Animation training - Illyes Academy of Arts

Animation, like a “technical sport”

Illyés Akadémia eszköz parkja

Tamás Patrovits, head of animation department

The applied art part of animation should follow the latest developments in technology. Therefore traditional freehand activities are supplemented with the teaching of computational design programs.  As animation studios all around the world use APPLE computers, we consider it important that our students are able to use and apply the programs that they will need at their workplaces in the future.

Átvilágítós asztalok

Students use iMac computers to acquire the necessary basics of computer animation and graphic design. Every student has a computer with Wacom Intuos tablets as well. We also provide up-to-date projectors, printers, scanners, iPads, a Zoom handy recorders, digital cameras, and studio lightning systems which are also suitable for puppet animation. These features make up one of the most up-to-date educational laboratories in Europe.
In addition to our computer fleet, our educational equipment is complete with “analogue” equipment such as light tables in one of the rooms. It is considered important to get students acquainted with traditional cartoon drawing/animating methods.

Animation Practice

Animációs gyakorlat az átvilágítós asztalonThe basis of animation tasks is continuous drawing and sketching. Traditional drawing isn’t necessary in order to acquire „manual skills”, but to develop our „inner vision” of the human body, which enables us to  understand the proportions, shapes, colours,and the different perspectives.  During the drawing tasks,  students design the movements and sequence of moves  of humans, animals and objects. They also learn the basic principles of dynamic and realistic moving, as well as key- and inbetween-drawing: all these based on the knowledge learned from paper-based animation, the history of which goes back to 100 years. The lighting-desk, the peg-bar (a tool which enables the superimposition of papers) and the exposure-list are indispensable for the tasks, as well as a mirror for the observation of our own mimicry.

Animációs gyakorlatIn the course of figure-design the students design animation characters with different techniques such as drawing, paper-cutting, computer and puppet  design, which have to fulfill the requirements of various animation genres (own-film, cartoon, commercial, spot, Internet animation, series, full-length film and multimedia animation). The students make view-design, hand-made and computer backgrounds, layouts and scenarios on their own or in groups.

They are given complex assignments so they can resolve any animation task by themselves, starting from the script all the way to the actual making of the film.


Animation theory

The word ‘animation’ comes from the expression ‘anima’ which is a Latin word for ‘soul’. To animate means to encourage someone, to put spirit into somebody. (In entertaining, the job of animators is to cheer up the guests, to enable them to spend their holiday in undisturbable peace and active relaxation.)

The motion picture animator animates lifeless drawings, objects, as  the 12 or 30 steady pictures per second coming right after each other, creates the illusion of actual movements. However to reach the perfect illusion of a movement, we shouldn’t only rely on the inertia of our eyes, we also need the background knowledge of making a motion picture. All of these mean a different profession within the field of animation making. The animator – that is, the movement designer – benefits from his acting skills during the planning of a move; the character designer uses his styling ability to convert reality into graphic objects, lines, colors and dots. The compositor, the computer camera-man of the animation, can only do a good job, if he’s aware of the right trim, camera motion and has a sense of rhythm. But today’s multimeda developer, who’s making applications onto cell phones, internet or an iPad, can’t forget about the basic ideas of animation either.

The subject called Theory of Animation acquaints students with the rules and crafts of the different professions within animation as well as the differences and the similarities between the old and the new technologies..

If you think about it, animation making requires a lot of time, so the people who choose this form of applied arts – which does not only occur in the sphere of art, but can be easily found in our every day life – need knowledge, long term learning and persistence if they wish to do it with stable professional skills and absolute precision.

Storyboard making

Story Board

Every animation film and the most short films have got a story board. At first sight, it is similar to comics, but its content is more like an illustrated version of a literary script. The lessons lead students from the basics of visual communication (spot, line, blob, perspective representation) all the way to the motion picture.

With the help of films we analyse the picture-sound rhythm, the importance of the sequencing of pictures, the movement cuts, the camera settings and camera moves. The storyboard of the films to be made is discussed during the lessons in a consultational manner.


Audio recording and post production

Hangfelvétel és utómunkaThis subject introduces students to the acoustic world of motion pictures. The world of sound made with great care does not just mean a valuable auditive experience for the receiver, but also has a great effect on the rhythm, the dramaturgy, the overall audio-visual effect, and the aesthetic value of the animation or feature film. This is why it is important to think about  the music, the dialogue, and and the noises right from the beginning.

During the lessons, students are introduced to the most simple recording equipment, and then make noise recordings that can be used for the upcoming exam. With the help of the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software, they learn the technique of sound cutting and sound editing and design sound montages which consist just a few bands for the motion capture. Music dramaturgy and sound mixing is also covered at a basic level as well as the introduction of the mono, stereo and stereophonic sound in a recording studio. Practical lessons are also supplemented with the analysis of short film parts and soundtracks.



Until the 1990s, the primary shooting prop for animation meant the tricktable and the rostrum camera which was able to shoot frames. The camera-man of a cartoon exposed the so-called „cells”  – those transparent and quite expensive perspex sheets on which the movements of the cartoon figures were painted – one by one, with long, fatiguing labour. 12-24 images per second!  Even the famous actor, Roger Moore  admired the works of the painting-drawing section in the once famous  Pannónia Film Studio of the 1970s, where as many as 30-40 workers were needed for one animation movie.

Program ismeret

But with the evolution of computational technology the tricktable and the cell-technology basically became part of the virtual museum of animation.

Nowadays not only the coloring is substituted by computer programs, but computer knowledge has become an indispensable part of character design, background painting, cutting, sound post production and even the planning of movements.

Throughout the course the emphasis is on the ADOBE program family (Photoshop, Flash, After Effects, Illustrator, Premiere). However, special inking and painting programmes (TVP Animation Pro, Anime Studio Pro and Toon Boom Storyboard Pro) as well as other animation or motion testing softwares are demonstrated, too.


Plastic art

Kinga Ráthonyi

plasztikaDuring the course of this subject, students get familiar with the fundamental differences between 2D and 3D works. Light- shade,  surfaces and colours are discussed, and their sculpturesque effects are observed. Manual work  is an essential part of the course as well as getting acquainted with the tools and materials used. Projects carried out manually are often further developed with the help of computer techniques.

The projects we work on  during the two years are based on one another. By the end of the second year students can acquire the knowledge needed to solve basic 3D problems occurring int he making of animation movies. The curriculum specifically aims at acquiring the necessary background knowledge for animation work.