Inspiration - Anim tips

Shades of grey

During your animation process, try to animate with your character(s) displayed in grey, without any textures. The "shades of grey technique" will help you focus on the motion itself rather than on irrelevant details. You'll see your character as a pure shape.

Don't stick to the plan

Try to uncheck "snap to frames" in your timeline preferences. You'll be able to add keys anywhere you want, not only on each frame. This is especially useful for quick/fast animation we're the time range can be very limited.

No pen no gain

Life drawing sessions are not only for 2D animators. They're a very good way to improve your understanding of the human body, and life in general. Drawing will make you see things you won't have noticed otherwise.
An animator practicing life drawing shouldn't worry about making a beautiful piece of art (at first), but rather focus on the energy of the drawing itself. Look for the line of action, for strong poses : look for a living drawing.

Shake it till you make it

Watching again and again a playblast can lead to desensitize yourself to your mistakes. Try to watch it in reverse, mirrored, fliped, at a different framerate, etc...this will surprisingly reveal many issues in your animation, or even give you new ideas.

The Cooper Way

You can add more impact to an in-game animation by adding a "broken" frame at the begining of it. At frame 0, create a pose that's an extrem opposite/anticipation of what the motion will be. Don't be afraid to break your character. Blends in game engines cause the overall look to feel less snappy. This technic will create an invisible but noticeable contrast in your animation. You won't see the ugly frame, but you'll feel the impact.

Mister Negative

Negative spaces can be hard to get. Surprisingly, you can also achieve a good silhouette by overlaping body parts : think about a white character dressed in a black suit praying at the church, hands gathered in front of his chest. His arms are lost in the silhouette (black sleeves on a black suit). However, his white hands create a huge contrast in the middle of his black chest.

Our brain then understands the silhouette, rather than sees it : it knows that those hands are connected to "invisible" arms.

Layers of Fear

As with mocap, don't be afraid to consolidate your keyframe animation by adjusting the key poses on an additive layer; set on top of your base animation. You'll be able to keep an organized view of your work, as well as reinforcing  your animation while keeping the base material intact. It will also make futur retakes easier to apply.