Creative Bloq have just posted an article which featured in 3DWorld magazine a while ago now. This time I share 15 tips to help speed up your animation workflow.

Animation Tips

Anyone can manipulate a series of controllers in a 3D application. Moving shaped curves, IK handles or selection handles is just the start of creating movement, but it takes a true animator to bring a once inanimate object to life. As you can imagine, making someone or something emote and respond with its surroundings can be a hard and time-consuming task, and one which shouldn’t be rushed.

With this article, I hope to share a handful of tips which should help you to avoid the hang-ups associated with working virtually, and speed up the production of your animations. By utilising these tips and tricks, you will have more time to sit and do what you do best – animate.

01. Block out key poses

When it comes to the art of animating don’t rush ahead and attempt to refine the motion of each limb before you move onto the next. Focusing on one area at a time will mean you are not seeing the bigger picture, and elements will move at different speeds and you’ll end up with unnatural-looking action.

For an animation to work everything has to sing to the same tune, so viewing the character as a whole and focusing on the larger movements is always the best starting point.

02. Copy and paste animation keys

In some cases, when you’re working on a repetitive motion like a walk cycle, for example, it can be a little tedious working on each side separately. It’s in these cases that you can always cheat a little and simply copy the motion from the main side over to the other using the copy and paste tools.

Of course, I realise that this wouldn’t work initially for a walk or run, but you can always then offset the keys on one side to achieve the correct strides. And what’s more, remember that you can also copy and paste animation between characters too, for maximum flexibility and speed.

03. Use a good, flexible and reliable rig

Animating successfully in 3D isn’t just down to the talent of the animator. Most of what you can achieve relies heavily on the rig you’re using.

A quick and generic system will give you the main tools to use, but in order to give your character that edge, the rig needs to be tailored to their specific traits. An unprofessional rig can also add to your workload. If much of the underlying constraints and systems are easily accessible you could accidentally be editing, resulting in a broken rig.

The best rigs are the ones which leave the animator to animate. It’s best if you can pick up the character and move it around without any complicated systems to contend with, or constant trips to the technical artist because the arm has suddenly jumped in the scene.

That`s all for now, but you can find the other 13 tips right here – Speed Up Your Animation Workflow