Monday, September 17, 2007


Hey guys,

I've got some fantastic news! Last night I finally learned how to use a traditional x-sheet for things other than dialogue! Lol, I felt like an idiot for not understanding how they worked. I'm glad I had the urge to open my Survival Kit and reread the section on x-sheets. Now I know how 2d animators figured out how to get the secondary actions to sync up with the main actions on a frame by frame basis. I was really worried about how much time I'd spend figuring out where my character's sword would be on what pose of his walk. Using an x-sheet made that MUCH simpler. In fact, all I have to do now it just draw, rather than trying to figure out how to coordinate everything while animating at the same time.

X-sheets have really sped up my workflow. Today I animated 62 frames in four and a half hours! Thats an unheard of amount of footage for me in 2d. I've also discovered that my workflow has changed since the last time I worked in 2d. I seem to work in a more straight ahead fashion instead of strictly pose to pose. I used to do this because I was still learning the principles of animation and pose to pose helped me make things easier. Now I know how the body moves/reacts and am able to work more straight ahead, focusing on the performance as if I were the character on the paper.

I wanted to post today's pencil test but I discovered only part of the file exported. I ended up duplicating some of my frames in Flipbook and for some reason, the program didn't take updated time line into account when it exported the video. I'll try to fix it tomorrow and post the video then.


Marcus said...

"how 2d animators figured out how to get the secondary actions to sync up with the main actions on a frame by frame basis."

Hey Jocelyn,

What do you mean by this? I re-read the part about x-sheets in the animator's survival kit and don't see anything about secondary actions.

Are you referring to the left side of the page, where they describe the action in words and indicate rough timing with arrows?


Jocelyn Cofer said...

Yeah, thats exactly what I'm talking about. It looks like you write down all of the acting in the action box so all you have to do at the disc is animate.

For example, the character is walking to a board, sees some chalk, picks it up and write with it. There's a part where it says "step 3 (or w/e number they were on)" and a few frames later it says "see's chalk". That way you know on that frame he starts to look at the chalk, rather than trying to figure that out while animating.

The same thing applies if your character is delivering lines. You can write down where you want his secondary actions to be (playing with a pen, fidgeting, glancing around, brushing off some lint etc.)and just draw them in when you get to those frames. That way you know for example while he's doing one thing, he starts doing a secondary thing on frame such and such.

Does that help?

Marcus said...

Yep. Thanks for the explanation.

I'm glad you mentioned x-sheets because I had completely forgotten them... they aren't really mentioned too much in 3d animation tutorials, or even schools like AM (I did the first 2 terms).

Reading that section was interesting because it seems like 2d animation is backwards of 3d animation.

What I mean is, in 3d animation I've always been taught to make key poses and breakdowns on sequential frames (f1,2,3,4,etc.) and focus only on the posing. Then once all the posing is done, to focus on the timing by moving the keys around and playblasting.

On the other hand, in 2d animation you time everything out on the x-sheet and then draw out all your poses.

This is also interesting to me because I recently starting experimenting with 2d animation (using PAP), but I was using the 3d animation workflow I described above.

I may have to try using an x-sheet and see how I like it...