Last night on MoChat we had a brief, and somewhat distracted conversation on basic animation principles. (The second presidential debate was happening concurrently in the US.) According to our brief & informal “survey”, most of us come from backgrounds other than animation proper. There’s also confusion as to where the line between animation and motion design is drawn.

The transcript below is brief enough to skim through, but there were some links going around outside the chat I wanted to include. Angie Taylor shares her article on 12 basic rules of animation. Ryan Summers has several reading/viewing options that he recommends for character design.

Transcript

Welcome to #MoChat everyone!9:00 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

you are doing #MoChat as the same time as the debate?9:00 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Tonight we’re talking rules/principles of animation. #MoChat9:00 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Unfortunately yes. #mochat9:00 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

For those of you here, is your background in animation, design, or something else? #mochat9:01 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

went to school for computer animation #MoChat9:01 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

then went to do a masters in CS #MoChat9:02 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

3d animation, with a mandatory design core. #mochat9:02 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Technically film editing, with some focus later on in vfx/motion design. #mochat9:02 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

my background is in design. #mochat9:03 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Those of you with design backgrounds, do you wish you knew more about traditional animation techniques & principles? #mochat9:05 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

a little bit of everything #mochat9:06 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

#mochat television and film actually. Leaned towards post at the end of my college days. Editing to motion graphics9:07 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

And those with animation backgrounds, do you find that knowledge useful as a motion designer? #mochat9:08 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

I originally went to school for web design, but that ended up being a super boring job. #MoChat9:08 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

I definitely wish I had more animation in my skills. Both traditional/3D. Been using http://t.co/IshEKvBs to catch up. #mochat9:08 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Animation – and it’s made me more thoughtful when designing boards, esp when building them in AE #mochat9:08 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

schooled in film & tv. Edited before bastardizing keyframes #mochat9:11 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

do you stay in the animation groove at work entirely? Meaning team of animators and a team or motion designers?#mochat9:12 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

can you wear both hats simultaneously? I find I have to really space those heads apart, less the inhibit ideation. #mochat9:13 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Being a post/designer first, I don’t know a ton about animation beyond anticipation & followthrough. What are some other basics? #mochat9:13 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

I went to school for television and radio broadcasting. It didn’t touch on design, 3D or even After Effects. Only FCP and Avid. #mochat9:13 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

At Imaginary Forces, almost everyone does both. Very rarely have we brought in animator only freelance #mochat9:14 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

which seems to be more satisfying. Animation, or motion design? #mochat9:16 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

That’s actually one of the reasons I left my broadcast communication major at one school to go to a film school. #mochat9:16 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

For me? Animation hands down #mochat9:17 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Missing out on #mochat but my thoughts are with the pixel pushers!9:17 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

It seems that would be hard to answer. The lines are so blurred now. #mochat9:17 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Surely you know about easing in and out #mochat9:17 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

I didn’t want to spend that much more money. Plus, I didn’t realize how much I liked motion graphics until working. #mochat9:18 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Ok what the difference between motion design and animation? #mochat9:18 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Ha. True. #mochat9:18 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

This is often a hard one to answer. “: Ok what the difference between motion design and animation? #mochat9:19 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Gotta have both, that the core of Motion Design. It’s in the name. #mochat9:19 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

I’d say motion design is more about composition & message. Animation in and of itself is primarily character/emotion. #mochat9:20 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Of course they cross over and blur very heavily, especially over the last several years, and especially in advertising. #mochat9:21 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Ok that makes a little clearer for me #mochat9:23 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Just curious. Anyone watching the presidential debate as well? #mochat9:24 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

I can’t focus on both. This one is intense! #mochat9:24 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Yea I’m listening to it here in Antigua (Caribbean) #mochat9:25 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

When I went to school, mograph wasn’t offered as a degree. Art, animation and design were all very separate #mochat9:25 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

yep! Two windows. This is a bit of a distracted mochat, eh? #mochat9:25 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

We actually figured it would be. #mochat9:25 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

yeah it’s tough to split my attention. Sorry :/ #mochat9:25 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

I’d say there are more people who specialize in only design vs animators who also design at commercial houses #mochat9:25 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

and its all blurring quickly #mochat9:26 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

At this point, maybe “animation” is more about character animation, 2d/4d and “motion design” more about elements #mochat9:26 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

RT : yep! Two windows. This is a bit of a distracted mochat, eh? #mochat9:26 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

I’ve branched them off like that too. I picture motion design more along the lines of infographics, logo reveals, etc. #mochat9:28 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

It can become a problem when clients assume it’s all the same though. Think it’s very hard to be good at both. #mochat9:29 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

character animators, do you find it to require a radically different perspective from pure graphics. #mochat9:30 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

: I think a lot of people misunderstand motion design. Most people think it’s a flying logo or bouncing spheres” #mochat9:30 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

do you find that often? #mochat9:31 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Jumping in late, sorry…Design major. tho I’m all over the place from 3d to more traditional anim – really project dependent #mochat9:31 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Yeah. “You do 3D graphics? Can you make something like Pixar?”#mochat9:32 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

#mochat motion graphics are not motion design. Design is very hard to master.9:32 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

O.o how do you politely explain the difference? #mochat9:32 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Yeah and can be two very different budgets also. #mochat9:33 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

That high caliber character animation often requires different people for design, rigging, lighting, camera, etc. #mochat9:34 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Once budgets are explained, they usually back off that approach. #mochat9:34 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

gotcha! #mochat9:37 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

But aren’t they indies who can offer you all of that, or its difficult to accomplish all of that as a Indie #mochat9:38 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

If you are a dedicated 3D animator, you can do it all. And you can go a long way. But working in teams is where it’s at #mochat9:40 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Of course, I think it’s like that for any film-based art. #mochat9:41 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

… cause rigging = >.< #mochat9:42 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Gotcha, totally agree with you! #mochat9:42 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

What time does Mo Chat end, got some stuff to take care of? #mochat9:43 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Awesome work dude, checked some of the stuff on your website! #mochat9:44 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Usually runs until 10PM EDT. But people often come & go through the hour. Or stick around later. #mochat9:44 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

7pm #mochat9:44 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

hi all better late than never.. I’ll go back a re-read this.. 8) #mochat9:46 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Re-watching classic animation and frame-by-framing always helps me refresh my understanding #rulesofanimation #mochat9:47 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Moving on, how do you all differentiate from George Bush in your mographing? #mochat9:47 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Ok here’s another sticky one, C4D, Maya or Blender? #mochat9:48 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Do you have some good recommendations for people to study from? #mochat9:48 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

C4D. #mochat9:48 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

C4D #mochat9:49 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

RT : Moving on, how do you all differentiate from George Bush in your mographing? #mochat9:49 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

C4D too. Actually, I’ve never tried those other options. #mochat9:51 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

I really enjoy Chuck Jones era WB, tons of ref available on YouTube. Also, keep an eye on CartoonBrew for newer shorts #mochat9:54 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

It’s been a slow but good #MoChat tonight. Does anyone have any final tips or resources to share?9:59 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

absolutely, draw and animate. I love trying my hand at small anim sequences that I’ve framed thru. #mochat10:00 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

C4D and Lightwave #mochat10:03 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

sent this link: ok http://t.co/zrE2zx5P Not sure if it made it? #mochat10:04 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Anyone know of any VFX or Motion Graphics event at Orlando or Tampa between Oct29th and Nov5th this year? Please RT / #postchat #mochat10:05 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

And that should do it for tonight. Watch for the transcript tomorrow. Have a good night and as always, #GoMakeSomething. #mochat10:08 PM EDT Oct 16th, 2012

Also, just started this: http://t.co/Uo6PXFNr by and it seems like it’ll be great, especially for the basics #mochat10:09 PM Oct 16th, 2012