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Entry #1

If your new to Animation, read this:

4/13/11 by unconsidered

If your reading this, than either you have nothing better to do, or you want to animate. Ane while I'm no guru animator, I do have some helpful tips that will help pass the time on your project.

First of all, you should try to presue this as a hobby. There are very few who actually make a living off of it; and the avertisements offered by the site pay very little. Yes, there are some who go off and do better things because of what they accomplish here or somewhere else, but that takes years, and you have to have alot of time to invest. So if there is absolutly nothing else you want to do in your life, don't take animation to seriously. I myself got into it because I have nothing better to do.

Second of all is everyone around you. If you want actually do this, and everyone says don't; then obviously don't listen to them. You got to stop caring what people think about what you do, otherwise you'll never be able to get anything done with you life; it's your life, not their's. But then again, if they are supportive, well more power to you.

Thirdly is your style. If you never drew anything in your life, and when you try to draw something you think it's horrible; stop. Don't go in thinking that you'll just be like such-and-such, it doesn't work like that. You got to find your own and stick to it. I myself can't draw straight or curve lines, I have to scribble them in; but because my lines are wiggly, many people would scoff at it; but this is how I draw, I can't change it so I accept it. And eventually I will get better; same goes for you too, you can't get better if you don't try.

Ok, if you still think your interested, it's time to go over the setup:

The Hardware

Drawing Tablet

This is quite vital. It is possible to use the mouse, but the result won't be the same, or it might not be what you were wanting. In order to get the best result, you need a tablet. I myself use a Bamboo Pen.

Now the next set are completly optional, you do not need them to animate. But because of the fact that I don't have any friends or have any projects out yet, I resort to these items to get the best flash I can. If I were you, I would ask around the Newgrounds community for assistance first; I guarantee that they are the most helpful community you will ever find. Then if none are willing to help, then you might have to resort to these:

Microphone-

Voices to flashes are like butter to toast. This doesn't mean you need to have voices in your flash in order for it to be great (Katan is such an example), however it does present the project with some character. Of course, this also depends on the project and what your wanting to do it.

There are many microphones to chose from, I myself use a 2 dollar USB microphone that was used for an Eidos promotion.

Music-

This can be classified by either software or hardware, but I use a keyboard so I'll classify as hardware for now. Music is magic, it can do anything. It can set the tone, it can make a suprise, it can terrify, it can make you sad. How you choose to use your music can very well make or break you flash.

Software

Drawing Studio

You obviously need one if your going to be putting out flashes. There are many versions, and most do just about the same thing, it's just that some are easier to use, and thus more expensive.

The most expensive I've come across is actually the most popular that I know of, it's probably becasue you can also make Flash games from it as well, The CS5 Flash Pro is a whopping $700. But your here for animation, and supposing you don't have 700, we shall got to the next software. This one I use myself, it basically has the same tools as the CS5 Flash, but the software is more tuned for animations than anything else, Toon Boom Studio will set you back only 200 dollars. But suppose you don't have any money, I can only think of one other. This software is very, very basic, Pencil and the software is free.

Music player-

This is important for voices and music (duh). Mostly needed for organization. This would also be a good time to look at the type of audio file your voices or music are.

The software that I use for animation has a section for importing files like music and such, but it can't upload .wma files; and if you ripped a CD using WMP or recorded your voices over Microsoft Sound Recorder, then all of those files are .wma. A simple solution I found over the .wma problem is downloading a file converter, you'll find hundreds of them on the internet. It converts your .wma files into mp3 format. Like I said this is for my software, and I'm not sure what the others are like; but your more than likely to get into a few situations like this.

I think that's everything. Now supposing that you have all the software and hardware needed, and your ready to start, here are some things you need to know.

1. Use the tablet only for drawing

At first I was unaware of closing all corners and then using the Paint command, I actually just drew all the spaces. It took quite a toll on my tablet, but I learned from it. And don't worry about resting your hand on it, it was designed that way.

2. Save often

There will be times when you will accidentally hit a button with your pen in which the drawing space turns into something else and you can't undo it, I myself having to close the program and restarting from my last save. It sucks when I have to redraw the 20 frames I didn't save. So I suggest saving one second of your FPS, maybe even half one-second depending on your FPS.

3. Set goals

Make a list of what your planning to do in the flash, what sound effects (if any), voices, or music will you have. Setup a screenplay or a script if it's big. Have a deadline for how many frames you'll do for a day, it's a great sense of progress. Or if you get bored with something else, you can just come back to your project and not be so bored.

4. Have fun

Flashes don't happen over night (well, some do, but they are rather short), they take time and focus. Have a comfertable working space, play for favorite music in the background, and just enjoy yourself. And don't consern yourself with 'does this look good enough', there is no good enough, there is just you and your dream. Now go after it.


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