October 14, 2007
Adventures in Animation - Part 1
Now I’ve got my laptop back, I can continue to play around with Flash. Although I am planning to continue on with Flash games, I also want to start learning basic animation. Sooner or later I’ll need to use animation in my games anyway, so it’s about time I get my feet wet with what Flash is renowned for.
Eventually I want to get to animation humanoid figures; nothing too realistic, most likely made out of simple vectorised shapes ideal for simple games. Here’s some old concept art for the kind of look I’d like to go for:
However before animating a character like this, I think I need to work on something simpler. From an on-line conversation with John Hattan I’ve decided that animating a character made from a single simple polygon is a great first step at character animation. I’ll give this a go very soon.
Before I can move onto something like that, I still need to work on the very basics. I’ve been reading through my copy of The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams (he was Director of Animation on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” as well as many other things). It’s a great book on traditional animation techniques and something I’m going to refer to a lot over the next few months. From that, I’m starting with the traditional first animator’s exercise; animating a bouncing ball. Flash will make this easier than if I had to use a camera, but I’m going to eschew some of the more helpful Flash tricks like making objects following guides and tweening and do this first exercise by manipulating the ball by hand. It’s an exercise to get a feel of the basics such as spacing and timing.
I’ll keep a log of my progress here in my journal for prosperity’s sake.
Here is my very first draft of the bouncing ball in Flash. I can see where I’ve screwed up the shadow with a bunch of simple errors, and early on in the leading fall and the first bounce I forgot the basic principles of physics it seems. It needs some cleaning up.