Now that your Concept Art has got everyone back on your side and people are happy with where the project is going its time to get cracking with the animating, right? Wrong. There is an all important step to take before you can start bring your characters to life, the Animatic.
In essence an Animatic is just a super fancy Boardmatic. It’s the all important step between your super rough Boardmatic, and your final animation. The most important part of this process is putting in more developed backgrounds. In traditional 2D animation this would involving drawing out final, line art versions of your backgrounds called layouts. But in the case of my 3D sets, it all about placing the camera for each shot into the rough 3D environment and showing exactly how your final shots will be laid out. The set don’t need to be fully finished by this stage and, as I explain below, it’s often better that it isn’t.
You can then separate out your rough boardmatic animation onto different layers. Allowing you see how your characters are going to interact with your final backgrounds and ultimately time out movements more accurately. Adding in more key, story telling drawings to convey the more subtle movements in particular shots. As well as working out any camera moves, pans and zooms.
As I said when talking about Boardmatics, animation is a time intensive process and the more you can plan out in rough form, the better the frame work you will have for producing both your final animation and final sets. The idea is to limit the amount of waste as much as possible. If you decide a shot isn’t working in the animatic, then you’ve saved all the time effort and money of fully animating it. If you only ever see one side of the street in your CGI set, why both building the other side!
In the case of my foxes film all the builds are, at the moment, exactly the same. Now that I know from my animatic which of these will be in shot and which won’t I can focus on modelling different versions of just those houses, and not the whole street.
Here is the Animatic for my foxes film. Which, hopefully will show better than me trying to explain, the difference between the Boardmatic and the Animatic. Just one last step we need to take – sorting out the the sound. Then it’s onto the actual animating!