One-Man Cel Action Experiment

April 1st -

I've been using Cel Action for the past 4 years now and I've definitely grown to love the way it works and how quickly you can animate with it (speed being important for tight schedules in TV series work) and I have always wondered how it would work if applied to a personal project.

So far, these are some of the pros and cons:

  • Doing the whole process (design > rigging > animation) myself – which is something I haven’t experienced as animators are brought in once the artwork is signed off and the rigs have been made and thoroughly tested.

  • Collaboration would be a lot simpler as the rig already has its proportions set and limitations in place.

  • Being able to draw extra elements on the fly isn't possible - so specific shapes need to be designed ahead of time

  • You benefit from having a solid rig which allows you to stream line the clean-up process (when compared to digital hand drawn) - Although, the time saved from clean-up is potentially moved to an earlier part in the production as rigging becomes a much more important part to allow animators to get the right movement needed out of the rig.

Concept for the One-Man Cel Action test

So, as you have probably guessed. I am currently tackling this experiment with these two happy campers and a great little voice clip from the 11 second club archive.

I've been creating the build over the last week and it has definitely been an experience trying to come up with solutions to allow for more flexible animation potential - but knowing that this is the biggest part of the Cel Action process, and that I will avoid any potential clean up. I definitely cannot complain.

April 8th -

PROGRESS! Just as I was starting to question whether this was a good idea or not. I am finally at a point with one of the rigs where there are elements there for everything.

The completed rig and its wireframe skeleton

One thing that I have massively under estimated are HANDS. Possibly one of the trickiest things to pre-assemble for an animated scene - it took me ages to predict which hands my future animating self would really want. So far this guy only has 7, but I know that I will end up tirelessly updating the rig with new handshapes as I animate. This is great if the rigs are for longer projects, but not idea for that quick GIF or voice clip.

I wanna give a shout out to all art departments and rigging teams that make these huge libraries ready for the animators. I've began to appreciate how amazing it is to have more than 2 hand shapes ready to use on a rig!