Animation Theory


What goes into creating animation? What Jobs are there? Who does what? This assignment will let you find the answers to these questions, and more!


Check out the relevant web sites, answer these questions, (4 Sections) and hand in.
WHO DOES WHAT (See below for descriptions)
1. Who plans individual scenes, while keeping a consistent style?
2. Who issues scenes to the animator?
3. Who handles the animation once the animator has finished working on it?
4. Where are most of the gags created?
5. Who prepares work for the breakdown and in-between artists?
6. Who determines the relationship between characters and their environment?
7. Who has to have an eye for interesting lighting and composition?
8. Who takes care of soundtrack synchronization?
9. What do you call simple sketches that set the flow of the picture?
10. Who designs the Character details?
11. Who prepares scenes for the Assistant Animator?
12. Who fills in the drawings the animator does not have time to do?
13. Who closes colour areas in preparation for the paint department?
14. Who makes sure the character look consistent throughout the film?
15. Who supervises live reference shots?
16. Who must be able to work in a variety of line styles?
17. Who ensures consistent quality acting?
18. What is the entry level position in animation?
19. What do exposure sheets keep track of?

1. What is a Storyboard
2. When would you use arrows in Storyboards
3. What is the difference between a ‘low angle’ and an ‘up’ shot??
4. What is a Long Shot?
5. What is the difference between an ‘over the shoulder’ and ‘subjective’ shot?

1. What is Anticipation
2. Why do we want to use Anticipation?
3. How can we use Anticipation to surprise the audience

1. Why do we use Arcs in Animation
2. How do Arcs help change what movement looks like?
3. How could you show a very fast movement in an arc?

1. Give three reasons we ‘draw on twos’?
2. When might you want to draw on ones?


Detailed sentences or good point form, your own words


Find out some details about your favorite animator. Write a short paragraph about them, explaining what medium they work in, how they got started, and why you like them.

Who Does What

Definitions written by Teresa Martin a current Disney Animator


DIRECTOR: Responsible for supervising all the work that ends up in the picture. This not only includes working with voice talent (actors), writers, composers, layout artists, animators, cleanup staff, ink and paint staff, musicians, but also supervises any live reference shots for the film. They issue scenes to the animator and approve ruff pencil tests when the animation is complete.
STORYBOARD ARTIST: Makes simple sketches that help set the pictorial context and flow of the picture. Takes liberties with preliminary scripts and makes suggestions for changes that will improve the entertainment value of the picture and make it read graphically (pictorially). Most funny stuff (gags), as well as most dramatic stuff (staging), starts here.
LAYOUT ARTIST: Takes the storyboard and translates with an eye toward enhancing the dramatics of a scene with interesting lighting and composition. Sets the basic size relationship between characters and their environment which includes backgrounds and props. Also responsible for calculating size of field (area seen by the camera) and any changes of field within the scene, and pans. Once the rough animation is completed, this department will prepare the rough backgrounds for the background painters.
EDITORIAL: This department is responsible for indicating the start and end frames of a scene on the exposure sheets before a scene starts it journey through the production pipeline. Editorial is also responsible for reading the dialog tracks onto the exposure sheets in addition to any musical tracks. The Editorial staff is charged with cutting completed scenes into the film and accounting for any subsequent changes in scene length so the soundtrack synchronization remains true despite them.


LEAD ANIMATOR: Senior animator in charge as assigned by the directors. Responsible for designing his character in a style comparable with that established for the film by the directors and the art director. He can have some input into layout and story especially concerning how to best stage an action and may make suggestions that might improve how his character is portrayed. His main considerations are maintaining consistent quality in both acting and execution of the work produced by his unit, training of less experienced animators, and assisting work that is in keeping with an animator¹s skill level.
ANIMATOR: Responsible for the planning and timing of the scenes assigned to him. His animation manner that is consistent in style and characterization elsewhere in the picture, and is compatible to that done by the supervising animator, and should work appropriately within the story context. His style of animation needs to work consistently with the style of the film. His work must work with the background. His work should also be clearly drawn so it doesn¹t confuse the departments who handle it next as to his intent.
RUFF INBETWEENER: Assists the animator by filling in the drawings the animator doesn¹t have time to do. Places drawings according to the charts made by the animator.


CLEAN-UP ARTISTS: The titles for these artists are changing and they will soon be called final animators. This is the main department that handles the animation once the animator has finished working on it. The artists in this department need good constructional drawing skills and sufficient animation skills to maintain the integrity of the animation as originally done by the animator while closing color areas in preparation for the paint department. It is not their responsibility to completely overhaul the animation in a scene, or to add elements the animator forgot. Good clean-up can make your scene look really good, or really ruin it, so make it easy for them to follow it. It pays to thoroughly prepare your scenes.
LEAD KEY ASSISTANT: Senior artists in charge of making sure the character look consistent throughout the film. Usually in charge of one character in a picture. Corrects for the drawing idiosycrasy of various animators while maintaining the integrity of the animation. Must be able to work in a variety of line styles as required on the films to which he may be assigned. Works closely with the lead animator and the directors in designing the charters. Oversees work of clean-up staff working under him. Prepares and distributes work to the Key Assistants.
KEY ASSISTANT: Picks up scenes from the lead key assistant and prepares it for the Assistant Animator. Makes remaining key extreme drawings over the animator¹s rough sketches in a manner consistent with the established character model and line quality. Should have sufficient animation skills to follow a mass, in order to carry through model changes established by the lead key, but with basic placement, timing and acting that is established by the animator.
ASSISTANT ANIMATOR: Finishes putting the animator¹s extremes on model while maintaining a finished look consistent with the work completed by the artists that proceeded him while maintaining the integrity of the animation. May do breakdown drawing depending on the difficulty. Prepares work for the breakdown and in-between artists.
BREAKDOWN ARTIST: Follows the animator¹s charts and spacing, one of two types of follow-up artists that finish off the animation. The breakdown artists are skilled enough to track a mass for a limited distance while maintaining both consistencies in construction and line quality.
INBETWEENER: Responsible for making the final drawings to smooth out the action as indicated by the animator¹s charts. This is the entry level position in animation. Generally, these artists are not experienced enough to do a span of more than two drawings. While there are some career inbetweeners, most are new and just learning to track masses and the necessary line quality before becoming an assistant animator or key assistant.
Hopefully these tips will help you understand more about the process of animation and spark your interest in the field of ³The Fine Art of Animation².

There is – fortunately for all of us – little to say on the subject of arcs. Like all important things, they are very simple. Here’s the run-down: Almost no living creature can move in a straight line. Consequently, none of your animated characters should move in a straigh line either. Now, this poses little problem for the animator. The sketches are each all so different and distinct that it is quite simple to avoid making three consecutive drawings where the action progresses in a straight line. As the instructor (John) at Sheridan College says: “Over time, arcs become second nature and are done automatically – half the time I don’t even realize I’ve done them.” For those of us who haven’t had time to become experts, all there is to remember is that it is the lead animator’s job to ensure that the movement is arced (sp?) and smooth.


Once the animator is finished, the work is passed on to the inbetweeners, It would make sense to simply create an inbetween that is, well, um, in between the two keys. This is probably what you did with the bouncing ball in your flip-book. However, the ball was not alive. When dealing with a living character, the inbetweener must look not only at the two keys which she is inbetweening, but at all of them, and then make the inbetweens match the flow of the action. The arcs are all there – they were drawn by the animator – but if the inbetweens do not follow the arcs, it will not make much difference. Think of it this way: When you make line graphs, you have bunch of points on a page, you can “connect the dots” like a computer, or you could find the “curve of best fit”, namely, the curve that went through all the points and still looked good. The smooth curve was there, represented by the dots; all you had to do was “bring it out” by drawing a smooth curve (arc). Well, if each key is a point, your job as an inbetweener (or assistant animator, etc) is to not only figure out the curve of best fit (for each and every part of the drawing!) This is tough!