This week’s article covers animation and the most common mistakes that can occur when doing animation. I’ve done a bit of character animation in the past- so some of these mistakes were things I’ve heard of, and have previously avoided. While there are many mistakes and many things that can go wrong, I’ll cover about three of them to keep things short and sweet. Now, let’s get to it!

Mistake #1 – Cluttered Timeline, Too Many Keyframes

The more the merrier right? Sometimes the more the better isn’t true and can be detrimental to your animations. While having many, many keyframes may make your workspace feel more filled, it’s not a good thing to have. Too many keyframes can muck up your animation, making it seem choppy or abnormal. Said keyframes may also cause other issues when you go to edit them.

In order to avoid or fix this mistake, I’d recommend using less keyframes, and also learning a little bit more on where to actually place keyframes. Reading up and practice are both the two best things I’d say to do. When you work keep an eye on how many keyframes you place on the timeline, and perhaps try to use less if you catch yourself putting more than the usual amount.

Make sure to only place keyframes where they absolutely need to be, and where they belong, other than putting more than he needed amount.

Mistake #2 – Animation Is Long and Takes Lots of Work

Another mistake that I tend to do as well is not taking enough time to actually animate and not working enough on it. It’s a very poor beginner thing, as a lot of us don’t realize how hard it actually is to animate, nor how long it usually takes. This causes people to not take much time and/or not put enough work in, expecting a very good product. I also am a fan of instant gratification and perfection, which doesn’t always happen of course. In fact it doesn’t happen at all! So watch out, because these things can really bog you down.

Due to the nature of animation, those who do not know what they’re getting into may want to reconsider, or research how long it takes to complete even a simple animation. Churning out low-quality animations won’t make anyone happy, not even yourself!

Just take your time and give it your all, don’t skimp on things, and just give it a lot of time and work. Placing this into your animation will make things much easier, and will allow you to make things you actually enjoy.

Mistake #3 – Animating Without References

This is a huge mistake that can really make or break your animation. Animation isn’t supposed to look life-like or anything like that, unless that’s what you’re going for, but always use references! You’ll regret it if you don’t.

Animating something like a character can be swell and easy! Until the anatomy stops matching up and your character begins to look like a distended alien due to a super long arm or something. You need to look at references on everything from anatomy to clothing movement, to how people run or walk. It’s all very important. Even if you’re familiar with how something in particular looks, you’ll need to reference it.

For example, I live with quite a few cats, and despite knowing very well how they move and do things, animating them has lead to some very odd bodily movements. Especially making a cat run, you can see what I was thinking of, however, it was not quite right… So that’s why we reference things.

If you have trouble thinking of what references to use, you should always have something on hand like anatomy. Even if you’re doing something stylistically, you need to reference things.

Particle Effects

Particle effects are small pixel animations that are used in video games, motion graphics, and other various things, made to resemble effects such as clouds, fire, any kind of simulated effect. There can be mistakes in particle effects as well, such as lack of quality, too tight clusters of particles, too spacious clusters of particles, and other various things- including color and design, etc.

3D Animation Mistakes

Some common 3D animation mistakes fall into the same areas as the upper 2D animation mistakes, and they are pretty similar. One issue 3D animators tend to do is not storyboarding or constructing things ahead of time. Due to the nature of 3D animation, they believe they can get away without storyboarding, however, it’s something that is mostly forgotten.

Another 3D animation mistake is references, just like the issue with 2D animators. They can make things look very, very strange without references, and sometimes these things may hit uncanny valley… Which isn’t always the best thing.

In the grand scheme of things, animation takes a lot of work, but with hard work, understanding common mistakes, and taking your time, you can get better at animation.

Featured Photo by Kate Trysh on Unsplash.