BOJ116_SEQ011_Anim from Doug on Vimeo.

BOJ132_SEQ007_Anim from Doug on Vimeo.

BOJ123_SEQ023_Anim from Doug on Vimeo.

Boj CBeebies Animation

Since I wrapped up production on this show at Kavaleer Productions in Dublin I thought I’d write a post showing a few of my favourite shots I animated and also post some thumbnails I sketched out before approaching each shot.

Most people I talk to outside of the animation world are a little confused about what I actually DO in my work so maybe this will shed some light on the subject. Working on a production like this you have all the characters/backgrounds/props etc. built for you by another department. The scripts have been written, dialogue recorded and sometimes sound effects added before you start your scene. Unlike most of the stuff on this site which is all very independent, this is the part of my life that’s hugely collaborative.

The animators watch the episode in animatic (moving storyboard) form to get an idea of the story and how your shot fits into the rest of the episode. This is an important point because a lot of shots don’t need to stand on their own so long as they are supporting the moment in the overall story. The main focus of the animator is acting. You listen to the dialogue over and over and make decisions about how you want the character to deliver the line, thinking about posing, silhouette, expression, gesture, communication of an idea etc.

I always try to start a shot with thumbnails if time/schedule allows as I think better drawing something out and tend to find more interesting poses this way. Then I’ll jump into the scene and manipulate the puppet (which is rigged with rotatable joints) into the poses I just sketched out.

The blocking stage you add just a few key-poses to the shot to sell your idea to the director. They will ask for slight changes here and there and nudge you towards ideas that fit better with the character or the style of the show. Then you go back to the shot and develop and refine the motion until complete.

So there you go, an animator is an actor who hides behind a digital puppet.