An expensive option and I guess a sketch book with some fancy pens/pencils would still do the job. But an iPad with Procreate is the first thing I use when it comes to animation. It’s great for scribbling down my nonsensical ideas and the amount of brushes you can download for it, make it super accessible. Procreate now has a fairly good frame by frame animation preset which helps to roughly plan any motion aspects of the sketch. I’ve also got Youtube and Netflix installed on the iPad, for inspiration purposes and cartoons. It also makes you look super professional and cool when you whip it out in your favourite hip coffee shop, ordering your almond milk flat white.
This handy online tool, is the next port of call and I’m guessing this makes it into most animator’s top 5 lists. Its incredibly easy to create storyboards for yourself or for any client. Lots of really cool features like being able to convert storyboards into animatics as well as an integrated royalty free stock image library for the times when you struggle to draw something. Like a horse, horses are hard to draw!
Another cliché choice, but if your not working to some background music, then you’re just sitting there in silence listening to the sound of your keyboard taps, mouse clicks and your own your breathing. Stick some banging songs on to help get you motivated, whatever makes you happy. Sing along and out loud too, even in a studio environment, nobody will mind… everybody likes Abba right?
Now we’re getting in to the nitty-gritty aspects of animation. Plug-ins are essential for any animator, to help speed up work flow, discover animation techniques and generally making animation life easier. Some can be free, others can be bought from websites like Aescripts or from independent developers. Understandably not everyone can afford to drop £’s on several plug-ins, so try and do some research first. Find out what works best for you and your animating needs. Overlord is super handy if your using Adobe Illustrator with After Effects. Duik and Joystick N Sliders for character animations are my go to at the moment.
This is a recent discovery, I think I was really slow to this one, but this has helped make any of my little animations more fun. Soundly is a sound effect platform which helps you find the perfect sound to use in your animation. It works in conjunction with Adobe Audition to help mix and edit the sounds into your videos. There might be a better way to do this, but this is working for me at the moment.
I’m always constantly trying to learn new tricks and skills, anything to do with animation. Youtube has a lot of awesome tutorials by a lot of great motion designers and animators. Motion Design School and School of Motion also have some amazing courses too. I’ve also signed up to a couple of Patreon pages from some animators I admire. They dish out some useful tips too!
Thanks for taking the time to read all this waffle.