Tuesday, August 12, 2008

While I'd been cleaning up the animation from the last post, I put these notes for the process I went through up on a forum. I figured they should go here too, since I like to talk about this stuff to as many people as possible. Hm, maybe I should write a book. Like, in ten years time, when I'm absolutely positive that everything I say is true.

I'm only going as far as Lucy's 'yep' animation because I don't have all the time in the world to do the rest, and the other part of the animation I'm not too satisfied with.

First pose - Key:
So this is the first drawing I did. It's a good start since you don't have to animate it right off the bat. You can hold this expression and it'll just look like Lucy's staring at something off camera.

Middle pose - Breakdown:
Now the easy way to get a smooth animation is to first draw the first pose and the final pose, then layer them on top of each other and make a pose that would occur between them based on what you see. Break them down, so to speak, which is how we got the name for breakdown drawings. However, doing exactly that risks making the drawing look mechanical. In my animation, Lucy opens his mouth throughout his motion you can't break down an open mouth when neither pose has anything like that, so you'll have to do some straight ahead animation*. Because this pose isn't a perfect match between the first and last pose due to the opening mouth, this is the second drawing I did, rather than doing the final pose first and drawing this one as a hookup. You get a better feel for the motion this way. In cleaning up the lines however, I did the first and last poses first, then did the middle pose based on the rough drawing. This way it still has the same energy, but keeps the line weight and form consistent. By the way, I haven't studied a great deal in cleanup animation, so I could be going about it the wrong way. But it's been working alright for me so far.

Final pose - Key:
Like the first pose, this one can also be held, so it doesn't have to keep animating. The important thing about keys is that more often than not, they are the most eye-catching poses in the animation, so they should be fairly strong to get a positive reaction from the viewer.

Even when the keys aren't being held and the animation continues, they still tend to pop out the most, with assisted help from the inbetweens. I'll get to them when I have them done. The linework needs to be exact when it comes to the inbetweens, so here's hoping they turn out alright.

*For those of you who weren't aware, there are two types of animation: Straight ahead and Pose to Pose, and you can pretty much guess what each means. Strait ahead means to draw the animation from the beginning, frame by frame by frame straight to the end. Pose to Pose means to draw the important keys first, then filling them in with breakdowns, then filling those breakdowns in with inbetweens until the animation is fully compiled. Straight ahead is more about being in the moment and just going at it with no care of careful precision. Pose to Pose is more about planning and carefully making everything fit. So which one works? Both have their advantages and flaws. Obviously if you animated straight ahead you'd have scale and timing issues, but the poses would probably be very lively. If you animated pose to pose you risk having very few interesting poses, but they'll connect to each other very solidly and in scale. So the best thing to do would be to use both. Get your poses (and even some of your breakdowns) by drawing the whole thing straight ahead, making sure to check back to the first pose to make sure your scaling is still consistent. Then draw between the poses to bridge the whole thing together. This Lucy animation leans a little more towards the Pose to Pose idea, but I have done an animation that blends both methods evenly.

You can see it here.

The keys are drawn straight ahead, more or less. The finished animation is filled in pose to pose.

Here's the keys lined up.

EDIT: this is my 110th post! Know what that means? That's right, nothing!


Mélanie Daigle said...

Great tips Ryan! Doing something nice and educational with your blog, much like my teachers and other old people ;) Did you get Eric Goldberg's book yet? It's GOLD!

Ryan Cole said...

-_- Old people?

O_O Eric Golberg has a book?

I daresay a preorder at the ol' bookstore is at hand!

...I'm like 21, dammit.