Animation Advice | Workflow and Production

Animation Looping Tips

Hi, readers! My name is Eran, I’m an illustrator, animator and animation director. Recently I’ve been creating more and more animated loops. Looping is fun! And it’s a great method for economizing the animation process. It’s very well suited to short projects, and some of my favorite pieces are based solely on loops.

In this post I’ll share some looping tips with you. I’ll go over my work process, and the pointers I use while designing characters and animating them.

  • Simple, minimalistic design

A loop is a short, recurring event. It must be clear and precise. Keeping the design simple will allow a more pleasant viewing experience. I find that animation of simple characters is more graceful and expressive. What do I mean by “simple design”? That depends on your personal style and preferences. In my case it’s employing basic geometric shapes, flat color schemes, avoiding unnecessary details such as fingers and toes. I use simple strokes for hands and legs. To prevent “simple” from becoming boring, I exaggerate some bodily features: make them huge or tiny, and I use contrasting, unusual color combinations.

Simple animation design works best
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  • Animate to perfection

A loop must be perfectly executed. Whether it’s standalone or part of a longer piece, I pay a lot of attention to detail. Since a loop, by definition, repeats itself, don’t let your audience catch any small flaws that might have gone unnoticed in a single-play animation. In my quest for a very smooth animation, I sometimes resort to classic animation (simple design comes in handy here, too).
Since there are relatively few frames, the effort is worth it.

[WPGP gif_id=”3975″ width=”600″]
(Click Box Above to Play Gif)

However, carefully crafted animation doesn’t have to be all smooth and flowing. Sometimes you can choose to animate only some elements, leaving the rest static.

[WPGP gif_id=”3977″ width=”600″]

  • Focus on the story

Your audience must understands what’s happening in the loop.
Try to forget the animation technically has a “beginning” and an “end”. Create key frames and play them starting at different points along the timeline, to see that your animation progresses in a clear manner. Good timing and clever posing can also help get your point across.

[WPGP gif_id=”3980″ width=”600″]

  • Go the extra mile

Once your story is in place, try to add small touches that will surprise or amuse your viewers. Add mini-effects such as stars or whooshes; exaggerate a movement. A great loop is a loop that you can watch over and over again without getting bored.

[WPGP gif_id=”3982″ width=”600″]

Animated Gif loop breakdown
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  • Bonus career tip

If you have designs you’d like to share, that are not animated yet, consider making a loop – even if it’s out of scope of the project – to share on your portfolio.

I hope you find these tips useful. I would love to see examples of your work – please share them in the comments below!
Many thanks to Animation Island for having me.
For more of my works you can follow me here:
On DribbbleOn VimeoMy WebsiteFacebook

Running animation gif
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Rebecca

Wow you are super talented! I wish I could make loops like that. What program do you use? The art is so cool. Do you have any tips for making graphic art like in your animations? My graphic art attempts usually turn out awful. I don’t know what I do wrong but they aren’t sleek or modern. Usually they look like a kid drew them.

Don Carmen

I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I see an animation article that’s both educational AND interesting,
and let me inform you,
you have hit the nail on the head.
Bravo.

shari

thank you for sharing this on twitter.

RP_5050

This actually made me want to go try out your style. Where did you come up with it? It’s really nice. Most design work these days is too stuffy and these are just plain fun.

Danabanana

Thanks, good post. Nice examples as well.

Alex Cobra

Very nice post and awesome animations! Congrats!!
Some months ago I started a personal project to study the 12 principles of animation using loops:
http://animalexcobra.tumblr.com/
I wish I had read your tips before started =/ but I’m sure it will help along with the last 2 animations and when I’ll correct the others! Thank you!