Now we want to make an animation. As mentioned above, the point is to create several key images in an image layer.

By applying some of the 12 principles of animation developed by Disney Animation Studios, the best approach is to combine a series of pose-to-pose, well timed and planned drawings that demonstrate the action clearly – also known as Keys, with straight aheads for the inbetweens after extreme and breakdown drawings are established using the key drawings for reference.

Key Frames

This would for example be (if you imagine a swinging ball on a string), the right most, middle and left most frames of the ball moving. The trick is then working out how fast you want it to move, and how you want your ball to change speed.

Thinking about this will help you to understand what you do and don’t need as an animator; when you (or if you already do) more complicated animations, you will want to be very conservative about drawing only the frames you really need, as you will often have deadlines and be working with hundreds of frames.

Frames per second?

Generally, filmed sequences for animation is timed at 24 frames per second (fps). But for NTSC (National Television Standard Committee) its at 29.97 fps, and for PAL (Phased Alternating Lines) it is 25 fps. There is also SECAM but that is a format that is very uncommonly used. If you want to use those specific frame rates check which fps standard is used in your country on the net. Keep in mind these are rates which would match television and dvd standards, usually 24 fps will do just fine as a rather standard rate for animation.

Frames per second is dictated by the target medium; film, TV or digital. This doesn’t mean you have to draw every frame though. You can do what is commonly known as “drawing on twos” which means you draw every other frame. You can even do threes or fours etc., depending on your style. You can mix and match ones and twos and threes as you wish within a shot. As a general rule, faster motion requires more drawings, often done on ones. Slower motion requires less.

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