Sunday, October 30, 2011

Drawing for Animation

For the past 2 weeks, we have had a course with the somewhat misleading name, Drawing For Animation. I say "misleading" because what the course was really all about was animating rather than drawing. With terms such as flow and spacing explained and reflected on in depth, the course was my first entry into advanced animation (as opposed to basic animation where principles are applied rather than really understood). The requirements for the task was to, in a 5 second clip, show Stitch getting a fruit down from a tree. This is a result of the first 5-6 animation passes; from storytelling keys to the first few inbetweens:

The scene is going to be inbetweened, cleaned up and coloured in later classes.

Also, as part of the Drawing For Animation class, we had to each morning do Animation Croquis. We were drawing Stitch for the course, which meant that each morning we would put on a scene from Disney's Lilo and Stitch, stop frame through it 5 frames at a time, whilst spending 15-60 seconds on drawing Stitch off the screen. As the days went by, we shifted focus from drawing the poses and proportions of the character to NOT drawing at all, meaning only ANIMATING the movement and the flow, as shown in the last part of this clip, where the character becomes nothing but flow lines:

Our teacher during this course was a former student at the very same Character Animation education at The Animation Workhop which I'm currently attending, the wunderkind Frederik Villumsen assisted by Henrik S√łnniksen.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Animation Basics 4: The Flour Sack ...and a Thank You

Animating the infamous flour sack is standard procedure when learning animation; it combines most of the basic principles in animation at their most basic states. Besides from being a great excersise it weight and acting, a thing I really learned a lot about whilst doing this assignment was timing. I can now say that I truly understand what is meant with animation being like music. Animation needs the same kind of variation in timing as music needs variation between brief and lasting, high and low notes - this is the way to keep an audience hooked when viewing longer clips. But timing is also crucial when you want to not only express an action but create life. For instance, for how long should a character look at an object before it reacts to it? It should not only look at the object for long enough that the audience understands that it is looking, it should look long enough that the audience believes that the character is seeing, thinking and processing what it's seeing. This is key in creating life; making each action you force upon a character seem like it comes from the character itself. These are just some of the many things I discovered and realized during the 5 days of doing this seemingly simple clip of animation.

The flour sack concludes a 4 week course in basic animation with Mike Polvani (Hades from Disney's Hercules, The Iron Giant, The Little Mermaid) and his wife Cathlin (The Prince fo Egypt, The Powerpuff Girls). They have both offered great support; not only are they great artists, they're great people. Thank you.

Me and Mike Polvani in a badly staged photo - it's just too hard not to smile around these people :-)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Animation Basics 3: Hitting A Table

In one day we had to animate a character (in my case, Trix) who was hitting a table with a hammer. The sequence had to loop but before it did so, it had to last exactly 50 frames. I focused mainly on the timing of the movement rather than the timing of the clip in my first attempt to solve the task:

Then I realized that my animation lasted only 18 frames so it was back to the drawing board - litteraly. Having little time to finish off the assignment, I chose to use limited animation to add another little touch to the movement, along with some more inbetweens (the added inbetweens aren't clean up but I think the result of this - making the character blink - is a nice way of showing exactly where I put in more drawings):

This week, I will finally get to animate the infamous Disney flour sack!