Assignment 13a
Assistant Animator Level

This assignment has seven rough keys. I'll also provide you with the two cleaned up keys just before this and the one key at the end.


Get .pdf version of the Keys

You are to clean up the rough keys to match the three cleaned keys provided.

This assignment is all about clean up from an assistant animator's point of view. The assistant is responsible for taking the animator's rough drawings and on a separate sheet of paper, fixing any proportion, volume, structure and model errors. While the animator should be keeping track of these things, their primary job is to time the action and find the proper pose for that moment in time. In the heat of the process of animating, the animator may just be whipping out the drawings as quickly as they can with no concern for volumes. A common error is to have the character shrink as you go through the scene, I've done this lots of times. In some cases, drawings may be reduces to simple lines of action. When I was an assistant animator, I used to get lots of crappy drawings that if I pulled them out now, you'd look at them and say, "What the heck is that supposed to be??"

The drawings for this assignment are pretty tight with just a bit of volume issues. Flip the drawings one by one against the clean ups and you'll start to see.

Begin with drawing H5a which will become #77 in this sequence.

H5a is 77, iA is 78, iA1 is 80, i1 is 82, i2 is 86, J1 is 89, and L is 94.

You can see the timing on these are very tight at the beginning while 78 - 103 require inbetweens.

Place drawing 76 on the pegs and then put H5 over top of it, then place a blank sheet on top of that one. Turn on your light table so you can see through the sheets better. The idea here is to use the clean key as a reference and the rough as a guide for the final drawing. Stick to the original rough lines as closely as you can, only modifying to adjust for volumes.

What you may want to do as an initial, first step is to use a light blue pencil to do a rough clean up first. There seems to be something psycologically permanent about black and it can cause you to tighten up in your drawing. If you go over the drawing in blue first you may feel less inhibited.

The key thing with assistant clean up is to always check your drawing with the previous key to be sure it's consistant. You do this by flipping the drawing back and forth, looking at every single line on the drawing and comparing it with the previous key. Check the end points, the spatial relationships between the lines that form the different features or parts of the character. If something wobbles, or shrinks, grows, pops... anything that is not part of the natural flow of the intended action, you must fix it immediately. Don't leave it until later on, because you'll get lazy and forget about it. Then it shows up on screen and detracts from the animation. Become a perfectionist. Don't let anything slip by.

There will obviously be times that you'll have to make a judgement call. Think of the principles involved. Does it work in line with that principle? Think. Think. Think. If in doubt, ask the animator.

Go through these drawings and time yourself. They shouldn't take any more than about 30 minutes each.

As an added bonus assignment, go back and inbetween these. If you look at my clean ups, you'll see the timing charts on each key.


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See my clean ups