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How to start the process


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#1 kima2

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 05:13 AM

I'm used to working in sound design/edm and within this arena the software such as ableton live is very good for tinkering with ideas, listening to how things work together etc and this really fires up my creativity. However I don't find the process the same with graphics and motion design. In my opinion unless you are an absolute after effects/c4d wiz and know the programmes inside out then its very difficult to just sit there and play around and come with random ideas on the fly. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe it is possible but I'd like to hear from others about how they come up with ideas etc. What is the process for you? Sometimes I have an idea to make something but then I kind of feel like it's beyond my skills so I do tutorials etc but never seem to progress.
I watch a lot of animated/motion videos by others but most of the time I just end up feeling like I'm never going to progress to such a level.

#2 scott frizzle

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 05:04 PM

I agree that animation software is generally less spontaneous from a creative perspective than music software. I think the only real way around this is to do a lot of animation and learn the software to the point where it's helping you instead of holding you back. This requires a fair amount of dedication and patience. I would try to build very simple things at first.  Just getting comfortable with the basics of keyframes will probably make you feel much better about working creatively within the software.  After that you can progress on to more complicated things.  Trying to mimic existing animations that you like can be a great way to learn, but pace yourself and don't try things that are too far beyond your current skill level or it will just be too frustrating.

 

A lot of people will tell you to have your ideas planned out before you get into the animation phase, which is fine, but in my opinion, not absolutely necessary.  I've been doing this so long now that I'm actually more comfortable and effective being creative within the software than outside of it. The trick is being fluent enough so that you don't get bogged down with a technical issue that's going to disrupt your creative process.  Also, as with music, knowing the principles of design and animation is going to make this work a lot better for you.  Otherwise you're asking too much from software that doesn't have a clue about design, composition, pacing, etc, and doesn't have pre built animation bits from the pros built in like music software often does with drum tracks, loops, etc.  



#3 kima2

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 04:38 AM

I agree that animation software is generally less spontaneous from a creative perspective than music software. I think the only real way around this is to do a lot of animation and learn the software to the point where it's helping you instead of holding you back. This requires a fair amount of dedication and patience. I would try to build very simple things at first.  Just getting comfortable with the basics of keyframes will probably make you feel much better about working creatively within the software.  After that you can progress on to more complicated things.  Trying to mimic existing animations that you like can be a great way to learn, but pace yourself and don't try things that are too far beyond your current skill level or it will just be too frustrating.

 

A lot of people will tell you to have your ideas planned out before you get into the animation phase, which is fine, but in my opinion, not absolutely necessary.  I've been doing this so long now that I'm actually more comfortable and effective being creative within the software than outside of it. The trick is being fluent enough so that you don't get bogged down with a technical issue that's going to disrupt your creative process.  Also, as with music, knowing the principles of design and animation is going to make this work a lot better for you.  Otherwise you're asking too much from software that doesn't have a clue about design, composition, pacing, etc, and doesn't have pre built animation bits from the pros built in like music software often does with drum tracks, loops, etc.  

Thanks Scott.  Very helpful.  I shall keep at it. 



#4 Carey

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 04:42 AM

You're kind of asking a set of somewhat related questions, so there's probably a combination of things goin on that make it difficult.

 

The first is that if you're coming up with ideas for things you'd like to make, but find you don't have the skills, that's either an opportunity to learn some skills (which you're apparently trying) or is an opportunity to figure out another way to do it that you can actually handle. Like, ok, I want to make a Transformers movie on my own... but I don't have $180M to spend. Can I make it as a flip book instead? Can I make each character be a square and just use the "transforming" sound and the squares turn into different shapes? Can I do it by hand animating construction paper cutouts like they used to make South Park? Yeah, absolutely. And I'll totally discover some things doing it any of those ways that I would never have thought of or appreciated before.

 

The second is this cognitive effect that comes into play when you watch tutorials. Tutorials, cooking shows, DIY shows, etc. all show other people completing tasks easily and in short order, and when you watch them, your brain actually gets a pretty satisfying little hit not only learning something easily, but of actually feeling accomplished. Like you did the task that they did. They may tell you how to do something specific, but you'll rarely then feel compelled to do it yourself because there's a tiny part of your brain that's goin "yeah, but you kinda did cuz you watched them do it. Yeah, we did it, bro! We worked hard already! No worries!" So when you watch tutorials, you have to watch them with the explicit intent to derive an answer to a problem you're facing so that you can keep making progress toward your goal.

 

Which leads to the third: You probably think you have an "idea", but you probably don't. You probably have some vague inspiration. What you need is a clearly defined goal. Not everyone needs a clearly defined goal. Some people can find their destination by wandering. But your problem is that you can't even find a road yet, let alone a destination, so you need get really really REALLY clear about exactly what you want to end up with when all is said and done. "A cool animation" does not qualify in the least as a goal. Whatever you're gonna say your slightly more specific idea is, I guarantee you can get 10x more specific about it. And when you do, it'll help you start figuring out various paths to get there, and how feasible each of them is, and so forth. 

 

I've posted these videos I made a bunch, but they might be really helpful for you. They're not tutorials ;) 

https://www.youtube....y9eWmBBlpo3F1z_



#5 simonfarussell

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 11:51 AM

My first response was, 'maybe you shouldn't be doing this'. I never really have creative block, I never have enough time to explore 20% of what I want to do. There's always something to try. But then I thought about me playing with Ableton and I have the exact same problem in reverse. I just doddle off in some direction and get stuck in an unproductive loop. I end up thinking 'man but if I really was a master it'd be fine.'

 

But I pretty much agree with the artist formerly known as Binky. Having a specific goal is key. It's not about the technique and never has been. It's about ideas and communication. But I think you have to just be happy with the fact that it will take you while to get happy with what you're making. It will start off a bit rubbish. If you follow tutorials it will look ok but will have no 'you' in it and be similarly unsatisfying.






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