This Is What Every Illustrator Needs To Know About Animation

So you’re pretty good with a pencil. Or whatever your medium is. If you’re an illustrator then you have most of the skills that you need to animate. Most illustrators are put off by the amount of work that goes into every piece of animation. However, you can make the process easier. Here’s what you need to understand about the animation process. And the reasons why you should think about expanding your skill base.

What Is A Frame?

A frame is what anything that is a video is made of. Okay, imagine that you’re watching a movie. Then pause it. That still image in your screen now, that is a frame. Videos work by showing frames in a sequence. You don’t notice frames because they only appear for a quick moment and then they’re replaced by the next one. Most videos shot with a camera show you 24 frames in a single second. With a camera, that’s not a big deal. However, when you are an animator, you have to draw each of those 24 frames. And that’s only a second. A single frame, for you, would have your character, your background and just a general aesthetic.

Reducing The Work

Now here’s the trick independent animators use. Even professional studios do this, depending on the budget of an animation. They show you the same frame more than once. This means that a particular frame is followed by itself so that that image stays on the screen longer. In this way, 24 frames still make a second, but the number of completely new frames reduces. This is called animating on two’s or three’s and so on. Animating on two’s means that each frame is shown twice. And that brings the total number of completely new frames in a second down to 12. If you animate on three’s, every frame is shown three times. And that brings your total number of frames in a second to 8. You get it. You only make 8 drawings where there should be 24.

This is a great way to reduce the amount of work that you have to do. The drawback is that when you repeat frames, your animation is not as fluid as when you don’t. So 24 completely new frames (animating on one’s) is more fluid than 12 completely new frames, and so on.

Starter Guides

If you want to make your illustration skills transferrable into a new medium, you are going to need some help. The following are some resources that are very beginner-friendly.

If you can draw, this medium opens up a lot of popssibilities for you. Bring your illustrations to life with movement.


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