Dec 29, 2015

5 Shorts from Gobelins - Focusing on FX Animation

Jack and the Mysterious Lost Orb

Made by Pierre-Marie Adnet, Coralie Bruschi, Mylène Cominotti, Marion Coudert, and Valentin Lucas

The Trail

Made by Julie Bousquet, Arthur Chaumay, Vincent Rouzière, Andreï Sitari, and Alessandro Vergonnier

Phase M

Made by Kajika Aki , Fabien Corre, Jean-Luc Dessertaine, Kevin Phung, and Manon Serda

A Night Away

Made by Maya Av-Ron, Sixtine Dano, Joël Durand, Thibault LeClercq, and Tristan Poulain


Directed by Maïlis Colombie, Estelle Hocquet, Catherine Manesse, Justine Thibault, and Marine Varguy

Oct 20, 2015

2D FX Animation Tutorial: Fire Explosion - Part 1

Applying the previous tutorials which explored the principles of designing your FX first before diving into animating your effects, now Jason continues his in-dept lessons by adding wonderful motion to his designs.

Oct 9, 2015

Wildstar - Cinematic Trailer

I've been seeing 2D FX expertly being applied 3CG-Animated television series, films, and now video games for many years. I've always wanted to see more, and often predicted it would look better (stylistically) than the usual fuzzy, blurry, particle FX animation we've all seen these past 20 years... in film especially. Now it's great to see more and more of it being used, it's usually more cost effective, and looks cleaner, sharper, and stands out better.

Oct 6, 2015

Star Wars Ep I: Luke - by The Magnificent Itch

Everyone loves Star Wars, right? Here's the first Episode in a series of Star Wars themed shorts. The Magnificent Itch just about finished Ep II. It'll be released soon, but you get to vote which character we animate next... Follow us for updates on Twitter Facebbok:
or Instagram
As a special gift for fellow animators, here's Luke's Animation Rig we animated this with. Made with Maya 2012.
Vote below, and if you'd like to help us financially to create more, we have a Patreon account!

Oct 3, 2015

Sep 28, 2015

Jason Keyser's FX Tutorial Series

I'm going to do my best to reinvigorate this site with new content... starting with this!

Jason Keyser has graciously made me aware of his YouTube channel that has an ever growing archive of how-to videos for 2D FX animation in Flash. Though the technical aspects are centred in Flash CS6, the principles he covers apply to any tool & software that you use.

His tutorials are informative and have a wide-range of applications. I'll be showcasing them here every day from now on. His generosity is plentiful, I'm a firm believer of sharing one's knowledge when it comes to passing-on animation tips and tricks and wisdom. It helps animators in training, and animation students wanting to expand their knowledge in this area of the field.

I've always found 2D FX animation is the least taught aspect of traditional animation techniques, and as a director myself, it's the most difficult position to hire for. FX animators are a rare breed, mainly because very few decide to specialize in this area, and it is primarily a self-taught sub-category of the 2D animation industry. So ANY tutorials and knowledge in FX animation is hugely sought after, and Jason is quite gracious in volunteering his time in an effort to share his knowledge with all those interested in creating FX animation.

Here's the introductory videos that cover the basics of how to setup and navigate through Flash:
Setting Up Flash
Basic Drawing Tools in Flash
Using Layers in Flash
More Drawing Tools in Flash
Flash Hotkeys
More Drawing Tools in Flash
How To Not Lose Your Work

With those fundamentals under your hat, let's continue with this one, Intro to Frame-by-Frame Animation:

Jun 3, 2015

#12 Fire

Fire is one of the hardest things to do, but there are a few tricks you can do to get your flame animations to look pretty good.

Shown below is one of hundreds of very useful reference video you can find online.
Only 8 years ago, footage like this was nearly impossible to find anywhere, YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion and many other free video-sharing websites has made this type of reference material accessible to all of us. Take advantage of this, before starting a brand new FX animation, take an hour to collect videos and carefully study them.

Free software and plugins like DownloadHelper, Ripzor, and iSquint allows you to download and/or convert these Online movie files to save, collect and view on your computer.

The best one to use for ripping reference from YouTube is ClipConverter.

For a comprehensive guide on how to download from Youtube, check out this article by Jared Clarke.

I could post these all day, but in the end only practice and experimentation in Flash will allow you to figure out the shapes, forms and spacing of your fire effects. Ultimately these videos are only reference to get inspired on how to design your fire, learn how it behaves, and discover more about its timing and the many shapes it can inhabit. So lets get started.

There's 3 types of fire.
1) When it has a wide and stable base and the flames converge/compress inwards as the tips of the flames rise up and leave the base while they dissipate. Not much contrast in the shape, 80% of the volume is in the core of the barely-moving fire base. Like this...

2) When the fire acts like it's shooting outwards, lots of contrast in the shape, you can imagine a bubble inflating and being pushed out and upwards (or at an angle). Build up, pours out, dissipates, the base re-inflates and the cycle continues. Like this...

3) When it acts like a seaweed, whipping back and forth, rising/dissipating upwards, as it dances side to side, sort of like how smoke fumes ripple upwards while shrinking at the tip.

Here's how to do this sort of fire.

For me the toughest part of drawing out a fire cycle is the first and last drawings. Everything is based upon this structured/chaotic shape that you create, the length, width, scale, proportions thiese forms take decide the characteristics and personality and function your fire has to serve.

As you can see the core (base foundation in the form of a ball) doesn't really move, it's pouring out the fire upwards and side-to-side simultaneously, as the shapes rise you decide on a point that it can break off, as it it continues to rise at a steady rate the pieces that break off shrink and dissipate and pop away.

It all start with a single drawing and you build up from there. Where you choose to have chunks break off and shrink away as it moves off is up to you, sort of how you can randomly decide which parts of a puff of smoke to isolate and break apart from the main shape to have it dissipate as it drifts away. Notice the C to S curve pattern, same as any wave principle, just applied to the shape of fire.

Then you add more little bits from every chunk that breaks off and shrinks as it rises upwards, then copy the first frame to the end, and temporarily have your onion skin on to make sure the little bits hook-up to make the cycle complete.

Shown below is an alternative (combining versions 1 and 3) with an inner shape animated inside, usually I'd suggest having this inner shape always in your fire animation - the norm is yellow interior and orange outer shape with yellow-colored outlines (or for far shots, no outlines at all).

Fire can be tricky, but always remember the shape of fire is basically S-curves morphing into C-curves morphing back into S-curves.

See this short flame-thrower cycle on 2s, the same principle applies...

I hope you're enjoying a tutorial so far. If you need a fire animation for commercial usage we've created a library with 1200 animation, including 100 different fire animations.  

or other products from us. Ok, let's continue.

Notice how the flickering parts reverse direction. Otherwise it's behaving the same way as a normal campfire, but it's actively pushing outwards, like water pouring out where it bulges out and pinches inwards at a steady stream.

Even torch fire (thick/rounded base with a thin/tall tip) follows the same rules, just less exaggerated. The smaller the flames, the less outlandish they should be, but always building up, breaking off, and rising upwards. Notice how there's hashmarks on this one. This helps in keeping track of the different parts of the flame, other wise you can paint yourself in a corner when it comes to figuring out how to make the flame cycle, similar to rising smoke fumes, keeping track of all the main parts is vital for when you're figuring out how to make the animation loop in on itself.

Here's another approach to take for building and animating simple 2D fire animation:
I find the following theory (or a simpler version of it) to be a good way to start. So beginning to imagine a bubble rising - enlarge and expand this bubble upwards, draw it out in flash, straight-ahead, just with the onion-skin ON to see the previous frame - keep it simple.

Once you've done it, take the art on frame 1 and place it on the second to last frame, then the second frame's art and place it on the last frame, that way you make a complete cycle. Then delete the first two drawings.

Should look like this:

Then space it out (with a blank key between each one, and with the onion skin on inbetween your own work.

Now on a layer on top, start to make a shape (any shape) for your fire design but start on the frame with frame that has the largest bubble (should be on frame 1 now that you've trimmed the first couple frames).

As you go frame by frame, make your flame follow the bubble, keeping a base at the bottom, preventing it from moving. But it can shrink, like blowing soap bubbles.

With each frame I only see (onion skin) the frame before and as I just have the flame go with the flow, the tips point the opposite direction from the previous frame (just to add life to it).

Now when the looping bubble emerging from the base now has to accommodate for the flame's shape.

Now the tricky part, you'll have to temporarily copy the first key to the end (so you can animate your way back to the start) this is for reference for your onion skin, delete it once you're done these inbetween drawings. As shown in the drawings above, break off the flame, have it shrink and follow the small bubble disappearing, the base of your fire grows as your new bubble rises and expands, but don't go bigger than your original drawing, that's what will make the cycle smooth.

So here's a quick rough I did.

One you remove your bubble guide layer it looks like this.

Pouring up like smoke or water.

Keep it very simple.

This way once you do a few of these you'll master it, then you go to more complex shapes, longer cycles and dual shapes that simply applies the same theory to a core shape and an outer shape.

Mar 28, 2015

Kelela "A Message"

This music video including an animated sequence that has amazing effects animation, skip to 02:50 to see.

Animation Director: Fantasista Utamaro
Character Design: Yusuke Kozaki
Animation: Tetsuya Tatamitani, Misa Koyasu,
Yasumi Ogura, Rapparu, Masanobu Hiraoka, Kinari
Compositing: Yuichiro Saeki

Mar 13, 2015

'Boom' from The Line

Animation by Wesley Louis. Clean up and inbetweening by Vida Vega, Bjorn-Erik Aschim, Sam Taylor, and Thomas Eide. Comp by Max Taylor.