Learn to Animate

Setting up your Workspace

In traditional animation, you need a camera, animation stand (sometimes called a copy stand) or tripod and good lighting.

The Camera

The cameras we are using are Nikon's D3300 model. For high quality animation it is important to have fully manual cameras that perform well in low light.

This assumes that both the memory card and battery are inside the camera.
  1. Toggle the dial into the on position
  2. Press the button on the lens and twist to open the lens
  3. Remove the lens cap
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Manual dial setting image is missing In order to maintain consistent settings, it is far better to set the important camera settings yourself. The automatic features on digital cameras are not consistent enough for animation purposes.

  1. Shooting mode: Manual - set to (M) in the top dial (This allows us to have more control over the image and lets us keep our settings consistent)
  2. Focus mode: Manual (MF) in the top dial (The camera's focus is not always accurate nor consistent so when animating we always want to set the focus ourselves)
    1. If this needs to be changed, press "i" (bottom left on the back of the camera) and use the arrows and "ok" button to make changes once in the info menu
    2. To actually change the camera's focus, use the focus ring at the end of the lens
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ISO image is missing ISO - simulates the film speed setting used in film cameras. This has an impact on the quality of the photograph in low lighting.

  1. Set to 400 (recommended setting) or 800 by pressing "i" (bottom left on the back of the camera) - use the arrows and "ok" button to make changes once in the info menu
    1. Lower numbers are higher quality but not always helpful in low light
    2. Higher numbers are better for low light but more grainy/noisy
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fstop image is missing Apertures, also called f-stops, control how much light enters the camera and also the depth of field (how much is in focus at a time):

  1. Adjust to 3.8 (recommended setting) by holding down on the +/- button (on the top) as you move the control dial (top right on back of camera)
    1. Lower numbers allow more light and have a smaller range of focus
    2. Higher numbers let in less light and have a larger range of focus
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Shutter speed represents how quickly the photo is taken:
  1. Adjust to 125 (recommended setting) by using the control dial (top right on back of camera)
    1. High numbers are faster which allows less light into the camera
    2. Low numbers are slower which allows more light into the camera (motion blurs under a shutter speed of 125)
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Make sure to keep the camera off after you've adjusted the settings unless you are ready to shoot - this will save battery:
  1. Toggle the dial into the off position (unlike the image below)
  2. Press the button on the lens and twist to close the lens
  3. Replace the lens cap
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The Animation Stand

The animation stand (also called a copy stand) allows you to keep the camera in position above your animation.

The camera gets screwed into the arm of the animation stand facing downward:
  1. Push the knob through the back of the camera rest
  2. Line up the camera so that the metal hole on the bottom lines up with the knob
  3. Rotate the knob to lock the camera securely in place
This picture should show mounting the camera part 1 This picture should show mounting the camera part 2This picture should show mounting the camera part 3
This picture should show changing the height of the animation stand The height of the camera can be adjusted:
  1. Loosen the knob at the back of the stand
  2. Adjust the vertical position
  3. Tighten the knob
This picture should show changing the depth of the animation stand The camera's depth can be adjusted:
  1. Loosen the knob at the side of the arm
  2. Push/pull the arm to adjust the position
  3. Tighten the knob
This picture should show registration Take advantage of the grid to help you line up your drawings/other materials consistently from session to session:
  1. Keep track of the vertical position (how many squares from the top or bottom)
  2. Keep track of the horizontal position (how many squares from the left or right)

Lighting

This should display the lamp setup

There are 3 potential light sources for your animations:

  • The ceiling lights
  • The lamps set up by each animation stand
  • Lightboxes (for when backlighting is needed)

Whatever your source(s), make sure to keep the lighting consistent from animation session to session.

  1. The lamps should always be kept in the same position - please do not try to adjust the angle or press up/down on the lamps
  2. The lamps do rotate freely at base - if you notice a lamp has been moved out of position, make sure to gently rotate the lamp back into position
  3. The lamps can be turned on by twisting the small knob at the top of the shade
  4. Image of Lamp base is missing Image of Lamp button is missing