Blog Category: Animation

Best Free Animation Software

Best free animation software for download

So you are interested in studio animation but can’t afford the software? Yeah me too. Luckily we are in “the era of the nerd”. Fellow geeks have created studio quality free animation software we can download and use for our projects. Because dang, industry standard animation software suites are damn expensive. So I have hand curated a list of software solutions that I believe are currently the best free animation software. I mean really, how do they expect to train more professionals if we can’t afford the software? Buying spaghetti, a.k.a. “fancy top ramen” is a stretch for some college students let alone a five hundred dollar piece of software. I mean really, who can afford these animation programs? Rich people?
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KennyRoy.com Review | Animation Resources

KennyRoy.com Review | Animation Resources

I am not going to lie, and just come out and say it, I am sort of a Kenny Roy fan boy. I really enjoy kennyroy.com. I believe that anyone who is starting out in animation should subscribe to his site. It is wonderful for people who are deciding if they want to pursue animation, students, and young professionals. Here are the reason why I think everyone should join Kenny Roy at his site. Now, this is a review of the site KennyRoy.com, not the person. I don’t know him personally but every interaction I have had with him, he seems very wonderful and friendly. So keep that in mind when reading this post. I will provide five reasons why you should join KennyRoy.com and a few minor cons.

Pro’s to KennyRoy.com

1. Kenny Roy provides fresh exciting lectures.

I know that I said this isn’t about Kenny Roy the person but in some ways it is… now I have probably lost you… Kenny Roy creates the content for the site, and his content is AMAZING. His lectures are always fresh, and you can tell he has thought about the subject intensely before placing it on a webcast. His lectures and posts are always relevant because he actually listens to his user base. Often lectures are based around experiences he is having in his studio, student work he sees, or questions he often hears. How can you not respect and like that?

2. Kenny Roy does weekly Video Questions.

Again, going along the lines of fresh content, Mr. Roy answers posted questions once a week in a online 20 minute miniature lecture. So not only do you get one main lecture a month, you get four mini-lectures. Honestly at first I didn’t these were real questions, I thought he made them up… One day I worked up the courage to ask a question. Next week, yeah I got a personal 20 minute lecture from a professional animator. This helped me a ton when going through Animation Mentor. Yes, other animation learning institutions will help provide feedback but this was an actual lecture, geared towards me. Now this doesn’t happen with every question, but it will when it matters most.

3. KennyRoy.com gives you the “AnimGym”.

Here is Mr. Roy’s explanation of the “AnimGym”.

Each month, I will post an assignment in the Kennyroy.com Forums. Create your animated test and upload your progress to the animgym dropbox at the end of the month. Give comments on others’ work, and receive some notes on your own from animators here. When the month is over, I will schedule a LIVE WEBCAST during which I will give a critique to ALL of the Kennyroy.com members. Non-members can still participate in the AnimGym, you will just not receive a critique.

So basically, you can get reviewed every month by a professional animator and it is already included in your costs, this is insane. I don’t know how he has the energy do to all of these things, plus run a studio. Kenny Roy has more energy up than a cheetah on Redbull. But seriously, as a student who finished an animation program, I know the value of getting professional feedback. It is nice to know there is a place that will help continue to refine your skills without costing a small fortune.

4. Kenny Roy, the man, cares about animation.

I know I said that this isn’t about the person Kenny Roy, but it is hard to keep him out of the spot light. Following Mr. Roy, you can tell he actually cares about students and the industry. This is quite refreshing since the craft is hard and it is a tough industry to get your foot in the door.

5. The Community

Kenny Roy is trying to foster an animation community on his web site. It is always great to get feedback from other animators on your tests. Feedback is everything, so use it and get it!
The Cons of KennyRoy.com

1. The User Interface

As a web developer, I would like to see an updated user interface. But, I cannot say much since I have not updated my site’s design in a while and my own personal site needs a more help than KennyRoy.com

2. The additional cost for past lectures

I understand the costs but as a cheap internet user I would like to see all past videos in the vault without having to purchase them. Some of the videos in the past are really good, I would like to watch them again, but honestly U don’t want to pay again. I would suggest that Kenny puts a higher price on the membership and allows access to all material. I think that people would pay a lot more than what he is charging to see everything he has, since it is all so good. But, I understand it is a business with costs and his time is worth money.

Want more animation resources?

Read my review of the best resources for learning animation or list of top ten animation books.

A wonderful web site for those looking to refine their animation skills, get monthly lectures, and review of their work.
4.5 / 5 stars

Best Animation Lectures

I love lectures about the principles of animation. Here are a few I have found are the best, some of them cost money, but are worth it. These lectures are meant for a wide range of skills, from beginners to advanced. These lectures are not meant to supplement traditional learning, but it should enhance your learning process.
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Animation Demo Reel Tips – Are Viewers Bored? Get the Real Results

animation-demo-reel-tips-engagement

Animation is all about getting reviews and feedback. If you get great feedback from mentors, peers, family, and friends you are going to make your work better and stronger. While there are many great sites, and schools, that foster creativity and feedback, all methods really lack one vital piece of information. When do people get bored and stop watching your reel? Well in this animation demo reel tip I will shed some light on these questions.
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Best Animation Books – Top 10 Books for Artists, Fans, and Students

Best Animation Books - Top 10 Books for Artists, Fans, and Students

Here is my 10 best animation books list. Like any art form, reading these books will not make you an amazing animator. However, these animation books will provide insights from the legends of animation. The beautiful illustrations made by some of the best artists in the world are inspiring to all ages. You will find that all of these books are enjoyable. These animation books will spark the imagination. They will help when you are in a technical rut. Even non-animators will find these books amazing to gaze over.

I have comprised a list of what I think are the ten most wonderful animation books. Now before you read this list I want to put it out there… I am not a professional animator. At least not yet, I am working on it. I will update this post when I am. Since I am still a young animator I can freshly reflect how important and helpful these books have been towards my education of the art-form. These are the greatest animation books on the market. I feel any person serious about animation should purchase these books. Most of my mentors and friends have all of these books on their shelves. I think you should too! In this list I have indicated a few of the best animation books for beginners. I hope you enjoy the list, now let’s get started.
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7 Best Maya Plugins for Animation Workflow

7 Best Maya Plugins for Animation Workflow

So around the internet there are tons of “best of” lists. I noticed that there are not really one for Maya Plugins. So here is a list of paid and free maya plugins. These plugins are based around the animation aspect of maya. There are tons of good ones out there for rigging and lighting.I decided to focus more on the animation aspect. These plugins should help increase productivity and workflow. I hope you enjoy my list of Best Maya Plugins. Feel free to comment and make any suggestions. I will be creating an “honorable mentions” list at the end of the post. These are tools I find helpful for my personal workflow, so some might not work for you and your techniques.
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Maya Missing Graph Editor, Outliner, or Other Torn Off Windows – Solved

Luckily for us solving the missing graph editor, or window, mystery is easy to solve. Sometimes when you are on a pc, and you are moving from two monitors back to one, changing the positioning of your monitors (for example from left to above) windows in Maya can go missing. Nothing is worse than animating a scene and not being able to find your missing graph editor!

I ran into a problem when I need to work from only one monitor (I normally work with two because I find animating easier with this set up). However, whenever I tried to open my animation graph editor I could not find it! Maya saves your window settings based upon an absolute position. Meaning if you have a position that is high and meant for two monitors Maya will assume that the second monitor still exists. I am not sure why the programmers didn’t decide to do it off of screen width and height percentages but that is a different story.

There are two ways to solve your missing graph editor and window problems. The first and easiest is to navigate to your Maya preference directory and rename it.
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Best Maya Animation Books

Here is my list of the best Maya animation books. This list is comprised of books that I found helpful to learning how to animate in Maya. Being a relatively new animator (I have been studying for three years), I can tell you these books have helped me understand Maya a lot more! If you have any suggestions, on books I should add to the list, submit them! Please note these are not the best Animation Books, that is a completely separate category. These are more technical and are not meant to teach the Principles of Animation. Anyway, here is my list of the best Maya animation books. [Read more…]

Animation Clean Up –
Tracking Arcs With Sketch it!

When doing clean-up work sometimes it is hard to track the arcs. There are a few ways that animators can track and figure out the arcs of a motion. One, use an arc tracker program and track it in Maya. Two, and easiest way, get a dry erase marker and plot points on the screen. But using a dry erase marker on your screen might leave it dirty. Also, sometimes arc trackers are more complicated than need be.
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Color Coding your Keys in Maya

I like to color code my key’s and inbetween key’s when animating in Maya. However, I do not like using Maya’s default between keys. Why? because whenever you place in a between key in maya it will move and slide around when adjusting keys around it. Below are two examples of the problem. The red ticks are keys and the green is an in-between.

Before:

Afters sliding the right key over one:

As you can see the green tick slides into an gross position. It isn’t on an actual frame. To prevent this from happening you have to do a little mel scripting magic.

Here is how you can fix the problem if you like colored in-betweens like I do.
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