I love Cinema 4d and M Dot Strange.  He is what you call an UBERECTOR.  He has created 3 full length animated films all by himself in 10 years.    That is amazing.

He can definitely give you a bunch of tips in this Filmmaking Workshop.

Yes you can make your anime in full 3d animation.  I am here to tell you it is not as hard as you think.  In fact it may be a little easier than 2d style and give you the full on animation. Remember I shared several different methods with you.  Each method can be used to quickly and creatively produce a visual story.

I personally like 3d animation because once the assets are done the creation of animation can move so much more quickly.  I will mention though that a few tricks you would use in 2d would not work as well.  For example a common trick in anime is to pan a 2d picture and hold that one frame.  In 3d you almost constantly have to be moving unless celshaded or if it is more 2d rendered in nature and even still it may look a little weird.     Another drawback is creating all those assets.  It is very difficult and takes a lot of time.

BUT….

Once you create those assets you can reuse them over and over again and in any angle and even change the entire style.  And that is where you can really take off.   A ton of lone animators work using 3d to speed up the pace but also to raise the quality level a bit that might not be achievable in 2d.   2d does have a certain warmth to it but for the visual storyteller 3d may be your best bet for speed and quality.

But then again I think this 3d rendering of Snoopy in 2d captures it really well and adds a depth I do not think possible in 2d full animation.  It feels so warm and fuzzy.

snoopy

So imagine the above if you have a 3d model.  You can easily reposition it, move it around, animate and render it in any angle and have them do anything.

3d can give you a real advantage if you do not want to draw frame by frame and do not want limited animation or the 2d tween/puppet style animation.

M Dot strange was able to in the last 10 years create 3 FULL Length animated features using 3d.

Dave was able to make this in about 18 months I believe.

Jeff Lew made this full animated feature in 3 years.

The World Gone Mad was created in 5 months.

The point is that you can make a series or a full fledged movie and it will not takeyou an eternity to do it utilizing 3d.   I would say if you use some shortcuts and tricks you would greatly speed up you work and could possibly get a good average of about 3-6 minutes of animation a month, maybe even more.   All it really takes is the models that are rigged and ready to move.   The quality really depends on you.

I made this in less than 3 hours.

I mean it is not a master piece by any means but it gives you the idea of the speed and quality that can be achieved using some shortcuts.

The question is “What if I don’t know how to 3d model?”

Well the answer is there are tons of resources out there that provide you with 3d models that you can “Kit Bash” or just find the right outfit.

Poser, Daz 3d, IClone, MMD (freeware Anime making software).

All of these can be used to make an animated series, cartoon, anime, etc.

People may laugh, especially in the CG/Special FX and 3d community for using pre-made models and a program that seems like a toy or digital Barbie doll but the tools are what you make of them. (That is another post all together)

Here is an example of Poser being used in Animation

Mac Wave Studios has some great work.

Could your movie look like that?  YES! Using pre-built props and characters.   I don’t want to make it sound so easy but basically the scene above looks like Victoria from Daz 3d, background looks like something StoneMason created which you can purchase at Daz3d.com and some Mocap files with some great rendering and lighting in Cinema 4d.

All those things are now available to you.

What? Even MOCAP.  Yes.  Mocap has gotten cheaper and easier to use.

http://ipisoft.com/ here is a link to cheap Mocap Sofware.

http://brekel.com/ here is a free Mocap Software.

IClone’s pro package has MOCAP built into it.

Both of these 2 software packages use a Kinect Camera connected to a computer. Go to Amazon.com and get one for 45-150 usd.

Or if you do not have Mocap you can do something like this.

Addressing the folks who may laugh at you for using Poser, Daz3d, IClone, or MMD please check out the animations below.

Rosa was made using what looks like Aiko 4 or 5.  Definitely Daz characters.  This animation was made in about 1 year by 1 person.

RWBY is now a very popular US made Anime series created by Monty Oum.  He uses Poser to animate with more custom characters.   He has some great making of videos and tutorials.  You can glean a lot from watching others work.

One of my favorite up and coming artists uses FREEWARE MMD to create animated shows.  Kel-Chan is featured here.  She uses “Kit Bashing” which basically is using bits and pieces from one character to the next to make original characters.

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/650267

KelChan

The point is you can do some really cool stuff using 3d and you can get alot done.  Add some imagination and creative thinking and you can create something worth watching.

 

 

 

I wanted to share this method with you.  This is for folks who cannot draw as well.   Even if you cannot draw you can possible trace.  That is where rotoscoping can be a god send for you.

Rotoscoping is basically tracing video.   Who can’t trace?

You can get really natural motions and it is a lot of fun.

You have seen rotoscoping in old school Disney films, Ralph Bakshi films and in many action old school 80s cartoons like He-Man.

Here is an idea of what you can do.

Here is how they did it.  This will give you the basic idea.  I know it is not anime but again the concept is still the same.

I think Ralph Bashki’s work has to some degree stood the test of time at least in a cult following type of way.  It has a look to it that is all his own and yet for many is still watchable. The cool thing about today is that you can do the same thing but have that crisp, digital look as well.  It can look pretty slick.

Here are a few examples.

Is it possible to do something like this?  Could you rotoscope your animation especially if you may not be as good at drawing as you’d like?  It worked for Disney plenty of times.

rotoscopesnowwhite

 

Disney used a lot of live action reference and almost copied straight from the video.

Oataking777 has made some really cool modern day looking animations using Rotoscoping.

Here is one where he recored himself dancing funky and made a funny quick animation.

In the below video he shows you a method of rotoscoping using 3d reference.

I hope some of you run with this idea.  Rotoscoping can be tiring but remember in Anime they animate on 4s, 8s and 12s.  In other words you can do some parts with only 4 frames per 2nd, 8 frames per second or 12.

So what are you waiting for?  Get your friends dressed up as your characters in cosplay style, go out and film the scenes in live action and then start tracing away.

Okay I haven’t yet started to talk about software and actual HOW-To but there is some great software out there that could really help you out.  Right now I’m not talking about that just yet but Crazy Talk Animator gave me an idea of creating animation more quickly and giving you a certain style.

Of course you can also use Smith Micro’s Anime Studio, Adobe Flash, Toon Boom and Synfig (freeware).

Crazy Talk and all the others allow for a 2d puppet like animation.  It is pretty popular on shows created for Adult Swim.  Titmouse uses it alot.  I think they use Flash for their work.

But cutout animation can work for comedy style anime.  There are so many tools including 3d packages that can do the cutout animation style.  With a little creativity you can create some cool work.   You can even include motion capture.

Here are some shows that may give you an idea of what you can do with cutout style animation.

You can use a combination of tweening and puppet style animation to get things done more quickly.

I hope to get my hands on Crazy Talk animator because it has some sweet shortcuts I could really use in combination with After Effects.    You can do a 360 of the character in 2d and apply motion capture.

If you are not a great artist you can send the template to an artist you find on Deviantart.com or Fiverr.com and have them create all the angles for you with the template.  Easy as that.

All you have to do is add a little imagination.

I noticed that cutout, skeletal rig looks be be used on the below animated video game.  It is called Broken Age.  While it is not an anime per se the concept is still the same and can be applied to any style.  Notice earlier I mentioned the cutout and tweening can be used very well on a comedy style anime but with a little imagination and a lot of story it can also tell more serious tales like Broken Age.  I personally think it is a thing of beauty.

Your anime can be funny or even a thing of beauty using this style and animation!

So far I’m trying to give you several ideas on where you can go in making your anime.  All these methods can help with Time, Money and Ability.    I hope this is helping you to think outside the box and not simply try to tackle a frame by frame animation which would be really hard especially if you are not the greatest drawer.

This can give you an option to farm out your work to someone with a better skill set than you.  I guarantee if I looked in my usual places I could find someone who can create all the parts you need for the template used by Crazy Talk.  I’m even thinking within $45 USD per character at a quality rivaling Broken Age.    The cool thing is when you have a rigged asset character you can use it over and over again.

Check out www.Deviantart.com and www.fiverr.com to find artists on a smaller budget.  You could collab but that is a whole other subject which I have a serious negative take on it but I think I may help you find collabers.   Maybe in the next couple of articles.

Okay so when you think of telling a story visually, especially in animation you may be wondering what kind of animation can I make especially if I am a single person working on a project.

I wanted to show you the different styles you can work on and actually get things done.  Here are some different types of animations you can make.  Hopefully this gives you ideas on telling your stories visually.

1.  Minimum animation.

This style is one of the easiest because it takes less drawings and less art and is yet still beautiful and fun to watch.

Here are some examples of the Minimum animation style.

D7 Peacemaker

Technical Dave

Broken Saints

Afterworld

Now I know these are not anime per se but the concept is still there.  Could you tell your story in a minimalist style?  Notice Afterworld which is about 13 hours long.  If your story is good could you tell it with minimum animation?   Could you concentrate on telling the story with great visuals doing it this way?  Could you hire an artist who can draw just a few drawings and tell a whole story?

Anime incorporates a lot of pans and slides all the time.  This is just a simpler form of that.  I use the above examples because they are entertaining and tell a very big story which otherwise might not have been possible any other way.

What kind of story could you tell this way?

PS here is a nice version of that.

Less animation but still visually stunning.  I think if you have limited time and money you could go this route and still tell an awesome story.

Money is always a challenge.

You need money to live.  To make money you need to spend time working.  To work you lose time to create.

If you are a writer and not really a visual artist you may need money to hire artists to bring your vision to life.     Money is not everything but having it is.   If you had a ton of money making anime, cartoons, series,  comics, etc would be a lot easier.

If I had 2 million dollars to spend I’d just go to the Korean outsourcers Japan uses and have them make my 13 part epic anime series.  But I don’t and chances are neither do you.

This has been a big challenge for me.  It goes hand in hand with my personal talent.  I don’t feel I have the talent to model 3d characters.  There are also tools I want that make things go by faster and there are a ton of other reasons I would like an actual budget for telling stories.

Now there are some new ways to find money.  I am talking about Crowdfunding.  The big boys out there are Kickstarter and Indiegogo.    That is an option open to anyone.  I will tell you truthfully though that it is a lot of work.  I ran my own campaign twice and failed twice.    You have to almost become a full time marketer.  That takes a lot of time and money.

So you have to ask yourself how much do you really need that money?

Coming up with a basic budget, being realistic and balanced can go a long way.   Plus we live in an age where there are more and more free tools that you can use.  Yes the technology to create your own anime is free.   For every high dollar piece of software there is a poor man’s open source free version.

Maya = Blender

Zbrush = Sculptris

Toonboom = Synfig

Below is an animated short created with Synfig and Blender.  All free software.

There are also cheaper alternatives.  I will tell you thought given budget constraints you can get a little more creative.

Also many software packages are allowing a monthly subscription.  The entire Adobe package is about 50 bucks a month.  I’m sure more people can swing that.

I also wanted to mention that if you have a little budget aside you can find artists for cheaper prices.  I have found great modelers on sites like Fiverr.com and Deviantart.com for pennies on the dollar.    If you can afford a Playstation, Xbox or a computer you can get a lot of artwork at that price.

Below is some artwork from a great artist I found on Deviantart.com.  I am not going to tell you the price but it was a really good deal.  It was affordable on my paycheck.

fiverilovekaiju

Here are some bullet points in regards to money.

*Determine your wants and needs

*Use free alternatives if you cannot afford the

 pro level tools-in many cases the free versions are just as good.  

*Be more thrifty- can you make your coffee at home for 10 cents on the cup vs $5

 for that latte mocha.  

*Find little quick ways to earn money to sink into your project.  

I’m selling my comic books and figurines I have collected over the years.  

*Try crowdfunding, it worked for me…errr….well it has worked for a lot of other people.

*Outsource if you must. 

There are plenty of starving artists out there who just need a little pizza money or

 even a few followers who you can convince to believe in you. 

*DIY- Do it yourself. If you cannot afford something do it yourself.  You can work for free.  

 

Some of you may not have to deal much with this but I know I do and that is the lack of artistic talent.  Animation in general is a visual media.  We may have a great story and have all these ideas in our head but getting them out there for people to see can be a challenge if you do not have the talent to draw.

Some will tell you that you can get there.    Usually these are people with talent themselves.  Point is you probably can with much practice and determination.  But it is in my opinion that natural talent is also required.    I have been drawing everyday since I was 3.  I have gotten better and I do draw better than the average person but I am no where near what I want to be and no where near what I want to show people.

My Work-Bleh

Behold my work above.  That is the extent of my drawing talent.  I think I can do a little better with more practice but honestly that is not what I want to see in MY series.  I’m sure I could make something watchable in my style but I’d rather go a different route.

You see this whole website or book depending on what you are reading is designed to address that TALENT part in full.   In fact it should be titled “How to Make your Own Animation even if you suck at art and nobody will help you because I don’t have the money to hire them but have this great idea for an Anime

That would be the synopsis.   Well despite some of your limitations or perceived limitations I think we can work through this together.

How?

A combination of things will make it possible.

*Save a little money and hire some artists. (I’ll show you where to find them)

*Collaboration (works great in connection with voice actors, musicians but visual artists are going to be a tough sale)

*Using tools to the fullest (don’t be afraid to use things or think you are too good to use certain tools)

*Stylize (make a unique style out of it)

*Rely on the STORY! (Story is king)

*Just do it with what you got

I want to share something with you if you feel that you do not have the talent to draw.   I personally was depressed at my own ability until I saw this.

Best comic ever

Truth be told I draw better than this guy.  It looks like the stuff I draw in my quick storyboards but I will tell you now that this is one of my favorite Mangas EVER!  What it lacked in beauty if made up for in character, charm and story.  I cannot stop reading this story.  Before I knew it I was hooked.  At one point this artist of the series One-Punch Man was getting 20,000 views a day.  It became a viral hit and was very popular.    Soon I didn’t care about the art and that it wasn’t perfect.  I was still looking at a wonderfully entertaining story. Since then the art has been beefed up but quite honestly it lacks the charm of the original.

onepunchman

The point is your art does not need to be Disney, Pixar or Miyazaki level.  Your story however should be.

 

I don’t have time.  Time is a precious commodity that is not always in great supply.   It takes Pixar 4 years from start to finish to make 1 animated feature film.  That is with 100s of people working on the project.   That is a daunting task.

Needless to say that is a great big hurdle.

But one that we can face and leap through with a little time management.

Girl who le pt through time.

 

The trick to overcoming the challenge of time in your animation process is conserving your time and not wasting it.  We all have the same amount of time, rich or poor.  Although money does buy time.  But there are other things that buy your time.

One day a few of my friends and I decided to calculate the amount of time we spent on certain non essential activities, IE watching TV, Video games, sports, browsing, etc.   We calculated 40+ hours almost on a given week doing all these things that quickly added up.

Here is a little research I found online.

In the US

5 hours per day watching TV

3 hours a day online

5-7 on video games

That is 140 hours a month, 1680 a year.   

1680×4 years = 9 full months of your life.  

Creating or consuming?  It is up to you.

Kind of gives you a reality check don’t it?  I find myself in this predicament all the time but if you want to make your anime you will have to spend that time creating.

 

 

 

Blender is a great tool if you are on a budget.    Why?  It is free and does everything that an expensive 3d program can do.  Blender has been used by tons of people to make shorts and movies.  Blender is not my cup of tea but for many artists they can make wonderful things.

Here is a tutorial by artist Brandon White who has created his own Anime style series.

 

Here are some of his episodes

One of the best ways to learn is to check out the behind the scenes to watch over an artist’s shoulder.

Okay remember when I talked about challenges.  Apply this same concept Karen Cheng talks about her to making your anime.

 

And here is how her progress went.

Maybe you can post your progress on making your own anime on her site.

https://giveit100.com/

Here is how she dances now!

Think outside the box.