Thursday, 6 October 2016

CG Artist Toolkit: Animation & Character - Lesson 2 (12 principles of animation)

The following principles were developed by men at the beginning of Walt Disney Studios in 1930s.

1. SQUASH AND STRETCH - gives character the illusion of weight and volume while moving. It is also very useful in animating dialogue and doing facial expressions. It is used in all forms of character animation from a bouncing ball to the body weight of a person walking. This is the most important element and are used a very often.

2. ANTICIPATION - This movement prepares the audience for a major action the character is about to perform, such as, starting to run, jump or change expression. A dancer does not just leap off the floor. A backwards motion occurs before the forward action is executed. The backward motion is the anticipation. Almost all real action has major or minor anticipation.

3. STAGING - A pose or action should clearly communicate to the audience. The effective use of long, medium, or close up shots, as well as camera angles also helps in telling the story. There is a limited amount of time in a film, so each sequence, scene and frame of film must relate to the overall story. Also there should be just one action at the time because more of them at one time is confusing for audience. Background and animation should work together as a pictorial unit in a scene.

4. STRAIGHT AHEAD AND POSE TO POSE ANIMATION - Straight ahead animation starts at the first drawing and works drawing to drawing to the end of a scene. Fast, wild action scenes are done this way. Pose to Pose is more planned out and charted with key drawings done at intervals throughout the scene. Size, volumes, and proportions are controlled better this way, as is the action. The lead animator will turn charting and keys over to his assistant. An assistant can be better used with this method so that the animator doesn't have to draw every drawing in a scene. An animator can do more scenes this way and concentrate on the planning of the animation. Many scenes use a bit of both methods of animation.

5. FOLLOW THROUG AND OVERLAPPING ACTION - When the main body of the character stops all other parts continue to catch up to the main mass of the character, such as arms, long hair, clothing. Nothing stops all at once. This is follow through. Overlapping action is when the character changes direction while his clothes or hair continues forward. The character is going in a new direction, to be followed, a number of frames later, by his clothes in the new direction. Timing becomes critical to the effectiveness of drag and the overlapping action.

6. SLOW-OUT AND SLOW-IN - As action starts, we have more drawings near the starting pose, one or two in the middle, and more drawings near the next pose. Fewer drawings make the action faster and more drawings make the action slower. Slow-ins and slow-outs soften the action, making it more life-like.

7. ARCS - All actions, with few exceptions (such as the animation of a mechanical device), follow an arc or slightly circular path. Especially the human figure and the action of animals. Arcs give animation a more natural action and better flow. Think of natural movements in the terms of a pendulum swinging. All arm movement, head turns and even eye movements are executed on an arcs.

8. SECONDARY ACTION - This action enriches the main action and adds more dimension to the character animation. Example: A character is angrily walking toward another character. The walk is forceful, aggressive, and forward leaning. The leg action is just short of a stomping walk. The secondary action is a few strong gestures of the arms working with the walk. The walk is the primary action and all of the other action are secondary or supporting actions.

9. TIMING - The basics are: more drawings between poses slow and smooth the action. Fewer drawings make the action faster and crisper. A variety of slow and fast timing within a scene adds texture and interest to the movement. Most animation is done on twos (one drawing photographed on two frames of film) or on ones (one drawing photographed on each frame of film). Twos are used most of the time, and ones are used during camera moves such as trucks, pans and occasionally for subtle and quick dialogue animation. Also, there is timing in the acting of a character to establish mood, emotion, and reaction to another character or to a situation. Studying movement of actors and performers on stage and in films is useful when animating human or animal characters.

10. EXAGGERATION - Exaggeration in a walk or an eye movement or even a head turn will give your film more appeal.

11. SOLID DRAWING - The basic principles of drawing form, weight, volume solidity and the illusion of three dimension apply to animation as it does to academic drawing.

12. APPEAL - A live performer has charisma. An animated character has appeal. All characters have to have appeal whether they are heroic, villainous, comic or cute.

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