"Anime" Tricks

(aka: "There May Not Be a Lot of Meat on Her, But What's There Is Choice.")


Disclaimer: the following mixes personal observation with personal opinion. Don't take any of it as "gospel," but rather keep it in mind if you ever have limited resources with which to create an animation. -- JH

General Tips

Essentials (present throughout the entire animation. DO NOT skimp on these)

  • Story -- the foundation of your animation. If this fails, it all falls apart.
  • Direction -- a good director can wring more out of less, in my opinion.
  • Storyboards -- because good storyboards save you $$$.
  • Art Direction -- present throughout the entire piece.
  • Character Designs -- make those held cels works of art.
Next Level (try to make these as high-quality as possible)
  • Color Design
  • Voice Acting -- carrying the weight of the character's emotions.
  • Music -- film-quality music lends a cinematic feel to the animation.
  • Sound FX
  • Backgrounds -- the more detail, the more "expensive" it looks.
Scene Level (reducing the amount of total character animation work)
  • Convey Complex Actions Off-Screen -- using editing and sound FX
  • Reduce the Number of Characters On-Screen
  • Reduce the Amount of Character Interaction
  • Intercut Complex Character Animation with Simpler Shots
Shot Level (aka: "If It Moves, It Can't Possibly Be A Comics Panel!")
  • Camera Moves
  • Rack Focus
  • Background Animation -- 'cause you got to animate something...
  • Life Cycles -- minor animations that dress up a "held cel."
  • Light FX -- easier than character animation
  • Specular Animation
  • Cutting Animation with Held Cels -- stretching your animation dollar.
  • Hide-the-Mouth -- to cut down on the amount of lip-synch work
  • Hide-the-Feet -- eliminate "foot slide" with creative cropping
  • Held Cels
Frame Level
  • Strong Poses and Facial Expressions
  • High Illustration Quality -- don't let it look "cheap."
  • Glow -- a relatively inexpensive enhancement.