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Staging Animation: Bringing Your Vision to Life

ben marvazi 2020

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Lights, camera, action! But hold up, what about staging? This animation process is the behind-the-scenes magic that makes everything else shine. Without properly staging animation, your characters and story can fall flat, fast!

Think of staging as the foundation of your animation. You wouldn't build a house without a solid foundation, would you? Of course not! And you shouldn't create an animation without proper staging. It sets the tone, creates the atmosphere, and guides the viewer's eye to what's important.

But don't just take our word for it. When done right, staging can make your audience feel like they're right there with your characters, living and breathing their every move. It can transport them to new worlds, introduce them to new friends, and make them feel all the feels.

On the flip side, when staging is overlooked, it can be a real buzzkill for your audience. They might feel lost, confused, or just plain bored. And let's be real, nobody wants to sit through a boring movie. So, if you want your animation to be a blockbuster hit, don't forget the staging! It's the secret ingredient that takes your work from good to great.

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What is Staging Animation?

bugs walking around an ant character who's carrying a bag and waving

Gif by Disney via GIPHY

When you're creating an animation, staging is the process of laying out scenes and backgrounds. It's where you place your characters, props, lighting, and cameras so that they look good on camera.

Imagine a fight scene without proper staging. It would be like watching a swarm of bees trying to figure out which one is the queen! But with the right staging animation, you can make sure the audience knows who's throwing the punches and who's taking them.

And what about romantic scenes? You can't just throw two characters together and expect sparks to fly! With staging, you can create the perfect atmosphere to bring out the chemistry between the characters and make the audience feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

So, next time you're watching an animated movie or show, take a moment to appreciate the staging animation process that was planned. It makes all the difference in creating an immersive, captivating, and unforgettable experience.

Staging Is The Backbone of Your Animation

blue print in animation of a dogs face

Gif by Hey Duggee via GIPHY

Staging lets you frame shots, set up camera angles and determine timing. It's like a blueprint for your finished product and it's absolutely essential for making sure that everything looks just right when it goes live on your website, YouTube, or Vimeo (or anywhere else!).

If you're not sure how to do this, just think of it like a movie. The director has to decide where to place the camera and what lens to use. He or she also needs to know where the actors will be standing so that they don't block each other out of the frame.

The same goes for when you are staging animation. You have to think about where your characters will stand, how they'll move, and what kind of background you want them to be against. These decisions are key because they'll help you convey your message and create a visually appealing video that people will want to watch over and over again.

Staging Animation: A Starting Point

Staging Animation creating A Starting Point of a character getting a fright

Image by Medium

The first thing you should do when animating is to give your viewer a starting point. This can be as simple as a pose or gesture, and it's usually best if the character has some reason for moving or changing their position in the scene.

It's also important that you plan out how the character will move through their environment. For example, if you want them to walk down a hallway, think about what obstacles might get in their way--and then consider whether those obstacles would be easier for them if they were walking sideways instead of forward!

Finally: make sure that every single frame looks interesting! You don't want any of your frames to look static or boring because then people won't want to spend time watching them (and thus won't enjoy your animation).

Staging Animation: Direct Viewer's Attention

Directing Viewer's Attention with Staging Animation

Gif by Cartoon Hangover via GIPHY

While you are staging your animation, there are many ways to direct the viewer's attention. For example, you can use lighting and shadows to highlight important elements of your scene. You can also use perspective lines to guide the viewer's eye through a shot or sequence of shots in order for them to notice certain details that would otherwise be missed.

For example: If an object is in shadow (or backlit), then it will appear darker than other objects that are closer to us or have more light shining on them. This gives us a clue as to what might be important in this scene because we know that if something is farther away from us than something else and still looks just as bright/darker than another object then it must be bigger!

Staging Animation: Framing, Camera Angles, and Timing

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Read our blog post on Elevating Projects through Simple Animation Character Design!

Arrange objects in a scene to help tell your story. For example, stage the scene so that one character is in front of another when they speak their lines--like when one character stands behind his desk while addressing someone standing at attention before him, then viewers will understand who's speaking first because they can see both faces simultaneously in this setup. 

Staging also helps create depth within scenes by using props or backgrounds as foreground elements; these items serve as points where viewers' eyes rest during dialogue exchanges between characters who stand farther back from frame edges (such as off-screen).

Staging Animation: Using Perspective

using perspective of a character falling in between large buildings

Gif by Tears For Fears via GIPHY

Perspective is the relative size of objects in a scene. When you use perspective, you're showing your audience that something is farther away or closer than another object in the scene. Perspective can be used to create a sense of depth, weight, and speed.

When an object appears smaller as it gets farther away from the viewer's eye (the camera), we say that it has a "looming" perspective. 

Staging Animation: Character Weight

understanding character weight in staging animation with a round big character dancing

Gif by CL via GIPHY

When staging your animation, understand how each individual's weight is important! There are several ways to make an object or character seem weightier.

Make the object bigger. A larger object will appear heavier than a smaller one for the same reason that you feel more pressure on your feet when standing on a carpet than on hardwood floors the surface area of contact is greater.

Move the camera closer to your subject while it's in motion, then back off again as it slows down or stops moving altogether (this technique is called "dolly zoom"). This gives viewers the impression that they're looking at something very large and heavy; it also helps create drama by giving them time to anticipate what will happen next as they watch objects move closer or farther away from each other over time.

Summing Up Staging Animation

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Read our blog on Creating a Successful Cartoon Business as an Animator!

The staging animation process will make your animations more dynamic and compelling. It's a way to make your animation feel more interesting, whether it's through camera angles, lighting, or other techniques that create visual interest. 

You can use staging to direct viewer attention and make them feel like they're part of the scene you're creating; this will make it more engaging for them as well as help them understand what's happening in the story better than if everything was shot from straight overhead with no variation in perspective or focus on different objects in each shot (which would be boring!).

The staging process is one of the most important parts of creating an animation. It's where you'll get your ideas down on paper, and it's how you'll bring them to life. The better you are at staging, the better your final product will look!

For more information about staging animation, as well as answers to any other questions you might have about working as a freelance animator, be sure to follow our blogs, check out our free masterclass, and our Animation Business Accelerator Program, download a copy of our free marketing handbook, and check out our blog on “How to Start an Animation Studio”!

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