New tools and plugins are becoming vital to our day to day work as character animators. As Adobe lags behind the needs of the motion graphic community, plugins such as Rubberhose
have started to take some of the slack on the technical side and allow us to put our focus where it counts - animating!
Dialogue around the tools we use every day is helping us to think about how tools might change for animators in the future. Sander Van Dijk
has done an amazing job collecting ideas from animators about how After Effects could evolve for motion graphics.
Code First, animation second
Possibilities for animated experience on the web have opened up massively. Some people are doing amazing things with carefully crafted CSS animation and custom SVG animation, and popular frameworks like GSAP and Snap.svg are becoming established de-facto animation tools for the web.
But as animators our creative tools have yet to catch up with the possibilities that we now have in the browser and that can be a real barrier to creativity. The problem with these approaches is that they force us to break out of our usual workflow and can make web application of our work a painful laborious process of rebuilding animations step by step in code. Is it fun? Hell no! The focus should be on making animation on the web inventive, engaging and exciting.
One plugin that starts to connect all these dots is the amazing bodymovin
by Hernan Torrisi
Being able to display your animation work as a crisp vector at any size is such a huge advantage compared to wrangling gifs and weighty embedded videos. One experiment that we ended up incorporating into our new site is the headband - a set of animated character headers that sit at the top of our homepage: