I feel a bit sad. I mean, I'm glad that something I wrote 5 years ago helps beginners get a grips on CG animation, but there's soooooo much more than pose heavy snap-imation. I feel like I've not contributed to making people quality animators so much as I've reduced the deepness of this great artform to a bit of push button formula. Some days I feel like a manufacturer of those Paint By Numbers Kits you buy at the dollar store. Art for the masses, codified, reduced, simplfied and ultimately expunged of depth and meaning. Follow these steps, get McResult. Yet people seem appreciative of it all the same. I suppose that's got its place, but I wish I could somehow get across the depth of what animation is, what it could become. This is ultimately about doing something truly magical- bringing an inanimate thing to life. It's one of the the neatest expressions of being made in the image of the Creator. We've got this built in need to bring this stuff to life. It's not just a collection of motion gimmicks. Sadly that's not as easy to distill into a checklist kind of thing that makes for easy teacher print outs and happy students (which is why I'm glad I finally jumped in and started my Video Tutorial Service. At least I can take the time to go over this stuff somewhat properly).
It all comes down to two words, really: observe and experiment. How can you put that into a simple "How To" article? Here, I'll try...
Step 1:Easy. Two steps. Should keep us busy til we die.
Well, first you look with your eyes and try to notice things with your brain that you normally take for granted.
Then you try to find ways to put the distilled, interpreted and expanded understanding of those observations into your work so your characters become alive to the audience.