Animation Basics – Part 1 – Clip Studio Paint (2018)


hi I’m Ruben Lara and welcome to clips
to do animation basics if you’re brand new to clip studio you’ll definitely
want to check out my free clip studio basics tutorial on YouTube this will get
you up and running with the basic tools you’ll need to start drawing in clip
studio and is especially helpful if you’re already an advanced artist but
are coming from a Photoshop workflow I go over the basic equivalent tools and
methods so you don’t have to pull your hair up finding things alright let’s get
started first it’s important to understand what clip studios animation
features are and aren’t first and foremost it is a frame to frame workflow
as of this tutorial at least there’s no tweening like you can do in flash no 3d
camera is like in Toon Boom and no audio playback features it’s primarily an
illustration tool but as an illustration tool it is traditional animation at its
best in many ways in the days of Disney’s nine old men they had no
tweening or audio playback features when they animated either and managed to
create what are still considered some of the best animated sequences ever
produced so if you approach your animation from that perspective you’ll
find that clip studio is an incredibly powerful animation tool with one of the
best brush engines out there there are still some features I’d like to see
developed like being able to add an audio track but this isn’t a deal
breaker if you understand the basic principles of timing and motion with
compositing tools like After Effects which become the equivalent of the
multi-plane cameras of the old days you can create high-quality professional
sequences that turn into complex animations that in turn become the
foundation for good storytelling alright to get started you’ll want to make sure
you’ve installed the latest version of clip studio you’ll know if you have if
you see a fifth category for new documents it looks like a movie icon and
it’s labeled animation clip studio paint Pro maxes out at 24 frames while clip
studio X unlocks a full timeline but all the animation functionality is the same
in both the animation category adds additional options to the standard clip
studio document there’s no need to go into detail right now on every aspect of
the settings and they can all be changed after the
document is created but I will just highlight the blank space section this
creates a margin around the production frame that I find helpful to either
create notes on or to draw through the active area in when animating and you
can choose whether or not to include information drawn in this area when the
time comes for exporting your cells I also like to just set my framerate
immediately again you can change this later but it gets my brain in the right
frame of mind for how I’m going to approach each scene okay we’ll hit OK
you should now see a blank document the timeline palette here at the bottom and
a default animation folder all set up and ready to start drawing in now if you
don’t see your timeline so I’ll close this here go to windows timeline to
enable it clip Studios animation workflow uses layers to describe
individual drawings one layer per drawing and I find this very traditional
approach easy to understand because traditionally you’d be flipping through
multiple pages of drawings and so here we’ll be flipping through multiple
layers of drawings now in practice the timeline palette is really an equivalent
of the layers palette but with the addition of cells over time so if I add
a layer to the layers palette it also shows up in the timeline palette as you
can see here on the left the only thing that makes a regular layer behave
differently than a layer intended for animation is its inclusion inside of an
animation folder now clip studio has already added an animation folder with
one layer for us when we created the new document but we can create additional
animation folders by going to animation menu and choosing new animation folder
or by clicking this icon shortcut in the timeline palette again you can see that
as soon as I create a new animation folder it shows up in both the timeline
as well as the layers palette I’ll just delete these two for now now an
animation folder is also the equivalent of a normal folder but with the
functionality of only showing one layer at a time instead of all layers at once
let’s see this in practice let’s make it a normal folder and add a few layers to
it as expected all three layers show up in
the timeline as well and I’ll just name these layers real quick now let’s add
more layers to the animation folder to see how that behaves it differently so
we’ll click on this first layer and create new new new new as you can see
each new layer I create is grayed out and this is because when layers are in
an animation folder only one layer can ever show up at once just like in a
stack of pages only one can ever be on top let’s add a drawing to layer one now
when I scrub the timeline nothing happens but that’s because layer one our
drawing 1 is assigned from cells 0 all the way to cell 89 let’s assign another
layer to cell 2 to do that I’ll move the timeline marker to the second frame then
go to animation specify cell specify cells that brings up a dialog box with a
list of all the layers within the animation folder I’m currently on
because I created five layers in this animation folder five layers are also
listed here I’ll choose layer two and hit OK as you
can see layer two is now registering in the timeline and in the layers palette
layer two has lit up and layer one has greyed out I’ll draw something on layer
two now when I flip between cells clip studio is automatically hiding and
showing those layers we can use the shortcut icon in the timeline to specify
the other cells instead of going to the menu each time so let’s specify cell 3
we’ll move to the third frame and we’ll click on this little icon that has a
link on it and we’ll draw something here I’ll also turn on onion skin so I can
see my previous drawings move to the fourth frame specify it and
the fifth frame so there we’ve linked all five layers to five separate cells
in the timeline of course creating a layer and linking it to a cell 100 times
in a row is tedious and that’s why there’s this command animation new
animation cell but instead of using the menu let’s use the command bar shortcut
here in the timeline and just like that clip Studio has created a new
sequentially named layer and automatically assigned it here into the
timeline let’s do that a few more times and so now we have ten drawings
specified or linked to ten cells inside of our timeline once you understand how
it works under the hood you can really leverage the power of this layer based
system to help you plan and execute your animation for example I can select these
last few cells and do the opposite of specifying a cell which is to delete the
specified cells notice that even though those cells seem to have been deleted
they are really only unassigned because those layers or drawings still exist in
the animation folder again the layers in an animation folder are like sheets of
paper that you flip through you can flip through all or some of them by assigning
them to specific cells on your timeline but you don’t ever have to throw any
away they can still be saved in this stack for later use this might come in
handy when you want to try an alternate version of a drawing for example let’s
do an alternate version of drawing 3 and I’ll turn my onion skin off for a second
I’ll just come down here and make a new layer and just trace that circle and I’ll call this my alternate now as
soon as I throw it in the animation folder it becomes available as a
potential drawing to flip through it’s grayed out now because it’s not
specified anywhere in the timeline but let’s it respess if i sell three by
clicking on it and essentially real inking it
so we’ll relink this to my alternate drawing I still have my original number
three but it isn’t specified or linked anywhere on the timeline anymore
instead my alternate drawing is now showing up on the frame this also goes
to show you that clip studio doesn’t rely on layer order to show the cells
nor does it require that the layer named three be on frame three let’s spread
these cells apart a bit so that they cover multiple frames I’ll zoom into the timeline a little and
also rename each layer you can see that the name assignments follow the cell
link also these new names will show up in the specify cell assignment panel we
can even reorder the layers within the animation folder but clip studio will
always look at the order they are specified in the timeline of course
there isn’t any reason to make such a mess of the layers like I did here but
you can see that the system isn’t a fragile house of cards that will break
when things get out of order you always have very granular control over what’s
being shown and when we can clean this mess up by going to animation specify
cell rename in order of timeline this renames and reorders are layers in the
order they appear in the timeline love it let’s look at a couple more smart
things that clip studio does for us while we’re animating first I’ll delete
these extra drawings I’m not using now they really are gone for good let’s say
you’ve created these drawings as keys or extremes depending on how you’re setting
up your scene and now you want to do some in-betweens if your animation
folder layers are named in a numbered sequence like they are now and like they
are numbered by default and you create a new cell somewhere in the middle it will
create a new linked layer named with a letter sequence very helpful let’s do
another one here on frame 4 and we see it’s shown up as 2b and if you create a
new one in between two letters so let’s take these and scoot them down and
create a new one here it will just show up with a default layer name and you can
rename these if you like next and perhaps most powerfully clip studio
doesn’t require that a cell be linked to a layer only you can link a cell to an
entire folder and this doubles our ability to work things out within a cell
on multiple layers let’s select layer 3 and clip studio
automatically jumps the timeline to the frame where layer 3 is linked as
CEL now let’s put this in a group we can go here into the layers palette and
select create folder and insert layer I’ll just undo that real quick to show
you that I have mapped a shortcut to that command and I’ve mapped it to
command or control G and so that command creates a new folder above the currently
selected layer names it with whatever the current selection is named and then
puts that layer into the folder I’m often grouping things in the layers
palette clip studio has automatically named that folder the same as the layer
because it assumes that you want to keep showing that drawing and now I can add
multiple layers inside this let’s add a background color layer and a shadow
layer to this drawing as you can see the timeline only looks
at the name of the topmost parent in the animation folders hierarchy if it’s a
single layer like the rest of the drawings are then it’s the name of that
layer but if it’s a folder then it’s the folder group name even if I add another
folder inside this and call it the name of a previous drawing even the timeline
ignores anything inside the topmost parent to link to a cell this allows you
to create as many layers as you need within a cell to produce any given
drawing let’s move this back to three simple layers lastly when using the new
animation cell of command clip studio we’ll look at the currently selected
cell and use it as a template to create a new one so if I’m on a cell that is
being linked to only a single layer and create a new cell a new cell specified
to a single layer will be created and it also looks at the distance in frames the
current cell was from the previous one and will create the new one at that same
distance but if I wanted this cell which is specified to a folder group and
create a new cell then the whole folder structure will be duplicated retaining
even the layer names and blending modes like I had this one on multiply and
reduced to 32% opacity all the new layers follow suit this is very helpful
in later stages of production when each frame needs a unique layer structure for
example one for line work one for flat shade and one for shadow so instead of
having to create that hierarchy over and over again clip studio will
automatically generate it for you on the fly if your first frame is set up in the
way that works for you to wrap this up let me show you six keyboard shortcuts I
like to use that really speed up the animation process for me I’ll start with
select previous cell and select next cell now they are different from go to
previous frame and go to next frame which have timeline command bar
shortcuts in fact on the timeline command bar there are no shortcuts for
select previous cell and select next cell and the difference is that when I
go to previous and next frames only frames are navigated but when I choose
preview and next cell it will go to the previous
and next drawings skipping over any extended frames which of course when
you’re drawing between drawings is really what you want to be navigating
the other shortcuts I said are play/pause onion skin and another one
called edit timeline it’s currently set to the letter L but clip studio has by
default mapped multiple tools to the letter L and I like to isolate L to just
this one tool what edit timeline does is as soon as it’s enabled I can scrub
anywhere on my workspace and the timeline will scrub forward and backward
I don’t have to be scrubbing right here within the timeline frame bar what that
means is I can be doing some kind of drawing temporarily hold down L scrub
through and continue drawing checking motion as I go for me on my keyboard I’d
like to use the function keys that have symbols that most closely describe the
action where possible since I’m on a Mac I’ve set f7 + f9 for next and previous
cell f8 for play stop f10 for create new cell and f6 for onion skin just because
they’re so close to the playhead controls I hole punch the sticky part of
a couple of post-it notes for previous and next and new cell just so I can
quickly navigate my hand placement so let’s look at where we can make those
assignments we’ll go to clip studio paint menu shortcut settings make sure
you’re on main menu category open the animation folder and here I’ve set new
animation cell to f10 select previous cell to f7 select next cell to f9 place
top to f8 and then down here enable onionskin f6 next I’ve set the onion
skin shortcut to the back rocker button of my Wacom pen this has really sped up
my roughing out process because I can easily hit that back button and quickly
glimpse my previous and next keyframes so if I’m out here and I haven’t drawn
anything on 3a hitting that back button shows me that onion skin while I’m
drawing so I can easily come in here and maybe I
identify some motion about where things are going then click that back rocker
button and then hide the onion skin so I can keep drawing without being
distracted by it so since I have set onion skin to be f6 I can now go to the
Wacom Preferences make sure I’m on a clip studio paint select the back rocker
button options go to keystroke and then just hit f6 on my keyboard to make that
assignment and now I have that quick access on my windows-based Wacom
companion to the keyboard simple mappings are different so on that
install I’ve mapped it like this but that’s what’s great about clip studio
you can customize just about every feature exactly how you like it
next I like to make sure that under settings of play play in real time and
prefer speed are checked so that reduces the resolution of the drawings ever so
slightly on playback so that they play in as real a time as possible but not in
a hugely noticeable way for me at least in this example you see I have nice
sharp crisp anti-alias lines and as soon as I hit play it’s reduced the
anti-aliasing a bit this isn’t a deal-breaker for me especially since
this document is larger than standard HD resolution because of the usage I’m
giving it in the sequence and once you start dealing with larger drawings then
depending on your system playback can slow down a bit so by making sure that
your play in real time and prefer speed options are checked you prioritize
motion quality over line quality lastly I’ve set a few more shortcuts on my
command bar that I find myself going to often those are change frame rate which
gives me a frame rate dialog box standardized in order of timeline which
we saw the functionality of earlier change settings which allows me to
change the timeline name which shows up here in the timeline bar and it also
allows me to change the timeline into frame
sometimes the end frame is way out here in the hundreds and so I can quickly set
it to something more relevant to my sequence and finally onion skin settings
and this allows me to set how many drawings I want to see be
for and after my currently selected cell so I can change this to maybe three in
the front and one in the back and as soon as I move forward and I enabled my
onionskin settings I am able to see all of those drawings of course here I’m
showing you my final cell shading so let me turn on my rough and clean up folders and so this setting very quickly allows
me to come in here and adjust how much is being shown at any given time now this particular animation folders
color is being overridden by the layer color effect but when it’s not you can
see that the onion skin settings also allow to set the color of both the front
and back drawings helping you to determine in what direction your
drawings are moving and that’s the basic setup if you already work in clip studio
the learning curve is minimal and you can get up and running immediately once
you understand the basic workflow using these principles let’s finish off this
sequence his setup check for lid pocket flag in
fact time waits for no man and you thought it was a bouncing ball
take a look at this sequence I did and on this project I just split it up into
one final per scene if you want to see a breakdown of what one of these scenes
looks like check out part 2 of this tutorial on Gumroad comm slash ruben
lara where i show you how a scene moves from rough to final introduces you to
some more very helpful shortcuts for shading your animation and adding things
like shadows and line work how to export frames consistently I also walk you
through the light table feature honestly it’s a little confusing at first but
once you understand what it’s doing it’s a real time-saver you’ll also get my
custom-designed icon pack for the command bar animation shortcuts it’s a
helpful instruction that is the result of proven techniques and will definitely
save you hours in production time animation is a lot of work but it’s
incredibly rewarding I hope you enjoy clip Studios animation tools as much as
I do

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