I have been following Milton for years.  I love his style.  It has a Disney meets Anime look to it.  Milton has recently been featured on various websites with his newest animation She Thor vs Hulk Zombie.   I posted it above.    He posted a nice commentary and breakdown of what he does.

 

I hope this gives you ideas on putting things together.

 

 

If you are creative and think outside the box you can use almost any digital tool to create your own anime.  I wanted to share with you some tutorials and workflow used by my friend Kel-Chan.  She is a one person anime making machine.    She uses MMD and has learned how to kit bash and create all types of original characters.  In this set of tutorials you will see just how she does it from animating to using MMD and kitbashing.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Here is some bonus material

 

 

If you are unfamiliar with MMD it is a Japanese software used to create all those Miku Dance videos.

You can download the free software here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.  

 

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.

Making animation is not easy.  It is a labor of love.    It takes time, energy and you have to really stick to it.  I wanted to take this time to talk about the challenges that will get in the way of you making your own anime and how you can overcome them.

The 3 basic challenges are

Money

Time

Talent

I see these as being some of the biggest challenges.  Not in that particular order.  They do go hand in hand.  Each of those 3 elements is required for every animated production.

You need money to buy time and talent.  You need talent and time to make money.    They are all connected.    Lacking any of these will be a problem in your storytelling endeavors.

For example if you are really talented at animating you still need money to live off of but if you to make money you need to take time off your project to work.  Work then wears you down and you don’t have the time to animate like you wanted.    It is a vicious circle but one that can stop.

It really hurts if you have little of all three which is where I find myself.  My drawing style is not where I would like it.  I don’t have time to make animation as I have adult bills and have a full time day job.

Attack

 

There are solutions to these challenges.  Do not let the challenges turn into excuses.  Acknowledge the challenge and attack it.  In the next articles we will attack each of those 3 major problems.