2D Animation QnA by Liron Pe'er (aka LPDisney)

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By LPDisney
English in NOT my native language and so I do apologize for any mistakes I might have writing this article. Everything that is written here is based on my personal knowledge and experience. By the time I wrote this article I did not work for any large company and therefore do not know how the industry works. I came to these tricks/tips/working systems by myself and with my own experience. Therefore there is a chance that there are better ways to do the things I explain here. Please take that under your consideration.

Thank you,
Liron Pe'er (aka LPDisney).

Follow My Work:
Online Portfolio / Lady Ice Official Website / YouTube Channel / Facebook / Tumblr / LinedIn / Commission Info / Stock Images

Tips for the uprising Animator

1. The main key is to practice - practice drawing and practice/test you animation. The more practice, experience in animation and movie making, the better. You should even take drawing lessons if you can.
2. Study anatomy, it is very important. Study it to perfection, because this is the basic to a good animation. If the drawing is anatomically right, then the animation will look much better. Of course you also need to have a good timing, but I know from experience that once I learned anatomy my animations were 10 times better.
3. Learn about the process of making an animated movie. Look for tutorials on the internet, or watch "making-ofs" (I recommend Disney ones) on DVDs or YouTube. Just learn all you can about how to make an animated movie.
4. Learn the basic of animation. Read "Animator's Survival Kit" and "The illusion of Life". They are the bibles of the animator.
5. Go through Disney movies (or any other animated movie with high quality animation) frame by frame and analyze how they do it. For example - if you want to draw a jump and you want to see how it is done, you can check how Disney animated it.
6. Watch movies and try to learn from them about how the frame looks, how the editing is. Even watch bad movies to understand what NOT to do.
7. Film yourself doing all sort of actions and analyze them frame by frame as well. I also used that and it really helps. Just to see the main keys of the movement and adapt it to your character. Use VirtuaDubMob software - it's perfect for that and it's free.
8. Learn from everything around you - movies, friends, internet, teachers, nature, etc. The more you know the better. Try everything, even the craziest things. Animation as no limits and that's the beauty of it.
9. Experience every art form you can to expand your knowledge. Also, it will do you only good if you will be an expert in a few art forms, and not focus on one form or style. Knowledge is power and there's no wasted knowledge, remember that! It will help you in life, and I'm talking from experience.
10. Work on sketching and fast drawings. The best way is a pencil and paper, just like the old days. Draw fast and simple sketches, just to capture the line of action, the pose, the basic points in the drawing to make it right. I'm talking about a minute, or 30 seconds of drawing. But you should also make long sketches to learn the body to details. Don't draw in Flash (or any other Vector based software), because it automatically fixes the lines and so you won't be able to learn from your mistakes.
And above all - you must understand that animation is A LOT of HARD work! You have to be patient and willing to work really hard for those few seconds of animation. But if you put all you have in your creation I promise you that every second you spend will be worth it once you see your drawings come to life.

Great books to start with

"The Animator's Survival Kit" (now also available on DVD with filmed lessons)
"The Illusion of life"
"Animals in Motion"
"Anatomy for the artist"
The Art of (Animated films)

Special tools for animation

Well, it really depends. If you want to do a totally traditional animation on paper, you will have to get a light table and a peg bar (that usually comes with the light table, unless you're like me and built it from scratch). It's a table with glass and a lamp behind the glass. You put your paper on the glass and the light let's you see at least 5 layers together. This is how animation is done. You can read more about it on the internet. The rest is basic - paper, pencil, scanner. BUT you can do the same on the computer with programs like Flash, TVPaint and even Photoshop has animation support in it. But you'll need a Wacom tablet, which I think you should own anyway if you are an artist.

The general creation process of Lady Ice

- I started this project with a classmate of mine, who abandoned the project at an early stage. We built up a storyboard and edited it in Premiere to get the timing. You can use AE (After Effects) for that as well, it's the same thing. The original timing btw changed a lot while I was working on the animation, it was a matter of lack of experience on my side and as I kept working I got more experience to create better timing for the scenes. But as long as the change is not big (such as doubling each scenes timing for example) it's no biggy.
- Then there was the character design and drawing a model sheet for each character. Also we decided on the "ART" of the movie – how things will look, the color scheme etc. We did it in painter or Photoshop. As I mentioned before – I started this project with a classmate. While I was working on the animation he did the concept art and backgrounds and I don't remember if he did them on Painter or Photoshop, but the final files were PSD (you will need that for later for AE). Use whatever's good for you, it really doesn't matter.
- Then we drew the layouts for the scenes that needed layouts – these are the ones the characters have contact with the background. The layouts where drawn on A3 paper with the right fields for the specific scenes (if there where camera movements for example). The rest of the backgrounds were drawn directly on the computer.
- I also shot some reference using myself as a guide for complicated scenes and analyzed them for my animation. Virtualdub is a great software for that – it's free and you can easily go frame by frame. Disney is doing it for all their movies, it's very common.
- Then I started working on the animation. I use a light table and A3 80gr paper. The scanner's feeder back at school had a problem with 60gr paper so I had no choice. What is a "feeder" you ask? Well, some scanners are sold with a special part called a feeder. With this part you can put a bunch of papers and the scanner knows to take one by one and scan it to the computer. Then in the computer I use a program (actually any editing program will do, but I used CTP) that knows to import a bunch of files and play them one after the other. Also I couldn't get that special animation paper, which is thick on one hand, but quite transparent on the other hand. They just don't sell it in my country. I like working with A3 because I have more space to draw, but if you're ok with A4, then go for it. A4 scanners with feeder are way cheaper than A3 ones. I was using my school's equipment, so I only needed to buy the paper. But if you work at home and have money issues you should consider that.
- I started with easy scenes to study the characters. You need to keep in mind that if you have a scene with about 2-3 characters, you should consider the scene as if you had 2-3 scenes to draw when you measure the working duration. That was one of my biggest mistake to why my project took longer than I calculated. You should also work on scenes in a randomly order – so that the beginning of the movie won't look worse than the end for example, because you WILL get better as you work on it. Btw, I worked on 25fps, PAL, but drew 12 drawing for each second and gave 2 frames for each frame. Some scenes have 3 frames for each frame, these are the ones that the characters are just standing and the wind is blowing in their hair. I did that due to lack of time, I hated doing it but I had no choice.
- Line test - I tested my animations by capturing the frames into a software with a regular digital camera that happened to act as a webcam as well. So you can use any webcam with considerably high resolution (you don't need to go crazy). I used CTP (www.cratersoftware.com), because that's what they had at my school, but you can scan the pages in a scanner and use any program you want. Even Photoshop can import sequences and create animation. Or you can use Premiere or AE or whatever you know of. I captured the line tests and didn't scan them because I was working on the animation at home and didn't have the A3 scanner that was at school. It was just easier for me.
- When the animation was ok, I scanned it in an A3 scanner with feeder we had at school into CTP (cause CTP can "read" the peg holes in the pages and match the location of the pages, thus preserving the accuracy of my frames) and saved each frame in a single JPG file.
- Then I cleaned up each frame in painter. I did it in painter because at that time Photoshop didn't have that cool rotating canvas feature. But CS4 has it now, so PS is also ok. Each frame has its own PSD file. AE can import a Sequence as a single element and I didn't need to create heavy files, meaning having a single file for each scene, thus creating heavy files (that might become unreadable for some reason and therefore I will lose all my work). My original files btw are 2600x1106 – this is 2.35 (cinemascope) ratio that is bigger than HD. I was going for HD from the beginning. Keep that in mind as well. Also bigger files are easier to cleanup and color (and they look amazing on my 47" FullHD TV).
- Then I colored the scenes in PS. I have this trick when I create a mask from the lines so I color the lines and fill the colors on different layers (bucket with "all layers" marked). But that's more work, so keep that in mind if you want to color the lines or leave them black. (Explanation about creating the mask is also in this article, don't worry).
- Then I completed creating and animating all the SFX – fire, freezing stuff, snow, backgrounds, etc.
- Once I had all the elements ready I edited everything in AE CS4  – there I added all the fogs, clouds, shines, glows, motion blur, camera movements, timing, holds, zooms, fades, etc etc. AE is an amazing program, you can do almost everything there, even animation itself. I used the "time remapping" effect to create the right timing for the animation. I actually sat for 3 days and learned the program from scratch, and during the editing process I gained more experience. Now I'm an expert in AE! Well, more or less. (I will not explain how to use AE in this article, please refer to online tutorials and help, sorry). I didn't edit the whole movie in one AE file, to prevent unwanted crashing and bad files, and kept backups all the time, so I created sets of projects based on color scheme and timing of the plot.
- After exporting all the part I attached everything in premiere, but that's only because I had a weird bug in AE that gave me a green frame somehow, long story. If you're not having this bug you can throw all the part into AE and export the movie in whole - and the movie was done!

How long does it take to work on an X seconds/minutes of movie?

It really depends on the final result you want to achieve. Let's say my 7 minutes movie could be done in a month and could be done in 5 years (was actually). I was going for the Disney quality, plus I made a few (a lot of) mistakes on the way, plus I did most of it alone, plus these were not full 5 years – take out about 10-12 months that I was abroad on different occasions, 2 years that I worked for a company that kept me so busy I had time only on the weekend, plus some of the work (mostly the backgrounds) weren't done by me and on the other hand I had to remake a lot of stuff that were just done wrong. So there are a lot of elements to the equation and I can't give a simple answer such as "ya, sure, it can be done", or "you'll never make it on time".
For "Lady Ice" one of the hard parts was the amount of animation I had to do multiply by the amount of characters. For example, the fact that the hair of lady ice always moved! I wanted it to have an endless movement, just like nature that always changes, but that meant more animation to do. Also it was hard to keep the characters looking the same through the entire movie and even in a single scene to preserve the proportions of the characters. And of course I WAS going for that Disney look.
So as I said before - it really depends on the final result you want to achieve, because you can make a second of animation in one hour or in one week, the only difference will be the final result.

How many frames do you think I need to make? 1000000??? XDDD

The amount of frames is easy to calculate, but sometimes numbers can be frightening and I'm not sure if I'm helping here or scaring you. Since I'm from Israel (ya, there is such a country) I worked on PAL 25fps, so my calculations are based on that. But of course the same reasoning goes for NTSC 30fps etc. ok, even though I should have 25 frames for a second of film I can tell you that I work (and even Disney do, depending on the scene) using 12 drawings for a second of film, because we are still talking about a student project and I don't have all the time in the world and the animation will still look great (you saw my movies). Maybe here and there when the action is very fast I have 1 drawing for 1 frame, but it's really rare in my films, since I just didn't have the time to draw 25 drawings for a second of film.
Let's take as an example a 60 seconds animation. It's 12 drawings that get 2 frames for each drawing = 24 frames, and that more or less covers the 25fps we are using.
So 60 seconds multiply by 25fps = 1500 frames (not drawings) of a movie. 1500 divided by 2 = 750 drawings BUT if you are using HOLDs or there is no action on the scene this number will be less.
On the other hand YOU MUST REMEMBER that if you have layers of 2,3 etc actions at the same time – you need to double the number of drawings in that scene.
Yes, it's a bit confusing and not the best way to look at it. I wasn't sure if I should write it, but anyway. Let's try to make it a bit simpler: Let's say you have scene No1 that is 2 seconds. Ok? During this whole 2 seconds you have an action going on. So 2 seconds are 50 frames, divided by 2 = 25 drawings. BUT if you have 2 CHARACTERS in that scene you need to consider 25 drawings for EACH character, so as of WORKING TIME on that scene it will be actually 50 drawings. Do you get it now?
You also need to consider the clean up time for each drawing that you draw and the coloring time, but this usually takes less time.
If you choose to color your rough animation (that's what I did in my "Final Stand" movie) you will save time by not doing the Cleanup.
If you have backgrounds you need to consider them too.
If you have special effects (such as water, explosion etc) you need to consider them too.
Animation is a lot of hard work, but it feels great when you see everything comes together to one whole animated film.

How do you calculate the time of the scenes in the storyboard?

The best way to do it is to film yourself acting the action you want, then putting it in Premiere or something like that and see how much time the acting is. You should film about 2-3 takes for each action and take the average time. Also this same film can be a GREAT reference for your animation. I use this way a lot and even Disney is known to use it. This is the most accurate way to do it.
Then when the storyboard is ready, you scan it and put it in premiere, edit the timing and play the movie while trying to imaging the animation that is going to be. This is the part in creating animation that no one can teach you, this is mainly based on internal feeling and experience. A good animator is one with good natural timing for action. You just FEEL if a scene is too long or too short, there is no specific technique of knowing that.
So after reaching the final timing of the storyboard you can start animating.

Which program is the best for lipsync analysis?

I used a very old program that they had at school and I can't even remember what I was using. My latest movies were speechless so I didn't analyze any lipsync. But I think you can use TVPaint, Adobe premiere or AE for that.

Cleanup and Coloring

I use painter for the cleanup process and as crazy as it may sound - I just go throw each frame and draw it again in clean lines. That's the whole meaning of cleanup. I do cleanup in painter because you can turn the canvas around, which makes it soooo much easier to cleanup. I tried doing cleanup in Photoshop CS3 once and it was unbearable. Photoshop CS4 by the way has this new feature for turning the canvas around, but there's a bug in the program and the drawing has some lagging, so it's annoying sometimes. It's a known issue (that might already been resolved when you read this article). So I still use painter. I don't use any vector based software (such as Freehand or Flash) because I don't want/like the vector line. Also I would recommend separating each frame in its own file.
I draw the clean lines in a transparent layer and in black. Make sure the lines are in one layer and the filling color you will color is in a different layer, beneath the lines layer. The color and line layers should be transparent. Beneath the color layer there should be another layer that is ALL white. So you have 3 layers, right? From top to bottom - Lines, color and white.
I color the frames in Photoshop AFTER creating a mask from the lines (I explain how I do it in the next paragraph). To make sure the colors are consistent from frame to frame I use a Color Key file, which is basically a file with text for each part of the body (such as "hair", "shirt", "eye" etc) and a color square next to each text. From that file I pick the colors with Photoshop's color picker. First I color the filling. It is important to color the filling first and the lines later, because I fill the color with the bucket tool, and it won't work on lines that are not BLACK. This is also the reason why we need that white layer. I use the bucket tool and making sure the option "All Layers" at the top tool bar is enabled/marked in V. This allows me to fill a color in a layer that is NOT the lines layer, but the bucket takes into consideration the lines layer (all layers actually) and therefore knows where to fill the color. In the Tolerance it should be between 100-150. I start with 150 and go down if needed. The number you put (the 150) will spread the filling a little bit more than the limitation of the lines, thus avoiding this annoying white thingy created when you fill with the bucket. Now the number depends on how your lines are closed! So if you use the bucket and it fills the whole screen, just undo, put a lower number and try again.
Only after I finish with the filling I go to the lines layer and, using the brush, I color the lines. After I'm done I delete the white layer because I don't need it anymore and I need my file transparent for the Editing step.

Creating Mask in Photoshop for Coloring

I'm creating a mask from the lines of the cleanup so I can color the lines in different colors in the easiest way I know. As for creating the mask, this is what you do (and btw – you can record an action for that instead of doing the process all over again for each frame. If you don't know what actions are in Photoshop you can read about them in the Photoshop help menu or use online tutorials, I will not explain that here, sorry) :
- You click on the lines layer you drew so it is marked.
- In the small window of layers (if it's not open go to window-layers) there should be a tab called "channels". Choose it.
- Then press on Ctrl and, while pressing on it, click on the blue channel.
- In the top menu go to select-invert.
- Now all the black/dark colors that you have in the drawing are selected.
- In the window of the layers you will see small icons at the bottom. One of them is a circle inside a square. That's the mask!!! Click on it.
- Now your layer is a mask. You will see that the layer is now with 2 squares. The left one is the one that you color on. You need to stand on that box to color only the lines. If you want to make a change to your mask, such as add a line or delete a line, then you need to stand on the right box. Remember how a mask works – all that is in black you won't see, all that is white is the final result. So if you want to add something you will need to draw in white, not in black. You will also see that when you stand on the right box the black and white colors in Photoshop switch places.

Mask Tutorial for Article by LPDisney

What animations we had to create in each year of the Animation program in Bezalel (the Art Academy I went to)?

The Animation program took 4 years. I split my last year into two for several reasons and I won't bother you with the details. So I actually studied for 5 years. Also, I will tell you what I did, but the program HAS changed after I finished, so I really don't know what's going on there now.
For the first year there were only small exercises, such as a walking man or a jumping ball. All were done in classic animation.
Second year - 3 projects in stop motion (that's the Kalia Trilogy on my channel), something political in Maya (too horrible to post) and the Little mermaid one I created in classic animation (the project was to take an already made character and animate is, and Ariel is my favorite, so...)
Third year - 2 Projects in classic (That's my hamlet and the Final Stand) and 2 modelings+walks and a room modeling in Maya (again, too horrible to post, but I do have the room modeling on my DeviantART gallery if you want to see it).
Forth year - Final project, a short movie, about 3-4 min (mine turned out to be 7) in any medium we want (naturally I chose 2D), from start to finish. I ended up presenting only the animation itself, not colored (the WIP you see on my channel) because it was a 2-people project at first and the other guy was suppose to do all the coloring, and he ditched me in the middle of production and to make a long story short - I finished the movie by myself only now.

Some questions I received over the years:

The Little Mermaid? Aren't you a bit old for cartoons?
How little do they know… I'm 29 (when writing this article) and still watching Disney movies and other animations. The good part is once you explain that it's your profession no one can say anything. Plus most of my friends are animators, artists and people who love animation so we all dig the same things. I love what I do and I do what I love!

You draw one side of the face great but the other side, well… not so great. Any tips?
I must say I had the same problem many years ago. The way I solved it was just by making myself draw only what I'm bad at and this way I got better. Meaning – dealing with the problem and not avoiding it. This actually goes for any problem I had with drawings. For years I couldn't draw palms, so in Lady Ice I was working extra hard on all the palms I drew insisting they would look good. That solved my problem. Also a great trick is to put your drawing in front of a mirror - you'll see all the mistakes you did. Try it.

Were you a brilliant sketcher when you started or did you get better while doing the course?
I sucked the first year, and I actually thought I was good. Only when I reached the third or fourth year and reflected back on stuff that I did, I realized how bad I was and how better I've become. So I understood that I can always be better than what I am now and should never stop practicing and improving myself.

Do you find that there are many careers paths once you'd completed the course?
Yes. But my main goal stays the same - Supervisor classic animator.

Did you find learning animation hard?
Yes, but it's a lot of fun as well. Just demands a lot of hard work from oneself and you can reach the stars and beyond.

Do you put each body part on a single frame or all on the same one?
The whole character together is drawn on one paper of course. Sometimes when I have 2 characters interacting (touching for example) they are drawn on the same paper as well, instead of separating them into 2 different layers.

How do you edit all the layers of the animation together?
I use AE, but any editing program can do the work. Just think about it as layers of "cells", the way they used to do it before we had computers, but now it's IN a computer. Simply put all things in layers, so you have one file of the BG (with all its layers – AE can read layers in a PSD file and that's one of the things that is great about this software) and then the animation goes above it. Add effects and you're done.

I want to create 2D Anime BUT I hate to draw, what should I do?
Sorry to tell you - but if you hate to draw then animation, and especially Anime, is just not right for you. To create classic "hand drawn" animation you have to commit to thousand and thousand of drawings for minutes of footage. But you shouldn't deny this right away. Are you sure you hate to draw? Or are you just not good enough yet so you are not pleased with what you draw? Maybe with a lot of practice you can be really good and then you will enjoy the making of an animated movie. Don't give up before you try.

Why are you using Blue and Red pencils?
It's just helps with the work. You can also use a regular pencil and it will do the same job. The advantage of colored pencil is when you draw more than one character and then you need to separate the animation for each character - with different colors (usually the blue and red) it makes it easier to animate, visually. And also because the pencil is blue the line is bright, so after doing the rough you can draw on it with a regular pencil for the final line, so the regular pencil's color is strongly visible on the blue lines (as shown in my Herc and Meg drawing).
Also I really like the whole visual of the blue pencil beneath the drawing, so that's also one of the reasons I use it a lot. But that's just me :-)

What should a portfolio include when applying for a job as a clean up artist?
I never applied for this kind of job, so I'm not sure, but I'm guessing you need to have good knowledge of Anatomy, examples of clean line art, knowledge in 2D animation and variety of drawings from humans to animals. You might have more answers on this link:

How do you make the background flow? Do you make a long document with the entire background on it for the scene and just gradually make it go by?
Well, yes actually. When creating a background the first thing you do is create a Layout for the background. That layout should be the ENTIRE "space" the scene takes with all the layers you need. So if I have a character running and jumping over rocks and stuff I need to draw the entire path the character is doing and once I edit everything on the computer I use camera movements with layers to move everything together. Here's an example of a background from Lady Ice. This was one of the most complicated scenes I had to do and it took me a whole day to edit just this one scene. In the movie itself you can notice the different layers moving in different speeds from each other:

Lady Ice Background by LPDisney

How do you make the animation "smooth"? (in my mini-animations, the lines always "jiggle" even if I try to be careful). Does it just take a lot of patience or is there a trick that I haven't discovered?
Well, it mostly just takes patience, some good drawing skills and making sure you character looks the same in each frame and each scene. The light table helps making sure the character doesn't change from frame 1 to frame 20. When doing animation you first start with the major key frames (or "extremes" as they are called). If those key frames look right, your line doesn't jiggle and the character doesn't change his proportions, then the inbetweens (the next step in creating animation) will also look right and therefore the entire animation will be ok. Also you need to make sure your lines are smooth and even go through the process of Cleanup-ing those lines.
But yes, there are some tricks as well. One trick is if a part of your character is not moving, you can just copy that part from frame to frame (in Photoshop if you drag a layer from file to file with the shift press then you get the " paste in place " function, which is copying to the exact same place the original was at into the new file. In Painter it's Ctrl+Shift+V). Another trick is to reuse parts but move them. For example if the hand of my character is moving with the body (let's say he's walking) I can draw the hand once and then just copy it to the right location in each frame. I used a lot of shortcuts using the advantages graphic software have to offer, it's nothing to be ashamed of, especially when the result looks amazing. And last, when I create the main keys I draw the first one and then I use it as a base for the next ones. I kind of "copy" the proportions making sure my character's head is the same size, etc.
So ya, it takes a lot of hard work, "ant work" as we say in Hebrew to make sure all those frames look great so that the entire animation itself will look awesome, but it's worth it and the result speaks for itself.

Which is consider more important when making an animated film: a good story and well-designed characters, or liquid-smooth animation?
That's the million dollars question! And a hard one to answer. I would give you my opinion and you are welcome to disagree. I don't think there's one definite answer, it's more of a mixture of a few variables.
A good story will only remain a good story on paper if it is not properly made on the screen. And a movie, as amazingly as it may be done, will be just boring without a good story. It is true that a story is a major factor in the succession of a film, and every movie ever made started with, well – a story, but I still would not stand watching a horribly made film just because someone told me that the story is great. And sometimes I just enjoy watching an amazing animation for the sake of animation, even though the story is not that great. So to sum it up I think a good story should be supported by good characters, well made animation and directing, and vice-verse. Can't we all just get along?
I hope that makes sense.

How would you draw the eyes from different angles?
It's something called perspective. When things turn or change their location the perspective is changed. Things become smaller or bigger, longer or shorter and change their shape to give the illusion of a 3 dimension object (since in a drawing we always try to create the illusion of 3D in a 2D environment). Here's a little tutorial, since it's hard to explain this in words:

Head Tutorial for Article by LPDisney

Is music for an animation composed before, during, or after an animation is made? And how do they sync up the music with the animation?
Ok, actually both answers are correct. How come? Well, as for all the verbal sound, such as text lines and songs the sound is recorded BEFORE the animation, so that the animators can sync the words with the animation. After the verbal sound is recorded the timing of the words is analyzed and written in the XSheet as a guideline for the animators. As for the non-verbal sound (the music, excluding songs) – it is recorded AFTER the animation is done so that the composer can sync the music to the action on the screen. After the animation is done (or is at a stage where the timing of the animation will not be changed) the composer (who is usually also the conductor) and the orchestra are assembled in a huge room with a screen. The animation is played on that screen and the conductor is conducting the orchestra in real time while watching the animation. That's how they sync it. Of course today there are also sound editing software to help make that sync perfect. But that's basically how it's done.

What films do you consider to be influential on your work?
As you all probably noticed, my most major influences are the Disney movies. I would not have been who I am today without the Disney movies, they are a part of me and how I define myself as a person. They are the reason why I decided to become an animator, they were there for me in times of joy, in times of need and as stupid as it may sound, that's the simple truth. I will never forget sitting in the theaters at the age of 9 watching Disney's The Little Mermaid on the big screen and when she sang " Part of your world reprise " and the water splashes on the rock behind her – bam! That's it! I was hooked for life. I started drawing with Disney fan art and until today I use Disney movies as part of my self-teaching of animation and drawing.
About 10 years ago, when I was around 18 years old I discovered Anime with Dragonball Z. I saw some anime here and there before, but I didn't even know it was Japanese animation. Dragonball Z got me addicted to anime and from that there was no turning back.
So these days you could say I'm influenced by everything around me. I try to watch as many animated movies as I can and try to "suck in" every piece of knowledge I get my eyes on. Disney will always be number one for me, but I will always appreciate good animation, no matter who created it. That's just who I am.

Where is Bezalel located (the Art Academy I went to)?
In Israel, but it's not that great. Most of what you see here (Lady Ice and my other projects) is due a lot of self hard work and self teaching from the best teachers in the world - Disney movies.

Do you work for Disney?
No, not at the time I wrote this article, but I wish I had and that's my goal in life. If you happen to have any connections that might help me, please let me know!

A short interview made by :iconsorren-chan:

What is your education?
- I studied animation in a 4-years program at an Art Academy. So I have a bachelor degree in animation.

How long have you worked in the animation industry?
- 2-3 years. See? Not a lot at all.

List of job titles since starting
- Animator, but in the company I worked for I also got to be the manager for the animation department (for 2 months) we had in Thailand, and for the one in Israel (for 4 months) where I live. So you could say I was also a supervisor animator and manager.

How did you choose the animation industry?
- Ever since I saw Disney's the Little Mermaid when I was 9 years old I fall in love with Disney movies. As I got older I wanted to be an actor and even majored in Acting during my high school years. But I also had a place for drawing in my heart and kept drawing all the time. After high school I went to the army (that's what all the people in Israel have to do at the age of 18 - men and women, I'm a women btw) and thought of my future. I knew I love acting but an actor's life is really hard and didn't think I had the personality for that, and I love drawing, plus I'm a huge Disney fan, so the best conclusion was to combine Acting + Drawing = Animation. So after the army I went to study animation in Bezalel and the rest is history.

What is the greatest accomplishment in your career so far?
- I guess it's Lady Ice, and maybe the fact that I got to manage the studio in Thailand with 20 animators under me only after 6-7 months or so on the job.

From your experience do you believe it is better to work for a company or independently?
- It really depends and the answer can change from one person to another, but I personally prefer working at a company, mainly because of the financial safety (cause you don't need to worry and look for projects all the time), the fact that when you get home the work day is over and you don't need to work on weekends and such, the feeling of working with other people and learning from them, and you can get far working at a company. That's what I think. But freelance also has its advantages, especially the fact that you can get up at noon (which I love).

Do you find animation stressful & do you ever tire of your work? How do you overcome these situations?
- Animation is a lot of hard work, no doubt. But I love doing it so I hardly get into these kind of situations. But we all have those moments so I just work through it knowing that tomorrow is a new day. I usually get tired and annoyed not because of the animation itself, but because of the annoying stuff around it, such as the annoying client's illogical requests, or the lack of professionalism of a co-worker, etc.

Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
- Hmm.... I believe that every course in life that I chose to do had its reason, so I don't know where I would have been today, for better or worse, if I didn't do all the things I did in life. So I don't know. Of course I regret things, everyone does, but when I think about it, they all lead to other things that happened to me that I don't regret. And besides, as one wise monkey said once - you can either run from your past, or learn from it, so I chose to learn and improve.

Most companies look for experienced animators; do you have any advice on getting into the industry after graduation?
- Ya, that's a hard point. Companies look for experienced animators but you can't get experience unless someone will take you fresh as you are. So it's kind of a paradox. I suggest if you have connections - use them, as harsh as it may sound. Also be patient, the right job will be there and if you are good enough someone eventually will give you a chance. Just hope things will get along in the end.
© 2009 - 2021 LPDisney
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God, I wish they would just invent a machine that analyses the brain and can download video or images to it via USB into .jpeg or .mp4 or idk Lol.
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JacJavJac's avatar
Thanks so much for posting this.
All the things I didn't know help so much and make perfect sense and everything I did know, I agree with 100%!
This really helps!
Snouw's avatar
Just FWI: This shall be my new animation bible!
JayTheWulven's avatar
Amazing article. One of my biggest struggles right now is getting my finalized work to run in 24p so that it will have that cinema production look to it. But i haven't been able to figure out how to do it yet...

After reading this, i realize that i probably should have been taking everything in the PSD file and imported it directly into after effects instead of trying to convert avi files of my animations to 24p. I noticed that Japanese animators also do most of the tweening, zooming and reshaping in after effects as well so its probably time for me to follow the trend. Your work on lady ice is beautiful and i swear one of these days that if there are any left im gonna get a copy.
LPDisney's avatar
setting up the frame rate must be in the editing software you are using. never convert avi files, it will mess with your timing and frames will be dropped, and I'm sure you want all those frames you worked hard on drawing to show up in the animation.
when opening a project in Premiere, or a composition in AE, check the settings of the resolution and fps (frame per second) and set it there.
glad my article helped.
good luck!
JayTheWulven's avatar
Thank you for clearing that up for me. Though i do have a question...
You said that you imported your PSD files straight into after effects but i wanted to know if you had to re synchronize (within after effects) the compiled frames in order that you made in photoshop (within the psd file) or did you simply save everything as an image sequence using photoshop and then import it into after effects that way?
LPDisney's avatar
AE has a super cool feature that it recognize files that are numbered as a sequence, and that sequence is treated inside AE as 1 object!!!
I don't remember if the function is "import sequence" or you simple click on the first file and it asks you (please google it, I didn't touch AE in years).
but then you have one sequence and you can apply all the effects you want on it, and it affects all the files.
another neat feature related to backgrounds is that you can import a PSD and it imports all the layers separately, but under a folder it creates, so it's easy to control.
this way if you change something in the original file, the changes are applied in your composition. you work with the original PSD files (no need to save as jpg or whatever) so you don't lose quality. also it can import effects you did in PS (like drop shadow) and you can change those effects in AE.
adobe made sure all their software know how to work together.
I also know that premiere and AE work nice together importing full compositions from one to other.
I suggest (that's what I did) to get your hands on full tutorials of the whole AE, spend a weekend watching them and you will learn some really cool tricks!
hope that helps ^__^
JayTheWulven's avatar
Thanks your amazing ^_^
Art2Key's avatar
Thanks so much for the awesome article, I'm trying to do by myself and animation since a few months and its hard. I had some troubles with it but your article and your animation (magnificent!) helped me a lot. I hope one day you'll work for Dsieny as Supervisor classic animator.
Keep rocking on! (another version of keep going on)
Gubble's avatar
Hey! Thanks a lot for the provided information! Just one question: You say you put all the single pictures of the animation together in AE to create the final animation. What is AE? Is it Adobe After Effects?
I'm looking for a programm for the last step of animation, so to speak to turn my drawn elements (each picture of the animation) into a finished animation/film.
Thanks again for sharing all this! It is a great help for me!!
LPDisney's avatar
AE = After Effects (Adobe's). yes. But I used a few tricks and I think there are better software out there for editing animation, such as tvpaint or toonboom etc.
good luck.
Gubble's avatar
Thank you very much for the tipps! I'll definitely look into those two. Is there any that you prefer out of toonboom and TVpaint? I was a bit confused about toonboom because they had plenty of programms, such as toonboom studio and toonboom story board.
Sorry for all those question. But I never had the chance to ask a professional animator before. Please bear with me. D:
LPDisney's avatar
Frankly, I never used toonboom, I only know it's very popular, and I barely used TVPAINT and yes, it's messy.
I didn't get to do much animation after lady ice and the software I worked most with was Flash, so...
And I know that if I am to do now classic animation I would probably still use my old way - photshop and after. perhaps I would use TVPaint for the rough animation, just because it's pixel based (not like flash) and I have the light table and the real time play and such, but I hate the line in it, so I would do the cleanup in photoshop like I know. or... I would do it the traditional way using my lightbox and pencil, scan, photoshop, and edit in after.
that is the honest truth. many ask me this question because (and don't be offended) they probably think it all about the software and if you use a good software than your animation will look amazing, when they should realize it's about the skill and experience and if you have that then it's really doesn't matter in which software you use, they are all basically the same with a few tweaks here and there.
I hope I didn't confuse you. Just download free trails of several animation software and try them out. experience it first hand is the best way, each artist has his own way of working so you should find what is best for you.
Good luck =^w^=
Gubble's avatar
Wow, thank you a lot for sharing all those information with me!
I understand what you mean about the software and experience and personally I wasn't really looking for a program to make animations from scratch to finish because I wanted to try out my own favoured drawing methods and programms. I'm however looking for something just to put my final drawings together, to render the single frames into a film so to speak. ^^ But I'll definitely try several programms out now that I know a few ones! = D
Thanks again for your encouraging and thoughtful words! I'll try to find the way of animating that I'm comfortable with.
And don't worry, you didn't confuse me. :)
LPDisney's avatar
If it's only to "throw" the frames into some editing software with no effect then i thing premiere is best for you.
but just try several and see what's best for you.
good luck!
Gubble's avatar
Ok thank you very much for all the advises! You helped me a lot! :)
thamilharasi's avatar
u r a good inspiration for me... u hav provided a really gud knowledge... very well... thank u so much... all the best!
thamilharasi's avatar
hey it is really a good inspiration for me... u gave us a lots of information... thank u so much...
iMillieArt's avatar
When Ariel is singing the song "soon" it sounds like someone else singing not Thumbelina also she does not say the rainbow bit?!
LPDisney's avatar
Huh? I didn't record that song, so...
All I know that it's a song from the movie Thumbelina performed by Jodi Benson, who is also the voice actor of Ariel.
iMillieArt's avatar
I know but it sounds different.
YAE1's avatar
I just want to thank you for your great info that you put out about your animation process. I now watch my fav animation frame by frame using the step forward in my DVD player, to get a better handle on my own animation. Now I know what my animation was missing!! Watching my fav anime this way has also helped save a lot of time in creating my animation. It has also helped me see my own animation scenes better, as well as to cut down some and increase other drawings I was doing to get the flow down. I take great pride in say you are a big inspiration for me when I'm down or stuck on a particular area. Thanks loads!!
LPDisney's avatar
Glad I could help ^_^
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