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Building an Animation-Ready Character from the Ground Up

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Adding Clothing
Building an Animation-Ready Character from the Ground Up
With the body base drawn, it’s easy to fit clothing over it. You may notice in many made-for-television cartoons that clothing is often skin-tight, distinguished from the body only by some extra bounding lines and different colors. This is a common trick for animators with a great deal of content to produce in very little time; adding extra detail to the clothing adds extra hours to the work. Just by drawing seven arcing lines, I’ve given her a turtleneck.

However, I’m not a big fan of the “tights as fashion” look, so I gave her khakis, using a great many straight lines and trying to keep to angles rather than curves – following the lines of the legs to determine the drape and flow of the pants, and drawing some small detail, but not too much. Just in one leg I can count at least eleven key points that I would have to match up from one frame to the next, though currently these shapes are easier to work with than the shapes of her bare legs.

Now…I have issues with hands and feet; some days I can draw them, some days I can’t. So I cheated – I gave her immensely long pants that completely conceal her feet. We’re going to say that I did that to make her easier to animate, because that means that I would rarely have to worry about her feet. But if you do draw shoes, remember that you’re only hurting yourself if you have to draw every single lace and tread.

Also don’t forget, when adding clothing, that you should still try to keep your shapes entirely enclosed.

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