2D animation is a form of animation that uses a two-dimensional image. It is more common in anime and video games, but it can be found in other types of media as well. The characters and environment are drawn or painted by hand on paper, and then the drawings are brought to life through stop-motion animation. This type of animation is unique because the animators have to draw each frame by hand instead of using computer software to do it for them. This makes 2D animation much more time consuming than 3D animation because it takes longer to create each individual frame. However, this also means that the animators have more control over each individual frame which can make 2D animations look much smoother than 3D animations with a lower framerate.
Table of Content:
#1 Everything starts with a shape
The first thing that must occur is a mental shift in how you perceive an object. Using Totoro as an example, we can see how the body begins with a sphere. After that, the shape can be transformed, elongated, and shaped. His eyes are also tiny spheres, and his hands are simply bent blocks. It all starts with basic shapes that are modified and combined.
- TIP : Begin with the basic shapes in the Primitives list, then use gizmo to adjust the size and position. Simply hold Shift and drag the cube on the gizmo to change the shape on one axis. That was the foundation for Totoro’s body.
You have made your first character shape. It needed a lot more work, but it was a good start. Beginnings are never perfect, so be gentle with yourself; you’re just getting started.
#2 Designing in 3D is easier than you thought
We live in a three-dimensional world. It is natural to move, interact, and observe. With that space comes a sense of liberation. Assume you want to convey the same sense of freedom and reality to objects in a virtual 3D scene. There are no difficulties such as calculating the correct object perspective or working in layers as you would on paper.
With 3D design, you can interact with the object by rotating it, zooming in or out, and moving (panning) it in the same way you would in real life. All you need to do is learn about the fundamental control points.
- TIP : Zoom in on the object by using the mouse scroll wheel. Rotate the scene by left-clicking on it. Pan by right-clicking. You can change the viewing angle by pressing the Tab key.
#3 Draft your ideas to create a blueprint
Vectary is an excellent tool for brainstorming, playing, and developing ideas while creating. If you already have an idea in mind, you can easily import a 2D graphic or a photo of a sketch and use it as a blueprint or guide in the background.
- TIP : To import into Vectary, just drag and drop the image into the scene.
#4. Details make all the difference
The details are what distinguishes a good design from a great one. Most beginners may not be able to identify all of them at first, but experts can tell the difference. Here are some pointers on how to handle some important details that can take your design to the next level:
Make use of photorealistic materials such as metal, glass, wood, or gleaming plastic. They instantly add realism and dimension to your 3D character. It can be just the metal frame of the glasses, refraction on the sweat drop or tear made with a glass material.
Subsurface scattering is added to the skin to simulate how light behaves in real life. Skin absorbs light while not completely blocking it. By including this setting in the Material properties, you can make your character’s skin look more realistic, even if it’s just a green cucumber with eyes.
- TIP : The importance of details extends to the quality of a 3D model. If you don’t feel skilled enough to create a detailed 3D model, use free 3D assets to finish your character. There are numerous assets that can be easily imported.
#5 Don’t be afraid to edit 3D geometry
Some shapes will require a certain amount of complex editing during the design process. To make a character’s mouth, for example, you would edit the basic shape to add an opening. Right-clicking the object in Edit mode allows you to do this. You will now see a mesh of the 3D shape made up of faces, lines, and points. Each of them can be tailored to your specific requirements.
- TIP : Select ‘faces’ and use the Extrude tool to push inside the object to make a mouth. The end result may appear a little rough at first. When you exit Edit mode, smooth the shape by adding a Subdivide:
#6 Play with lights, shadows and backgrounds
Adding lights and shadows is my favourite part of the creative process. It ties everything together and makes the character seem more real. It’s exciting to see the final results. The next thing you know, you’re hooked on 3D and planning your next design.
- TIP : Apply a Shadow plane or a Backdrop to your object to make it cast a shadow.
- TIP : There are more ways to light a scene in Vectary. One option is to use the library’s Environments and adjust the rotation as needed:
- TIP : Individual light objects are the most intriguing. You can move them around the scene by dragging and dropping them from the Light objects menu. Personally, I prefer a Directional light that simulates daylight and a sphere or rectangular light with a colour tint. It makes a nice gradient on the surface of your 3D character:
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