In this post;
Research, Development, Outcomes, Reflection, Bibliography
To create four animations exploring different emotions/personality with consideration to the ’12 Principles of Animation’.
To plan and record research notes/links, I used the table below. Also including brief action breakdowns to remind me where I want my character rig to begin and end, and the actions inbetween. I highlighted what would turn out to be the key and extreme poses. Proved useful for the pose-to-pose method.
Unfortunately, I encountered some issues with the ‘Ultimate Walker Rig’ (it worked for some).
I found two rigs by the same person that created the Walker; ‘Ultimate Beefy’ (LINK) and ‘Ultimate Bony’ (LINK). Comparatively, they are more complex rigs than the Walker, but it worked out to an extent – I enjoyed the availability of acting nuances from the arms, hands and head to boost the personalities.
Before delving in, I made note of ‘The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation’ by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, and the 12 basic principles to achieve an appealing result when bringing your animation to life.
The hang time was something I struggled capturing whilst not ‘floating’ the character. The animation could have been quicker. A straight-ahead method helped me maintain appropriate squash and stretch but may have caused some unnecessary hand movements.
There were positives in the athletic silhouettes but timing needs tweaked.
[‘Survival Kit’] Williams discusses the values of animation methods (straight-ahead and pose-to-pose), noting straight-ahead is where the magic movements happens but can easily become lost in the animation. I preferred to attempt this style with the jump instead of the walk cycles as the cycles normally have a formulaic set of poses to follow. The straight-ahead method offers a natural unpredictability I believed would reflect in an aggressive ape-like movement.
Acting inspiration from ‘Tarzan’ (1999, dir. Chris Buck). Tarzan mimics the animals in the jungle in the absence of human contact, the animators illustrated an appealing dance between man and wild animal shown through his movement. I decided to study the ape inspired squatting poses for the jump;
Discussion of Tarzan’s dynamic movement and personality from the director and animators of ‘Tarzan’;
Aaron Blaise, director of ‘Brother Bear’ and animator for ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has thorough experience with animating animal/humanoid characters. Watching his online tutorial to grasp the sense of weight, timing (hang, drag), overlapping action, and squash and stretch that form a crouched jump of a heavier character. The physics of the character he is animating in the tutorial would be similar to the beefy rig;
To produce a sad silhouette I moved the power centre out in front of the character in the shoulders and head, creating a heartbroken heaviness.
I experimented with staging (in terms of lighting and location) reflecting the mood and personality – low-key lighting on a dingy street scene with one lonely, harsh spotlight highlighting the character. For clarity I made care to use simple shapes, not an overload of props;
During feedback I was told to begin from the inside out (hips) and animate the feet last. Makes sense, I can see where the trouble with the legs stemmed from.
Some brief process notes and images;
Alan Becker’s video explained the technical insight on the timing in a sad walk cycle. I was using the pose-to-pose method for the repetitive timing and structure of a walk cycle;
This was my favourite walk to animate, with an ability to exaggerate and bounce within the steps. This was something I could not apply to the sad walk without lessening the gloomy emotion.
Some brief process notes and images;
Staging and acting inspired by ‘Pink Panther’ animations. A typical house scene as commonly featured in the classic cartoon along with a robbery/intruder narrative. As common in the staging of the earlier cartoons, the frame reads from left to right – clearly shows the character, a direct path and a goal (the safe);
I also looked at animator’s 3D animation reels. The sneaky walk was demonstrated in almost all of the reels I watched. Walks from Mark Heath and Wayne Berg were useful for visualizing the timing of a sneak and overlapping actions of the torso and arms. I knew to take consideration of arcs after inspecting their walks – with exaggerated steps the animation can be obviously bumpy;
I believe the opposite silhouettes and power centres were acceptable, but could have spent more time on the smooth transition between flexing poses.
An example of a character of confidence and vanity – ‘Gaston’ from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (1991, dir. Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise,) comes to mind. Gaston’s creator, Andrea Deja describes the complicated personality process along with exploratory pose sketches on his blog. In all of these sketches, Gaston leads the rest of his body with his chest and shoulders. For “A villain who does’t look, but acts like one”, the clarity of acting was vital;
[The Bar Scene] All the characters in the town have low and heavy silhouettes whilst Gaston’s power centre is up in his chest. This scene highlights Gaston’s strength and arrogance through a sequence of held poses of flaunting and flexing. The use of this juxtaposition of strength and weakness in silhouettes invites the audience to begin viewing him as the worthy (and only) opponent of the beast in the story compared to the other characters.
Also noted the held flexing and some extreme stretch poses – I incorporated similar forms into my animation;
Keith Lango’s blog post on power centres reminded me to think about my keys and what I am trying to illustrate through that single pose;
From Keith’s blog I noted ‘Mike Wazowski’ from ‘Mosters Inc.’ (dir. Pete Docter, 2001) offsets the rest of his body using his head, driving his legs forward. Another example of a character that is distinctly over confident, reflected in a head-strong power centre;
Overall, I am content with the animations – however, this task is encouraging me to work on my animation over summer. While I would have preferred to refine them further, I am glad I can recognize most of the mistakes when reviewing the clips. Inspired by the impressive reels I watched, I am attempting to practice my own sequence of animations over summer and further improve my knowledge in the problem areas.
AGGRESSIVE JUMP ANIMATION
Tarzan, 1999. [DVD] Chris Buck, United States: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.
Lango, K. Keith Lango, Power Centre. [online]. Available from:
Lodigiani, C. The Illusion of Life | Principle of Animation | 12 Basic Principle of Animation – YouTube. [online]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiGY0qiy8fY
Becker, A. 12 Principles of Animation (Official Full Series) – YouTube. [online]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDqjIdI4bF4&t=397s
Anon. Disney 12 Principles. [online]. Available from: https://mycourses.aalto.fi/pluginfile.php/559952/mod_resource/content/1/Disney%2012%20Principles.pdf
Berg, W. Exaggerated Sneak Walk Cycle Animation in Maya 2016 by Wayne Berg – YouTube. [online]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThTZFLfQXVM.
Becker, A. ALAN BECKER – Animating Walk Cycles – YouTube. [online]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y6aVz0Acx0.
Blaise, A. Aaron Blaise Live Stream – “Basic Physics & Timing of an Animated jump" (3/2/17) – YouTube. [online]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb4oiCfinsQ#t=23m.
Anon. The Making Of Tarzan – Part 1 of 3 – YouTube. [online]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drOxNNGwop4.