How to Create Paperless Traditional Animation

Creating a Rough Animation

The first step to create paperless animation is the rough construction, which is the skeleton of your animation. You would usually start by animating the most important part of a character's action. For example, to animate a walk cycle, you will start with the torso motion and the legs. Secondary animation such as the head, arms and clothes can be added afterward.

For a satisfactory animation, start by animating the main action with quick, rough sketches, then add the details when you're satisfied with the movement. If you start animating all the details right away, you will lose a lot of time if you have to make corrections, and your animation is likely to look rigid.

Reviewing your Animation

Flipping through drawings can help see if the drawings you're working on connect well together and create the proper illusion of movement. You can quickly flip through your drawings using the Go to Previous Drawing and Go to Next Drawing keyboard shortcuts, or use the Easy Flipping toolbar.

When your rough animation is finished, play it back to make sure it looks as expected before proceeding to the next step.

Cleaning Up

When your rough animation is completed, it is time to clean it up and ink it. This step is also called tracing. It consists of tracing solid and clean lines over the rough animation to close any open zones. This is the final paperless animation step before the ink and paint step.

In traditional animation, cleaned up drawings are usually traced on a new sheet of paper with the rough underneath, made visible using the animation disk's light table. Likewise, in Harmony, you will need to add a new drawing layer on which to draw cleaned up drawings. When you're done cleaning up, you can simply disable the layer containing the rough animation so that it does not appear in the final animation. This approach also allows you to keep the roughs and the cleaned up drawings intact and to manage them independently.

In the Camera view, you will see your rough animation while working on your clean up layer. If you prefer to work in the Drawing view, you can enable the light table to display the rough animation while tracing on your clean up layer.