What is it, how to do it and walk cycle

Reading time: 4 minutes

Character animation can be a differentiator for a motion graphics video. As?

The characters increase the audience’s identification with the video!

A curious phenomenon of the human mind is pareidolia. Human beings are always looking for facial features on different objects. Who has never seen a face in an outlet or a window? This is because we are programmed to look for family patterns in all interactions.

The audience identifies with the animation also due to other factors, such as the soundtrack, colors and history. But this identification is intensified by a character immersed in the storytelling of the video.

What is character animation

The character animation consists of a moving illustration of a humanoid in a video. The character can be a realistic person, a caricature, a cartoon or an animal. The important thing is that this character has characteristics of human traits, such as emotions.

During the animation, this character will move, walk or dance, for example. The character will also display facial expressions that externalize his emotions.

The naturalness of the movements is one of the essential points for the character to be very excited. But not only that!

There are 12 animation principles created by Disney that must be followed for the result to be satisfactory, check them out here!

How to do character animation

The animation can start from different techniques, some older and some newer. All techniques have their appeal. Check out the main ones!

Frame by Frame

Frame by frame was the first animation technique created. The key positions are drawn first, and all the movement frames between the two positions are drawn. Thus, the drawings are made frame by frame, with small differences between them.

When these frames are displayed at high speed, they pass the illusion of movement. This is the whole principle of cinema and animation.

Frame by frame is currently done digitally, but little used in character animation. With the new technologies, new animation techniques have emerged.

Rigging

This technique arose from the automation of the character’s skeleton in plug-ins for After Effects, such as Duick. The positioning of each part of the body is done in a static illustration. For this, it is important that the illustration is organized in layers of each member of the body.

When well positioned, it is possible to control the movements with a single illustration in a simple way, just adding details of the new angles. The Puppet tool also assists in controlling movements.

Making the illustration in large size – 4K, for example – ensures that even if the animation occurs in scale (zoom), the image is not distorted.

The characters increase the audience's identification with the video!  (Art: Juliana Polastri)
The characters increase the audience’s identification with the video! (Art: Juliana Polastri)

Tips for good character animation

We have separated 3 tips for your animation to be fluid and believable:

1. Keep your movements simple

A good animation is in the subtlety of the details. Every character move is used to convey a message. When the message is clear to the video producer, extravagant movements need not be used when they do not help to convey the message.

This does not mean that the character’s animation will be weak, it just needs to.

2. Maintain consistency

The character’s movements must be consistent with his personality and scene at the time. How the character interacts with a particular object or performs an action is part of his signature.

The breach of expectation should be used as a one-off tool. If the break in expectation is a pattern, it loses its effect and the animation becomes inconsistent.

3. Good preparation

Before starting to animate, it is important that the base file is the right size, with the layers organized and named. As we said, it is interesting to create a character larger than the size of the video, to ensure that when the scale is moved, the character will not be distorted.The correct separation and naming of the words facilitates the identification of each body part and are not recommended refractions in the character design after the animation started. So, think about all the details when you’re still in the design part.

Walk Cycle

The walk cycle is a specific form of character animation. In it, the focus is on the way the character will walk or run.

The movements are part of the characterization of the character. They help to demonstrate his personality subconsciously.

Long steps can be confident or clumsy, short, quick steps can mean haste and agitation.

All of these signals are picked up by the viewer and translated into a perception of that character.

Character animation in videos

Character animation can be a great differentiator for your business’s motion graphics videos. The inclusion of the characters must be agreed at the beginning of the project, since their production is more extensive.

Any questions? Leave your comment!

Voxel Digital offers video and animation production solutions for your company. Get in touch with our consultants!

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