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Mastering drawing and creative techniques : a graphic culture and an artistic eye sharpen to adapt to any type of projects.


Usually, the 2D animation production pipeline starts by the design based on the script, and followed by the storyboard.
This part of the production is done at Xilam studio in Paris.
The layout department at Armada studio Vietnam begins their work at the start of the animation production, right after receive the storyboard and the design pack from Xilam.
Most of the time the layout artists work in small teams (5-10 artists) directed by a layout supervisor.
At the moment in our studio, we have 3 layout teams and 3 supervisors.
The teams can work on different productions according to the studio planning.
In 2D animation , layout artists define the composition as well as the main poses of the animation.
The layout artist must understand the storyboard perfectly to create the final design of a sequence by following the compositions of the storyboard and also the emotions and acting of the characters.
For 2D animation production, the layout (BG and posings) is very important to communicate the storyboard information very clearly to the animators and color BG artists.
The layout Harmony file contains the proper camera move and the right size of the scene.
It also includes the characters main poses ( posings ) from the storyboard following the official design from Xilam Studio.
With the posings and BG, the layout artist will also design the FX and all the other information necessary to the animator and other departments.
It consists in creating all the information needed to complete the final scene : Background, overlay, underlay, camera and key poses.

In our studio, the layout posings and background are done by the same artist to avoid potential mistakes in the interaction in between animation and BG.
But in some studios this 2 works are done by different persons.
In the following example, the cockroaches runs followed by Oggy slide IN.
The cockroaches runs OUT of the frame, Oggy run sliding after them and OUT too.
The layout artist gives all the necessary poses for a clear animation, as well as the background design.
The layout supervisor analyses the storyboard and shares the sequences in between the members of the team.
He will share the scenes according to sequences and hook ups (raccord).
It can be by location or actions in the storyboard.
The layout supervisor ensures the consistency of the film and must know perfectly the storyboard.
He's in direct communication with the film director in case of questions or doubts.

Layout artists work closely with the layout supervisor to translate storyboard and animatics into polished frames that will be the final design of the scenes.
The layout artist work is checked by the layout supervisor before his work goes to the next step   ( animation and color background departments ).

The LO supervisor will follow every scene of the film until the final validation by the movie director at Xilam studio.
Sometimes the directors from Paris ask us to modify or correct something, we call it "retakes" (RTK).
The RTK will be fixed by our team and sent back again to Xilam for validation.
When the film is completely validated at the layout stage, it pass to the rough animation department.

He's also in direct relation with the animation supervisors in case of doubt or corrections.
The layout supervisor is a key position in the 2D animation pipeline.

The layout supervisor will also ensure the training of the new members of the team.
The layout artist works with the storyboard that has been done by the storyboard artist and validated by the movie director.
The layout artist will follow the composition and action of the storyboard, he will draw all the action poses and follow perfectly the design model.
Sometimes he can create additional poses to precise a specific acting.
He's also in charge of the hook up in action in between the scene in the sequence, this HU or raccord are not precised by the storyboard.
For each scene the pose start and cut should match perfectly with the previous and next scene.
For the layout it's extremely important to know how to read and understand a storyboard.
In this 2 next scenes you can see the type of STB design the layout team will work with.
Another example
In this next video you can see the storyboard for one sequence of "Oggy", we call it animatic.
The animatic is the storyboard with the exact timing of the movie, it allows the movie director to see if the sequence works well in the continuity.
The layout artist will adjust every poses at the model and create the HU.
In this next video, you can see the sequence previously seen in animatic, but after the layout artist work.
The layout artist works also with a design pack including all design references (characters, BG and FX)
The layout artists level in drawing must be very good and they must know what looks good and why.
The LO artist should be able to adapt to any design style. This point is not easy and normally before the start of a new production the team take a time to training to the new style of the movie.
The LO artist must have very good knowledge in composition, perspective and advanced notions of animation.
Understand camera and lighting techniques, know how to use them to affect emotions, know how to tell a story through a shot.
Communication : Work with the director, be able to pick up an idea from the storyboard and work with other artists.
Be adept at using relevant softwares...In our studio we use ToonBoom Harmony.

Watching animation, feature films and having a passion for the cinema.
CONCEPT : with this training program, our students will learn the advanced drawing techniques from sketching to final drawing. 
This program is mainly oriented on drawing.
Audience: ideal for students looking for jobs that require a high level of design, such as animation and layout.

Perspective: Courses and exercises
The different types of perspective
Rules of perspective
The reflections
The shadows
Cheat with perspective
Background design

-COMPOSITION : The rules & broke the rules

-CHARACTERS DESIGN : from cartoon to realistic style
Advanced concepts of living model and anatomy:
Fast poses
The sketch
The styles (realistic, cartoon, caricature …)
Creation and method (rough, rendering, presentation)
Understand and hold the volume without losing the model
The personalities
Attitudes and acting


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Design by Paolo Web Design - Drawings by Fred Serra

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