By Michael Craighead, Graphic Designer
I have recently discovered a love for traditional animation. Traditional animation or “frame by frame” animation can be both a blessing and a curse. Depending on the frame rate you choose for your animation, expect to be sucked into a black hole of paper and pencil shavings.
Traditional frame rates range anywhere from ten to thirty frames per second but you do not necessarily need to use anything higher than fifteen to start out. Standard cinema frame rates of twenty four, thirty or sixty can be overkill unless you plan on working for Walt Disney or translating over to 3D animation. I was never professionally trained in animation so what I do know comes from a combination of Internet research and experimentation. If you have any interest in animation, I would suggest just jumping right into it.
Find 12 sheets of paper, a colored pencil and some good lighting to get started. Draw a circle at the top of the page and on another sheet draw a circle at the bottom of the page. Now lay ten sheets in between these pages and do your best to square the edges. Your job will now be to visualize the circle moving from the position at the top of the page to the position at the bottom of the page. There’s no right way to do this other than really trying to make the movement look as natural or unnatural as possible. I usually like to start off with the midpoint between two frames and estimate the position the object will be. In this example, you can go six pages down from the top and simply draw a circle right in the middle of the other two. Now you have two sections of which another midpoint can be estimated. Do your best to finish drawing the position of the circle on each of the twelve pages. Flip through the pages and see how you did.
Below are two videos to help you understand the process a little better: