【Naoki Yoshibe interview】Make an animation in a month! [Basics]



Mr. Naoki Yoshibe, a famous animator, has agreed to give a lecture on how to make an animation in a month in interview format.

Interview provided by: Project BIGSHIP

There’s no time like the present, so let’s start animating!

- Let’s start by watching this video!


- The creator of this 4 second animation was Naoki Yoshibe, the lecturer. First off, how long did it take to make this animation?

It was made specifically to teach the process, but I’d say it took me about 3-4 hours.

- Only 4 hours!? Still, animation beginners would have a hard time making something like this, even if they had a month, wouldn’t they...?

Not really. As long as they understand the essential points, I’d say it would take about a week.

- Wow. I guess we have to change the “month” in the title to “week” then... So getting to the main subject, please teach us the animating process!

Ok. Broadly speaking,

① Idea pitching

② Storyboarding(rough plot)

③ Line art (genga)

④ Inbetweening

⑤ Coloring

covers the entire process.

For beginners, putting your ideas to paper is especially important. Start by writing down as many ideas as you can(even dumb jokes), and then think of the animation or scenes you want to create.

Once you have a basic idea in mind, make a rough storyboard. Storyboards are the draft of the animation. Professionals use them too, so look them up if you have time!

The trick is not to draw the sequence perfectly, but to quickly draw your ideas on paper. You’ll start to get an idea of the shots and effects you need. In the following step, you’ll need to decide on the frame rate.

- What is the “frame rate”? I know it’s often used in the videography, but...

In short, it’s the number of images shown per second. Videos are a series of images, and live-action videos such as TV dramas show roughly 30 per second. In films, the standard is 24.

However, Japanese animation does not require 30 images, and it depends on the timing and keyframe poses.

Depending on the method and hold frames, I think you can achieve the illusion of motion with 6-8 frames. Let’s start from there.

* Holding(ones, twos, threes...) : A technique where a single image is shown for several frames. A 24fps animation on “twos” will need 12 images, “threes” will need 8, and “fours” will need 6.

- How long would it actually take if you were making a hand-drawn animation?

Assuming I already have an idea, it would depend on how long the animation is. If I’m making a 10 second animation, the time it takes to draw 10x8 = 80 images would determine the time.

As drawing is the most time consuming step, it probably comes down to the animation and the animator’s drawing speed. You can calculate the time from there and also figure out how much coloring is needed.

- So if you can draw three frames per day, you can make a 10 second animation in 27 days.

In theory, yes. Depending on the composition and direction, it may take shorter. Animation looks different depending on the number of frames you’re animating and the timing of movement. Figuring these out is the most fun part. Using CLIP STUDIO will speed up the workflow as well.

Ok, now let’s start drawing.

First, let's animate a simple jump and landing.

I draw three pictures and play each frame at the same speed.

It already looks like it’s moving, but if I add another frame and adjust the timing...

- Oh!

I’m exaggerating the motion by holding on the jump, and adding a follow through by adding a frame to the landing.

Let’s try another. Starting with a circle...
We can make ripples by starting off with a fast expansion and dialing it back as it becomes larger.

With this in mind, let’s draw an explosion. By contrasting the movement and starting the explosion off fast (to show the blast’s force), we can draw without worrying about the details too much. 

Think of it as creating contrast by adjusting the timing. Both examples start off with a lot of momentum.

- Well, this sure changes how I see animation...! Can you show us your workflow after making rough sketches?

Let’s use the animation I made earlier as an example. First, I’ll sketch out the keyframes, drawing about three frames per second. I then play them on the initial framerate, spaced evenly.

Next, I adjust the movement. I adjust the timing and add in-betweens using CLIP STUDIO PAINT’s functions (Timeline and Onion skin).

* Timeline ... A function that shows the entire file in chronological order.

* Onion Skin ... A function that makes it easier to manage frames by showing the previous and following frames in different colors.

* Inbetween ... A frame that connects keyframes.

Though it depends on the workflow, I usually draw rough keyframes first, and then add adjustments and effects while inking. Finally, I add colors and minor adjustments and I’m done!

- I see... I think I get it now! By the way, do you have any tips on creating short GIF animations?.

Just try out as many things as you can. Something you just thought of, would like to practice, your doodles, etc.

You could also make something while keeping your audience in mind. For example, I always upload my GIFs to SNS. In this case, people seem to like the contrasting motions of looping animation better, so I keep that structure in mind when making animations for those platforms.

- I see. Thank you for your detailed answers! In the next advanced section, we will introduce more practical techniques!

Learn from a pro! Make an animation in a month! Read the [Advanced] lesson here


Learn from a pro! Make an animation in a month! Read [Extras] here


■ Artist profile: Naoki Yoshibe

Former Kamikaze Douga Co., Ltd. (2011-2016), currently freelance. Works include various anime shows, music videos and promotion videos. A self-proclaimed “Doodle GIF man”, he is especially known for his short GIF animations on Twitter.


“Short animation making course -Naoki Yoshibe works by CLIP STUDIO PAINT PRO / EX”

Author: Naoki Yoshibe

Publisher: Gijutsu-Hyohron Co., Ltd.

▼ Book information (Japanese only)




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