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What Is An Animation Base and How Freelancers Can Use Them

As a freelance animator, it’s important to learn about all the animation terms and skills that may help you grow as an animator. Using an “animation base” is one of the terms and practices you should learn as it can help to improve your animation skills.

If you’re looking to make your animation more fluid and realistic, an animation base can help you drastically as a freelancer. They speed up the production pipeline process which helps save time for other tasks.

Having this animation technique will help improve your animation skills and will also impress future clients who are looking for realistic animation projects.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what animation bases are and how to use them as a freelancer, as well as how you can create your own animation base.

What Is An Animation Base

what is an animation base

GIF by Kim’s Convenience via Giphy 

Before getting into using and creating your own animation base, you should first understand what an animation base is. An animation base is a few frames that animators create to help with the movement of their animation.

This is often used to make animations more realistic, by making the movements look more fluid. This is achieved by using frame-by-frame illustrations.

Example of Animation Base Frames

You probably have a brief idea of what an animation base is, but you may still be a bit unsure of what it looks like.  

In this example of an animation base, you can see how the animation base frames are used by the animator to get fluid and realistic movement in the end product.

animation base example

GIF by I Ship It via Folioscope

How Animation Bases Speed Up The Production Pipeline Process

an animation base can speed up the animation process

Photo by Mikhail Nilov via Pexels

One main reason why using an animation base will be useful for you as a freelancer is because it speeds up the production pipeline process.

What Is the Production Pipeline Process?

As an animator, it’s important to learn what the production pipeline process is. The production pipeline is all the steps and tasks it takes to make an animation. The production pipeline can be divided into three stages, pre-production, production, and post-production. An animation base is created during the pre-production and production phase.

what is an animation production pipeline and how can animation bases help it

GIF by SimpsonsWorld via Giphy

The pipeline has a similar structure for each animation project, but it does differ for 2D and 3D animation. This is a general 2D pipeline that you may apply to your own animation process:

  • Writing the script. The first thing you should do is start by writing the script. This step may require you to collaborate with your clients, so you can write a script that entails everything they want.
  • Storyboard. After writing your script, creating a storyboard is a great next step. This acts as a foundation for your animation process.
  • Animation base. You can then create your animation base frames or use some you’ve created previously. This will show a frame-by-frame movement of your animation. Your client can review this before you move forward with the rest of the animation process.
  • Hand-drawn or digital drawings. Once your client has approved the script, storyboard, and animation base, you can work on the digital and hand-drawn illustrations. Some animators use only hand-drawn or just digital, but other freelancers use a combination of both.
  • Adding voiceovers. Your client may send a voiceover to be added to their animation, or you may have to record something using the script you wrote.
  • Final edits. After all the other steps are complete, do your final edits to ensure the animation is of good quality.
  • Exporting the animation. You can then export the animation and provide it to the client.

Animation bases speed up the production pipeline process by creating a foundation for your animation’s movement. It’s a basic frame-by-frame tool that gives realistic movements to your characters. The details of the character can be illustrated on top of your animation base

This can be extremely helpful for productivity, as it allows for faster, more efficient workflow. A quicker production pipeline process means that you can turnover animation projects at a faster pace.

If you want to find other ways to speed up your production pipeline process, you should look into using the following tips and tricks:

  • Use storyboards. Animation storyboards are a great way to improve your pipeline workflow. This helps to bring together the technical and creative aspects of your project, which gives you a strong foundation that you can work off effortlessly. 
  • Plan out tasks efficiently. As a freelancer, you have to make sure your life is in order. To complete an animation project, you have various tasks you need to complete to the end results, so planning your time wisely will allow you to get through the production pipeline process efficiently.
  • Reflect on your workflow strategy. Each freelancer uses their own workflow style that works for them. You should reflect on your techniques and routines, to ensure they’re efficient and operating smoothly.

    You may find that using an animation base is a great time-saver for you, so you decide to integrate it into your full-time routine.

How To Use And Create An Animation Base

an animator making use of an animation base

GIF by Lenle via Tenor

We’ve established all the benefits you can receive from using an animation base as a freelance animator, now you need to learn how to apply this in your production pipeline process.

When creating animation base frames, it’s all about illustrating the movement of your characters frame-by-frame. You may be wondering how to use an animation base and how you should use them when you’re working on the movement of your animation.

In the following images, you can see that different frames are drawn that will help to create a fluid moving end product.

different references one can use for animation bases

Image by Krisatu via Pixabay

When you put the animation base frames side by side, you should see how they create an activity when they’re put together. This helps your animation come to life, as well as you get a better idea of what your animation will look like once it’s done.

What’s important to remember is that the animation base is the foundation of your animation’s movement, so when you create it, ensure you’re making it a suitable base for the character and scenery you’ll create for your final product.

Animation bases can even be used for multiple different projects, as long as you use these frames in moderation, to avoid repetitive content. This helps you to speed up the production pipeline process further, as you have some of the foundations for your animation sorted.

As a shortcut when working on projects, you can seek animation bases online. There are many other freelance animators on platforms like Upwork who can create these animation bases that are easy for you to work off. 

It’s also valuable to place your animation base frames in your animation portfolio, to show your potential clients this skill you’re capable of. 

Using an Animation Base As A Freelancer 

As a freelance animator, learning new tricks and tools will only make you a better animator! Learning how to use animation base within your animation projects will help you to improve the movements of your character, as well as it will be a great time saver.

This will help your production pipeline process run a lot smoother and more efficiently. You may find that it helps you to get your client’s animation projects completed at a faster rate. To learn more tips and tricks for freelance animation watch our free masterclass, download a copy of our free marketing handbook, and check out our blog on “How to Start an Animation Studio”!

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