The tutorials are not presented in any linear order. You are free to pick and choose what you want to study on a particular day. However, there are certain techniques of animation that crop up, in one way or another, in almost every animation. The tutorials are arranged so that those techniques are discussed in depth during the discussion of similar fundamentals of martial arts. Then, they are taken for granted in other tutorials. As a result, those other tutorials will be much more difficult to understand if you have not yet mastered the fundamentals they require. In these cases, the fundamental tutorials required are considered "prerequisites" to the tutorial requiring them, and have an arrow pointing down onto the tutorials for which they are required.
Within each tutorial, the lessons are broken into five distinct sections. The terminology is vague, since these sections are also called "Tutorials". For example, you could have the "Balance tutorial", which would refer to the whole of all five sections, or you could have the "Zen Balance Tutorial" which refers only to a single section. Generally the meaning is obvious from context.
Three of the sections are meant to present a basic progression of increasing mastery of the particular animation techniques under discussion, and are labelled (somewhat arbitrarily) "Dabble", "Refine" and "Master". A student who wanted to really get a handle on a certain technique would start by finishing the "Dabble" section (and posting their results to the list for commentary... don't forget to do that at every stage, as early feedback can be invaluable in correcting problems before they become ingrained). The "Dabble" section would have given them an understanding of the basic animation principles involved in the movement. The "Refine" and "Master" sections add layers of further detailing. The basic animation remains the same, but the extra details make it progressively more convincing and realistic.
"Dabble" tutorials are meant to be done extremely quickly. Each
is geared so that it should take no more than an hour from start to finish
to complete. The later stages are both more difficult and more varied:
generally, however, no progressive section of any tutorial should take
more than four hours to complete (although you may still benefit from returning
to the same tutorial at a later time, and with more experience).
The other two sections of a tutorial are not progressive. They are meant to explore other aspects of the particular technique which do not fit easily into the progression from beginner to advanced.
The first of these two sections is referred to as the "Zen" tutorial. The basic concept in each of these is to use the animation techniques of the tutorial in order to show something of the emotions, intentions, and mental state of your character. Because these tutorials often deal with intricate and subtle variations of the basic technique, they will generally require that you have finished the Master tutorial in the same technique at least once.
The final section is referred to as the "Wacky" tutorial. These
tutorials examine the extreme versions of the technique being presented.
Although they are sometimes impractical and often hilarious, you should
not mistakenly assume that these tutorials are nothing more than fluff.
While their purpose is generally to divert and amuse, each "Wacky" tutorial
does contain quite a bit of useful animation technique.
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