so far i’ve talked about the stage and “drawing” area of this software package, as well as the stylus…but animation is a time based medium, how do you plan for things in advance? well that’s where the TIMELINE comes in!
the timeline is ever elusive. in most computer programs people, myself included, will act like they’re planning things out then just shift things around a billion times to eventually make it work. the beauty of this program’s timeline is it really makes you think about the timing of your animation before you even get too deep into your keys.
seeing as how you can actually make notes along the length of the column, you can plan things out and make arcs which you can reference later when you’re adding the drawings that fall in between your keyed out drawings.
here is what i animated based on column/character B of this x-sheet:
this is a short clip [mostly because the project isn't getting done anymore] but i tried to stick to my pre-planning with it. from the key at fr. 61 to the key at fr. 89 which i just did this afternoon for kicks [the rest was done months ago], i didn’t chart things as thoroughly and i feel like they’re not as tight, though i did stick to the sheet for the placement of keys. also i noticed coming back from long periods of not animating, i try and draw crazy breakdowns, and apparently ignore tracking things like collars…
this was my second official time using x-sheets and charts for a project. my first was for a project i animated with the pink panther, but i wasn’t as thorough and did my inbetweens and breakdowns in a computer machine. this was always a sort of mysterious thing to me, which we touched on in college but i wasn’t able to wrap my head around yet.
page 290 in the illusion of life tipped me off about using arcs on the notes portion of the sheet to mark down a visual representation of “eases” and antics. i’d really like to do a bit more work with sheets to be able to get a grip on the process, but for me, being a scatterbrain, the x-sheet really helped tie down my drawings and give me a broader frame of reference. it seems like more work, but in reality it helped me plow through things, because when i was at the animation stage i didn’t have to think anymore…i did that all ready!
in the long run i’m happier with this timeline over those of many other programs i’ve tried. it really makes me think about things and get a feel for what’s happening in advance, instead of just shifting bits around. it’s refreshing and i can put a lot more into the action that i can on a machine. not to mention the control i have over the actual drawing elements!
i’m posting this months after i’d made these charts, and they’re rather scribbly at best, but if you’d like me to go into more detail about charts themselves and what i’ve learned by forcing myself to use them, let me know!