DarkDemon.org. Up until then, everything I knew was self taught, although I had been exposed to the mistaken philosophy that the noobs had adopted on Youtube (which was still around on DD to some extent) So for the first part of my tutorial, I will attempt to dispel this mistaken view that some have adopted.

    Now, for most beginners, smoothness is everything. When they see an animation like HHS Collab, they wouldn't comment on the quality poses or the physics, most of them would just say "OMG SO SMOOTH!". I see a problem with this mentality. The mindset that a lot of noobs have where they judge movements based on smoothness and easing. Here's the problem, easing is not the most important aspect of animation. In fact, I think the other aspects are much more important. We shouldn't focus on the spacing of movements, we should focus on the movements themselves.

    Well, you may ask, what makes something a good movement if easing is not important? Firstly, I never said that easing wasn't important, I inferred that it's not as important as the other basics. Easing becomes essential in the end, but it's like the cherry on top of the cake. It's not very impressive when there's no cake for it to sit on, right? So, obviously you'll be curious as to what these other basics are. In my view, each movement has three main parts to it: Spacing (Easing), Poses and Motion Paths (Speed, Shape, Direction). Most advanced animators know about poses, but most animators I've spoken to are unfamiliar with the specifics of Motion Paths. But don't worry, it's all very easy to learn. Like I said, they are a piece of cake

    Movement Poses
    Poses are the most essential element to animation. Pose is a term which means 'position'. It refers to the shape of your entire figure on each frame. Poses are what constitutes a movement. Without varying poses, movement isn't even possible. Knowing how to use poses correctly is all about knowing which segments to move, and where to move them relative to the other segments. As one can easily see, there is no point in learning how to space your movements when you don't even know which segments you should be moving in the first place!

    So, what constitutes a good pose then? Well, according most animating styles (realism in particular), its about having the poses on each of your frames look natural. That is to say, if the movement were to be executed in real life, what would the shape of the persons body be in. For basic movements like walking, running, acrobatics and simple fighting moves, you can just study examples of people executing these movements in real life, and model your poses of that.

    But, we look at which poses would be necessary for such movements, lets get to grips with starting poses. Your Starting Pose is the most important. Because lets face it, if you start of a movement which a terrible starting pose, you are setting yourself up to fail. Here are some examples of bad starting poses...


    Now, these are clearly bad poses, but what exactly is it that makes these poses bad? Well, for the first guy, both of his legs knees are facing outwards, with alone isn't necessarily a bad thing. Except that the bottom of his legs are facing inwards, and on different angles too! One of his feet is nearly vertical, yet the other is quite clearly diagonal! It'd be very awkward trying to balance this way.

    The second pose is the 'default' pose of your most basic stickman. This pose is bad because his limbs are spread out. If he were to walk or run from this position, he'd first have to pull his limbs together before he'd be 'ready' to move. Similar problems are with the other stickman, the poses they are in are not poses which 'prepare' the stickman for any particular movement. As a result, these poses fail to provide a secure platform on which movement can begin. Now, lets have a look at some good starting poses.


    As anyone can see, these are all much, much better. You can tell that each one of these starting poses looks natural. Firstly, in the sense that these stickmen look like they are 'at rest', in other terms, stationary. Some of them look like they are relaxing their limbs, others like they are holding their limbs in a given position using muscle control. Each one is standing with good balance. Furthermore, the limbs of each of these stickmen are in positions which could easily shift into a walk or a run, maybe even a punch and a kick! In a sense, these stickmen are properly 'prepared' for action.

    When it comes to actual movement, one must make sure that the position that your stickman moves into on each frame follows logically from the previous one. You need to make sure that the movement makes sense, in that one can clearly tell what is intended by a set movement. Again, it's of great use to study real life movements to get an idea, even some of your own movements! Of course, the ground gets treacherous when it comes to animating things which are impossible, like flying, magic, overpowered strength and speed, or the kinds of fighting moves seen in Terkoiz's SHOCK series. When it comes to things like this, you'll be stuck with nothing but your imagination to help you.

    So, now it seems I have covered the basics of poses and why they are important. I recommend that any Beginner or Intermediate animators who want to improve focus their attention here.

    Movement Spacing
    Okay, now we're up to Movement Spacing, or 'Easing' as it is most often called. Spacing is all about speed. Spacing is the easiest thing to talk about because it can be broken down into simple steps, it can be graphed, and even given a mathematical equation. First, to those who do not understand, the term 'Spacing' refers to the spatial distance that something moves between two frames. Often, when people explain spacing in tutorials, they'll give an idea like this..

    Key: Frames |
    Pixels -

    |--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|

    This would represent something moving two pixels each frame over a period of 16 frames. This is called 'Flat Spacing', or No Easing. If you were to graph this form of spacing on a graph, with axes 'Frames' and 'Pixels' it would look like this.


    Now, Easing and spacing are not the same thing. Spacing refers only to speed, while easing refers to change in speed, or acceleration. For this to work, the distance moved on each frame would have to increase (or decrease) with each frame that passes. When plotted on a graph, you would end up with some form of gradient.

    Flat Easing
    The most basic form of easing is what I call 'Flat Easing'. This is different from Flat Spacing, because as I said earlier, Spacing is Speed, and Easing is Acceleration. Now, I call this method 'Flat Easing' because when plotted on a graph, you end up with a flat gradient, or a flat diagonal line. The method is when the distance that you move something increases by the same number of pixels on each frame. For example, this is what 1px Flat Easing looks like.

    Frame 1 - Pixels 1
    Frame 2 - Pixels 2
    Frame 3 - Pixels 3
    Frame 4 - Pixels 4
    Frame 5 - Pixels 5

    |-|--|---|----|-----|------|-------|--------|---------|----------|-----------|------------|-------------|--------------|



    Now, as this is the easiest form of easing to understand, most beginner animators will be familiar with Flat Easing in one or more of its forms. This particular form of Flat Easing (1px) results in extremely over-eased movements, which would be incredibly slow and boring. I am of the opinion that this form of easing will not even result in smooth movements, and I will explain why.

    If you want your movements to be eased in a way that is more smooth, then you will want to aim for a smooth curve on the easing graph. This may sound hard, but it is actually very simple. In mathematics class, at school, I have been taught many ways of producing smooth curves on graphs using mathematical equations. Now pay close attention here, this is a bit technical.

    These mathematical forms of easing are what I call 'raw easing', in the sense that when broken down into its most basic form, this is what you get. There are several methods of raw easing which I have come up with, and I am sure you can come up with many more.

    Double Easing
    The distance moved in pixels doubles on each frame.

    Frame 1 - Pixels 1
    Frame 2 - Pixels 2
    Frame 3 - Pixels 4
    Frame 4 - Pixels 8
    Frame 5 - Pixels 16

    |-|--|----|--------|----------------|--------------------------------|----------------------------------------------------------------|



    This produces a reasonably quick build up in speed, which is also smooth. The curve on the graph is also reasonably smooth. This form of easing is simple to learn and I'm sure I'm not the only animator who has used this technique before.

    Sigma Easing
    This is an easing technique which I invented myself. It is derived from the mathematical concept of 'sigma' where all the lesser components of a number are summed up into a new number. Most scientific calculators have a function on them. It works in a table like this..

    Frame 1 - Pixels 1 (1)
    Frame 2 - Pixels 3 (2+1)
    Frame 3 - Pixels 6 (3+2+1)
    Frame 4 - Pixels 10 (4+3+2+1)
    Frame 5 - Pixels 15 (5+4+3+2+1)

    |-|---|------|----------|--------------|---------------------|----------------------------|------------------------------------|



    I am using this technique of easing for one of the camera pans in my up and coming animation 'The Apostasy'. From my experience, this technique produces more 'gentle' build up in speed than double easing, although it is still rather quick and very smooth. I also roughly base my movements off this technique, though I never adhere to it 100% in that context.

    Parabola Easing
    This is when you space your movements according to the formula P = F^2. You move your object the same number of pixels as the number of frames squared.

    Frame 1 - Pixels 1 (1^2)
    Frame 2 - Pixels 4 (2^2)
    Frame 3 - Pixels 9 (3^2)
    Frame 4 - Pixels 16 (4^2)
    Frame 5 - Pixels 25 (5^2)

    |-|----|---------|----------------|-------------------------|------------------------------------|



    To be honest, I've never actually attempted this type of easing before. I imagine it'd be very fast and sudden, as it gets steep very quickly. In any case, anybody who has done senior level Mathematics at school will know that there are any ways of changing the shape of a parabola to make it steeper or shallower, and those methods can be used here.

    Now that you know some forms of 'raw' easing, let me wrap up by saying just a few more things. Never, ever follow this form of easing for stickman movements 100%. It's fine when your doing physics simulations with plain objects, or camera movements, but don't follow these easing forms exactly when you create your stickman movements, it's better to use them as a rough guideline. Why? Because otherwise your movements might very well be restricted, as when you factor muscle control into the mix, real life movements can become sudden, and almost non eased. I know some of you will not be fans of realism, but this aspect of the style at least, should be able to benefit animators in all other categories (except ragdoll ).

    Muscle Control
    I was first introduced to Muscle Control by Crono in his tutorial. This has to do with both poses and easing. The basic idea is that when we, human beings, use our muscles, we don't always do so smoothly. We can swing our arm out and stop it suddenly without any form of smoothness, and we can accelerate it to a high speed again in an instant. When it comes to movements and spacing, you must distinguish between which limbs are 'relaxed' and which are 'controlled'. The controlled limbs are the ones which your figure would be consciously or subconsciously moving or holding in place.



    Look at the difference between these two guys. The first guy has his arms down, almost dangling. Gravity and the forces of momentum could easily affect the position his arms are in. If he were to be pushed over at this moment and keep his arms relaxed, they would trail behind him.

    But the second dude, his arms up up. You can see that as he moves slightly, his arms move not at all according to gravity or momentum. Those forces have minimal effect on the position of his arms because he is keeping them in place. If this guy were to fall over and keep control, his arms would only trail slightly, but stay roughly in the same shape.

    When it comes to easing, same thing to. When a relaxed limb moves, it would move more smoothly, more well eased and etc. When a limb is moved my the control of the stickman, however, it would be rather quick and fairly sudden. There would be some easing in there, but minimal.

    Movement Flow
    I'm going to get around to this really soon, but right now, I need to take a break xD

    In the mean time, check out my video tutorials!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA2vDhBwnxk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDDvY5XbbCM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1aqvts54vU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtBk0nPph24

  2. #2
    Fanatic Enthusiast

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    Re: OblivionFall's Video Tutorial Series

    Now that's something, Good Job for this

  3. #3
    Enthusiast Octane's Avatar

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    Re: OblivionFall's Video Tutorial Series

    I REALLY suggest you make a separate channel for these videos.
    Finnally!! Tutorials from an elite!! Good idea man.
    [center:2fs84nzu][/center:2fs84nzu]
    [center:2fs84nzu]------------OCTANE------------[/center:2fs84nzu]

  4. #4
    Veteran Enthusiast Kellawgs's Avatar

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    Re: OblivionFall's Video Tutorial Series

    Can't wait for the upcoming tutorials man!

    Thanks alot for these.

  5. #5
    Bad Ass Statham Statham's Avatar

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    Re: OblivionFall's Video Tutorial Series

    not bad obvl., but to say easing isn't necessary the beginning aspect you need to learn is truthfully wrong. In fact easing poses go hand in hand when leading into the first aspects of starting a movement. I clearly see you did in fact ease into the run, but you didn't explain that to us in the tutorial. I hope you cover the who essentials of when you start a run don't jump into a full on dash, for a general clean look, ease into the movement.

    not bad like I said, but generaly you want people to learn a tad about easing so they can at least start out with a crisp understanding as to what you mean by a clean animation.

    *You must be prepared for harsh critique. What I offer is in sight on what you should of done and you may get a offended, but you must understand if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen of art.

  6. #6
    Enthusiast Gradus's Avatar

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    Re: OblivionFall's Video Tutorial Series

    awesome Obliv, I'll keep looking for it

  7. #7
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    Re: OblivionFall's Video Tutorial Series

    Finally, tutorials from an active Elite. Now all the beginners are going to get better and better until at one point where they'll get Elites like you.
    Look, you got 217 views right now. This means around 217 upcoming Elites, lol.
    Kidding, your tutorials are really basic but advanced at the same time. Lovin
    ' them.

  8. #8
    Enthusiast OblivionFall's Avatar

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    Re: OblivionFall's Video Tutorial Series

    The point I was trying to make is that easing is useless when you have terrible poses. it was also intended to distract noobs from the mentality that easing is the key to everything and that the more you over ease the better you are. Some noobs think like that, even some intermediates (I was one of them!) I know from my experience that I didn't start improving until I started easing much more moderately.

    Anyway, here's the next tutorial! At the time it seemed like a good idea, but now it seems kinda useless lol.. eh, who cares. Sigma easing is bloody useful for camera pans, so I'm happy to have it out in the open xD
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDDvY5XbbCM

  9. #9
    Old Newbie ThePro's Avatar
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    Re: OblivionFall's Video Tutorial Series

    Awesome tutorials .I've learned a lot of thing and i can't wait for the next tutorial
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  10. #10
    Enthusiast OblivionFall's Avatar

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    Re: OblivionFall's Video Tutorial Series

    Thank you, ThePro.

    I have a new video up now!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1aqvts54vU

    Edit: Another video is up now... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtBk0nPp ... -dH4Y0KP5Y

    Why is my thread being ignored?


 
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