Our Animation Setup

As an animators we often find ourselves obsessing over studio equipment.

In this post i intend to shed some light on my personal opinions on the equipment we use at Make it Move. We’ve made our way through our fair share of laptops, keyboards and Wacom nibs. Some good and some absolutely awful (never buy an Epson printer).

Here i’ll highlight experiences good, bad and average. Recommendations on what I feel works best. But as always this is subjective, I know illustrators working with needle and thread, designers working with crayons and animators using tea-bags to create beautiful work.

The Computer

The work-horse, the money maker, Johnny Five or whatever you’ved named yours. These are the lifeblood of any animation studio. Mac or PC? Well personally I’m stuck in the middle. I’m currently writing this post from my Macbook Pro, but at the studio I’ll always be on a PC. It’s difficult to decide if I’m honest. I love designing on a Mac, a comment that will get some looks. However the file management on OSX and the screen quality just give it the edge for me. Coupled with the portability it’s still a perfect device for me to work on admin or a quick design tweak on the move.

However hands down the PC wins on animating. Packed with ton’s of a RAM and a Processing power to match a custom built PC is worth every penny in the render time savings. Why not stump up for a Mac Pro you ask? I have freelanced in a studio on an animation requiring 1,000’s of stills, working on a MacPro just felt sluggish, way too sluggish for £5,000 worth of computer. Windows 10 might not be great but when you spend most of your time inside After Effects does it really matter?

Drawing Tools

I’m a huge fan of pens, pencils and other implements for mark making. However the one studio addition in recent years I couldn’t live without is the Wacom Cintiq, my digital layout pad. I opted for the 22HD option as I required it for a frame by frame project back in 2014. However I now utilise it everyday, for sketching storyboards and even art-working full design storyboards, it’s perfect for a studio setup.

Software

As I mentioned in a previous post our favourite piece of software is Adobe After Effects. The amount of plug-ins and the progression of the animation output with the software in the past few years has been fascinating to behold. However at Make it Move we also use more traditional animation techniques as sometimes we like our tweens drawn the good old fashioned way! For pieces that involve a bit more time and a steady hand we like to work with Adobe Animate or Toon Boom Harmony.We animated our Staff Pick ‘Light’ using Adobe Animate and a touch of texturing in After Effects. We’re not discounting others however, we’ve never touched TV Paint, but would love to hear your opinions on it, as a piece of software to invest in.

This is our animation set up here at Make it Move, we are always building our studio, and investing in new tools and equipment to explore new avenues of working. As always If you would like to hear more or tell us a bit about your animation setup please comment.

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