Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Foundations of a Great Animation pt. 2

Thank you for checking back, in this post I will finish talking about making a great animation table and let you see some pics of ours.

In the last post I talked about the weight of the table, I feel this is the most important aspect. And if weight is the most important it is only by a little because the second most important is accessibility. The perfect weight will not mean much if the animator can not access it properly. Make sure there is enough room underneath and there is a way to get there. This brings up an important note, if you are building a big table like we are, you must take into the account of the weight of the set and support the middle properly. This will vary from table to table, I personally prefer to make the board that will go into the table as rigid as possible and prefer less on another extra support that will no doubt get in the way of the animator.

At this point I should point out that this information is for freestanding animation tables, not small scenes that rest on counter tops. That is for another post entirely.

Now when you are done so far, you should have a box frame with no table top that does not move very far and has a way for the animator to get underneath the table top with it is in place. Next comes the table top and there are two main ways to go about it.

If you only need the table for one set, then just screw, bolt, nail, glue, or bubble gum the boards on top directly to the box frame, you should be fine. But I like to be a versatile as possible, so I like hollow tables where you can set different sets on/or in them. The only major problem this represents is that you need more than one scene that can use the size of table you're building. This is where planning very crucial. If you are planning to have multiple sets in one table, simply install wooden braces on the inside of the box frame, 1/4in. from the top along the entire interior. once again, watch those supports for the center!

Well, those are the major brush strokes of how to build a table. They can be made out of almost any wood, here as you can see we reused free pallets and lumber. Besides the added benefit of being free, using scrap wood is that much harder. If you can build one with scrap wood, you can build anything.

Here is our table almost complete. This will be the main access point for our animator.

Here are a couple views of the dry run with the first table top that will be going in. The sides have not been cut down to size yet, but this gives an idea of what it will be like. Also, if you look carefully at the back of the table, there is a chair. Could this be the one going to be used in the film? Who is John Galt?
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Foundations of a Great Animation

Today I will go over some points and tips on how to build a great animation. In animation you will need a table from which to animate. Sounds pretty simple right?

Animation tables come in all different sizes, shapes, and with different functions. There are some attributes that are generally common to all tables. Usually, you will start out with a idea or drawing similar to the blueprint above. Always draw your plan out ahead of time! I can't stress that enough. Unless you are a master carpenter with a steel trap for memory, always sketch it out. If you have a animator, now is a good time to get with them and go over the details. You will need to take into account how the animator is going to use it, need access to the underside, etc. If you are the animator and set designer, think ahead about these same things. The last thing you want is to put a support beam right where your animator (or you) need to get to.

It needs to be heavy. Now you may ask, how heavy? That's a great question, thanks for asking. It needs to be light enough for you to move if necessary, but heavy enough to where a casual bump won't budge it. If you ever run into an animator, ask them if they have ever bumped a set that was too light. Most of the time you will hear a war story about how hours of work were lost because of this.

Tomorrow I will have more plus photos of our set being constructed. Till then!
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