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Creating The Animatic
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Creating the Animatic

Once you have your Storyboards all set, the next step is to create the Animatic. An Animatic is a rough draft version of what your final film will look like. The Animatic does not have to have everything fleshed out. The primary purpose for the Animatic in animation is to help you figure out the timing. It will also help you see how everything else; from the music, to style, composition, camera angles, etc, works. Creating an Animatic is also a great way to be organized when you're working with a large team that will be broken into groups to divide up the work. A copy of the Animatic is given to each group. For example, this way the animation team can handle their share of work, while the visual effects team does their portion of the work.

Whether the film is 2D or 3D, the process to get there is the same. It all starts with the Storyboards. In a 2D film, the storyboards can be digitized, so that they can be edited for animation in a graphics program. Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects are common programs used to create Animatics. Simple animation, gestures of hands or various actions, are used to get the point across. The voice acting, music, and sound effects are added allowing the Animators to figure out the proper timing for the film. Once the Animatic is viewed, many decisions concerning camera angles, dialogue, settings, and colors use could change.

In 3D Animation a scene is Blocked-In. You could also say blocking the scenes or just block the scene. The scene is modeled out in a program such as Maya or 3D Studio Max. There may be no colors added at all to the shaders. The animation can be very basic. The character rig may slide across the scene. Any visual effects or paint effects may be included. In 3D Animation, Animatics primarily help you figure out the lighting and camera setup in addition to the timing of the overall film.

The level of detail used in Animatics varies, depending upon what's in demand. Most Animatics are very basic. In 2D, it can just be the drawings with the voice over, music, and sound effects. This is the quickest way to figure out your timing because you're not animating anything. In 3D, it could be the models with the characters sliding around along to the voice over, music, and sound effects. Both methods are quick in seeing the timing. However, if there is a lot of character animation, I strongly recommend you roughly animate those characters so that you can get a better feel for the timing with their animation. It's a great way to multi-task. Some Animatics are really detailed! They come close to being completed films. It all depends upon your personal preference. Some Animatics may even be developed into promotional Trailers.

Finally, the Animatic, even more so than storyboards, can help you really see how you're telling the story. Does this scene or scenes work well for the rising action? Did we resolve the conflict well? Animatics can also help you see how well the characters are developed based upon the acting displayed in the animation. This is crucial, and it's all the more reason why you should spend a considerable amount of time fleshing out your characters' personalities, background, relationships, etc during the concept stage before animating anything.

Animatics can also make wonderful behind-the-scenes extras!


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