Animation Quick Reference
to create believable characters
Be specific as possible!! - Generalism is the enemy of Art.
Clarity, honesty, sincerity, simplicity
Keep it Simple!!
Clarity is the key; It must read clearly!!
Simplify and Clarify!!
Exaggerate for the sake of CLARRITY!!
One shot, one idea!
Behind every great animator is another greater animator - Ray Ross
Iterations is the key to great animation - Keith Osbourne
Get there sooner, stay there longer - T. Dan Hofstedt
Everything in animation is the bouncing ball - T. Dan Hofstedt
Animators come from all walks of life
Use your background, whatever it is, to be a more insightful artist
Find your inspiration
All artists need their sources of inspiration. Animation, in particular, is a demanding and sometimes painstaking process, so we need even more inspiration than many other types of artists. It's important to find what fires up your imagination and surround yourself with it.
The animators you are hearing from love animation
We love animation. We do. It's a passion for us, and we pursue it constantly. Not a day goes by where we aren't animating, thinking about our shot, jotting down ideas and thumbnails, or at least observing the world around us to be better prepared for our work. We love the art, and we love the job, and we're all extremely excited to share it with you!
We are all still learning
Animation is far too complex for any of us to be able to say that we "know how to animate." We will be learning for the rest of our lives. There will always be another layer we can peel away to learn even more about animation, no matter how long you work in the art form. Don't be intimidated by this ? instead embrace it! It's the most exciting thing about our art.
If you're reading this right now, you're most likely an actor, so you might as well get used to it and start studying the art of acting. Animators *are* actors. An actor's job is to communicate, as believably as possible, the actions, thoughts, and emotions of their characters -- silently, if required! Your job as an animator is no different. We are all actors; the only difference is that after we've delved into the psyche of the character and found our performance, we need to break that performance and emotion down into tiny bite-sized 24 frame-per-second chunks.
Definition of animation
The dictionary says animation is "The act, process, or result of imparting spirit, motion, or activity." That's not a bad definition, but to us, animation is "the art of breathing life into something that is dead." Think about that for a second ? that's pretty powerful stuff. You create life. You imbue characters with emotion and thought. You take something that's made out of bits and bytes and ones and zeroes that has no brain and has no heart, and you give that mesh of math a soul and dreams and emotions. That's a pretty magical thing, and you won't find many moments more satisfying that seeing your work finished and truly living.
Observe, observe, observe!
Animators must be masters of the art of observation. Practice your observational skills by carrying a sketchbook. See someone do an interesting gesture? Sketch it or write it down. Someone's slouching in a cool pose at the airport? Try doodling it down and really pay attention in particular to the relationship between the hips, spine, shoulders, and head. Remember, file away as much as you can into the "filing-cabinet" in your head ? virtually anything and everything can come in handy when you're animating a shot someday down the road.
Video Reference is not cheating!
For some reason, some beginning animators think looking at video reference is "cheating." Nothing could be further from the truth. Nearly all of the best animators in the world regularly study video reference. Do they copy that reference verbatim? Absolutely not. They study that reference and then apply the principles of animation to the movement and timing in order to push that mundane "real world" motion into something more entertaining, more memorable, and more evocative.
It's the art, not the tool
Animation is an art form. If you are creating your characters on paper, then the pencil is your tool. If you're doing stop-motion, the puppet will be your tool. And if you're doing CG animation, the computer is your tool. All of these "tools" are merely different methods of putting the same art, the same performance, onto the screen. Don't get too hung up on your "tools" until you've mastered what's important first ? the ART.
Almost nothing can ruin a career faster than putting someone else's work on your demo reel. Many of us have seen people attempt this, and know firsthand how quickly word spread to every major studio, and how drastically it can affect someone's chances of getting an animation job. Stealing is bad. Don't do it.
Stanislavski's SystemUnderstanding Inspiration
So an actor, who has no control over his subconscious, could, by essentially
working backwards, access this inner life by determining the external actions that are
tied to the inner life. By doing a series of actions, the actor would come to think and feel
the same thoughts that would be experienced by the character.
Who, What, Where, When
Plot, Script, Time, Place,
External Factors that determine the environment and setting,
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The overall, or overwhelming, desire of the character
Every character, just like every person, has something they want or need, and this super
objective will drive every moment of the play.
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Each scene will have its own objective, and each of these objectives needs to lead to and be a part of the super objective.
1. Always need to be positive. It is impossible to play a negative objective. How could you not do something?
2. The objective always must be expressed in the form of an action verb.
The stronger, more immediate, and more visceral the objective, the better.
Wipe passive verbs or verbs that are states of being from your
vocabulary. Don’t think, “I am angry.” Think, “I need to attack.” Don’t think, “I am sad.”
Think, “I need to mourn.” Don’t think, “I am happy.” Think, “I need to rejoice.”
3. An objective needs to be something that is immediately attainable. If it is not
something that you can obtain within the scene, then you can’t play it.
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An obstacle is anything that stands in the way of the character achieving he objective.
Without obstacles there is no drama.
Obstacles could be anything - objects, people, time, knowledge, money, or understanding.
They can be real and palpable, or they can be emotional parts of the subconscious.
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The "Magic if"
Ask yourself the magic if: If I were this character in
this situation operating with these objectives and obstacles, how would I behave?
Tactics are things that characters do to
overcome their obstacles and reach their objectives. Tactics are specific action verbs that
are developed from the use of the magic if.
Just like objectives, tactics must be strong, personal, positive action verbs.
They cannot be passive states of being. Action is imperative, because acting is doing, not being
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The stages, popularly known by the acronym DABDA, include: Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance
To convince someone to borrow somthing of theirs, your tactics could be to butter up, to request, to reason, to
instill guilt, to beg, to demean, and finally to cry.
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Beats / Bites
Changing tactics is a beat.
Stanislavski used the example of eating a turkey to explain beats. (Actually he used
the word “bit,” but it was mistranslated into English to “beat” and that became the
accepted word choice.)
He said that you couldn’t eat a whole turkey in one bite.You first must cut it up into
the different pieces.
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Commedia Dell' Arte
As explained in Chapter 1, Commedia dell’Arte is a form of theater based
on stock characters and improvised scenarios. Understanding these characters, their
masks, their walks, and lazzi (comic “bits” or “takes” a character can perform over and
over), is important for the CG animator because these characters form the basis for character
types seen in today’s animation and even in live-action films.
Young Lovers or innamorati
They are more in love with the idea of love
than with each other. They are always star crossed and will try anything to get together.
Unfortunately, they are unable to do this by themselves and require the assistance of
other characters. The drama that ensues from
their attempts to join together is often a central
plot line of Commedia...
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Older Middle to Upper Class
There were several stock old men characters in Commedia. They represented the learned
and merchant classes. These characters had more status and wealth than the others.
They were often parents to the lovers and sometimes stood in the way of their children’s
amorous relations. They were usually rivals of one another.
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Pantalone is a wealthy merchant who has risen to the top of the society within the
Commedia world by virtue of his wealth. He is in charge. He controls his servants and
his children. He is driven by greed and spends time and energy protecting his wealth.
He is too cheap to provide a dowry for his daughter. His whole world revolves around
buying and selling everything. Often plots reflect his underlings or children trying
to put something over on this character, who is easily blinded by his greed...
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Il Dottore is the long-winded academic. He actually knows very little about anything but
could fool you with his talk. He is incredibly self-important and loves to hear himself
speak continually. He is a quack and a pretender. He wants to appear as a man driven
by intellect but in actuality he is motivated by his carnal appetites for women, food,
and drink. Like Pantalone, he too is a letch and can be very stingy, but unlike Pantalone,
he doesn’t have any money to protect. He is usually a widower or bachelor. He often
gives other characters a break from their high-energy antics with his selfindulgent
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Although there are many different servants, or zanni, a Commedia scenario always contains
at least two. One is clever and sly while the other is slow of body and wit. The zanni
were the lowest class in society. They are servants to everyone, but often cause great confusion
and chaos from their lowly positions...
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Arlecchino is usually a servant to Pantalone. He is very high energy, possessing great agility.
He has enough wit to plot schemes, but not enough intelligence to unleash plots that
will ever work out.
Brighella is the highest or most important of the zanni. He is a workingman but not necessarily
a servant. He is usually the keeper of a shop or an inn. He can, though, take on
any job at any time and is willing to do so...
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Colombina, the female zanni, is a lady’s maid to the innamorata. Unlike the other zanni
she is self-educated and level headed...
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Il Capitano is a loner and a pretender. He probably never was a captain. He is a boastful
braggart, telling mythic tales of his past battles and conquests.
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Like Capitano, Pulcinella is also a loner.
Usually he is depicted as an outsider. He
can be a servant or an employer.
A description of character and the development of muscular tensions, whch create body shapes.
The mind and body are one, not 2 separate entities.
Developed by psychotherapist Alexander Lowen, it involves muscular tensions and character types that can be recognized by their external appearances...
Most individuals are a mixture of several different character types with one type dominating. It is rare to find a pure example of a character
type in a human being.
This energy has to travel through layers in one’s mind and body to reach other human beings, where this energy can be either deposited or drawn back into the body.
The first layer is the emotional layer, followed by the muscular layer, and lastly the ego layer.
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Alexander Lowen’s book, Bioenergetics (Penguin Press, 1994),
-rejection by the mother as infant -infant perceived this as a threat -fears reaching out, demanding, selfassertion will lead to death.
-infant withdraws and feels no joy -often have nonemotional behavior -outbursts of rage sometimes night terrors. dominant feelings are terror and fury -To deal with negative emotions, the schizoid will disassociate from either reality or from his body. This means that he could have an immense fantasy life if disassociated from reality or a highly developed abstract intelligence if disassociated from the body.
Heath Ledger’s The Joker, The Dark Knight
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suffered some deprivation of the mother due to her death, depression, or loss of some kind. While the oral type tends to be an early developer, her childhood is often filled with depressive episodes. If she has secondary disappointmentsor loss of a father or sibling, she can become bitter. Because the oral type is very much of an energy hole, they are not generally the most
interesting of characters for dramatic work, so they are somewhat rare as a pure type in either live-action or animated work.
Violet Parr, Elastigirl, The Incredibles
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In his youth, the psychopath’s parents do not allow the child to have a separate identity from them. The parents often give to the child only for their own selfish reasons and not for the benefit of the child; thus if the child asks for something (a cookie or toy, for example) and this is not in the parent’s interest at that moment, the parent(s) will attack or denigrate the child as the child’s expression of need does not coincide with the parent’s desires. Consequently, the psychopath character comes to
feel that reaching out or asserting a need leaves him vulnerable to being ignored or slapped down for this need. The psychopath will then either rise above the need or will manipulate the parent into giving him what he wants.
The psychopath is a good character for dramatic work
Syndrome, The Incredibles
Jessica Rabbit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit
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Love and acceptance come to the masochist child from his parents with extreme pressure to earn it. Any resistance to the parents is crushed; therefore, the masochist experiences guilt for expressing any independence. Usually the masochist has a dominating and sacrificing mother and a passive, submissive father. The parents often place great emphasis on eating and defecation, so the masochist develops a fear of sticking out the oral and anal cavities and humiliation at letting anything out.
Sidekicks or bad guys
Cliff Clavin, Cheers
Anton Ego, Ratatouille
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Historically the rigid character does not suffer any infantile trauma. Her troubles begin in her early erotic striving. The parent of the opposite sex disallows any physical expression of love so there are no hugs and kisses for comfort or joy. Since the child is then limited in her expressions and feelings of love, pride takes the place of intimate contact. For the rigid, love and pride become the same thing. The outcome for the rigid is often classic narcissistic behavior: too much love for and pride in the self, at the expense of relationships with other people.
Examples of the rigid type abound, from movie presidents to military figures.
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Noone is a pure type. Must combine types.
Psychopath and masochist, -“Bowler Hat Man” Meet the Robinsons combines the “C” shape of the masochist with the overblown top half and very tiny bottom half of a psychopath. In addition, Bowler Hat Man combines the scheming desire to control the future and wreck his friend Lewis’ life (psychopath behavior) with the façade of pleasantness and the ultimate selfsabotage of his own plans that are the hallmarks of the masochist type.
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Micheal Chekhov Techniques
Clarify the external image and the internal will follow. Image is all.
To convey a sense of realistic movement, characters must portray a believable psychological depth. His technique is a psychophysical exploration of character development and is utilized by actors to create distinct, full, and highly charged characters.
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Physical Awareness and the Four Brothers
There are four tenets, often referred to as the Four Brothers, that provide a
great base from which to operate when using any of the Chekhov techniques:
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Feeling of Ease
Don’t let there be any unnecessary tension in the body. Only use muscles
needed to perform a task but always keep the entire body engaged in the action. The performance
should not look like work.
Feeling of Form
Keep asking yourself, “What is the image I am making?” Is this image
conveying what I mean to convey? Is what is physically occurring how I saw it in my
head? Is the performance readable by the audience?
Feeling of Beauty
Quite simply, every movement you make is a little work of art. Enjoy
that and allow that joy to lead you. For animators, who spend far more time on a given
gesture than most actors would, this feeling of joy can get lost in the minutia of details of
a motion; remember the joy and beauty of the poses and motion as you perform them.
Feeling of Whole
You should always have an awareness of the group picture and your
place in the larger artistic composition, whether you are a solo artist or working in a large
studio to produce your work.
“See it. Be it.” By this, the teacher is suggesting
that the actor must first get the image clearly in their head, down to every minute detail,
then, using their imagination, they place the image in the space before them and step into
the image (like putting on a costume), allowing this new body to lead them. The actor
has quite literally “taken on the body”—incorporated themselves into the character they
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“What is the atmosphere the character has been placed in?” Another way to ask this
might be, “What is the tone of the scene?”
As animators you must be aware of the physical and emotional reactions that occur
It is also important to note that a great deal of delicious dramatic conflict can be
mined from the moment when two atmospheres collide. According to Chekhov, two
atmospheres cannot be in the same place at once. One must always win. That competition
is the heart of the interaction: who will win? Think of moments when two atmospheres collided.
Qualities and Sensations
The important factor for Chekhov is that by assigning the correct quality to a movement, he believes one unlocks the necessary
emotional response for the actor/character, thereby realizing psychological depth via external poses, or signs (semiotics), and motions. It follows from Chekhov’s observations that if an animator assigns the correct quality to a movement a character is performing,
the audience will ascertain the desired emotional state that fits the context of the scene. Your practice with qualities and sensations will ensure that your characters truthfully inhabit the space around them and seem to be reacting with the appropriate emotional
and psychological response to the atmosphere and actions around them.
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Archetypal qualities of movement
Leaves a firm imprint in the space around it: associated with earth, it is as if the air was clay and
the body of the character molds into it. (Older people tend to be molders.)
A body that moves with a flowing quality, moves fluidly from position to position.
A body moving with a flying quality is suspended and supported by the air but still
moves strongly forward. (Think of a bird in flight.)
Finally, with a radiating quality, associated
with fire, the power of each movement extends beyond the physical and radiates
outward into the environment.
Qualities an actor assigns to the
execution of a particular movement
Sensation (The 3 Sisters)
Bodys sense relationship to the earth.
Qualities + Action = Emotion
Quality is a physical quality (quickly, powerfully, slowly etc.) Adverbs work well.
Action is an action
For example, consider two alternatives to create anger in a character:
first, you can simply say, “I want an angry character here, who punches a wall.” This, however,
will likely generate a forced animation in which it is obvious the character is trying
to present the emotional quality “anger,” rather than psychological truth. Instead, using
Chekhov’s formula, you could say “I will have the character punch (action) forcefully
(physical quality).” The combination of these terms creates anger: punch + forcefully =
The animator is in an excellent position to take advantage of this formula, as it is
image that holds the key for the animator to create a believable emotional moment for
the character. Thinking as the character, you must execute the animation with a clear
action and a strong quality that leads the viewer to place an emotional context around
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Will/Objective and the Psychological Gesture
Knowing a character’s objective and motivation is the key to all that character’s
action. What is the characters superobjective?
What does the character want, not just in this moment, but also in life? What is its driving force
that colors everything it does? According to this theory, no character action can be fully initiated
unless you understand your character’s superobjective or, as Chekhov often refers to
it, “the will.”
Chekhov’s study of the psychophysical relationship led him to consider that the actor
must first abstractly explore the character’s objective/will through physical image and
then work toward internalizing that image, after which the image would subconsciously
drive the actor’s performance.
11 basic archetypes gestures under which most human action would fall. Compare these to Rudolf
Laban’s qualities of movement.
Physicalise the characters will through an external full body gesture, fully formed and often looks
painful or grotesque. "Veil" or soften the gesture, incorporating it internally. External becomes
subtle or realistic. Becomes, in essence, a crystallization of the character’s will.
Depending on the style (cartoony to realistic) will depend on how much you veil.
Gesuture can come from anything and anywhere, not just the archetypes. It's all about what the
internal pushes out to the external.
Could be taken from:
- a gesture the character performs while doing their job
- the habits of an animal
- based on a prop they use
Centers, Imaginary Body, and Grotesques
Put an “imaginary body” over the top of the underlying psychology.
Create the imaginary body by identifying the character’s center and the use of the grotesque.
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The center is that part of the body from which all impulses to move originate.
The imaginary body or The Grotesque
Based heavily on imagery.
The character’s body must be fully seen in the animator’s mind before being able to be incorporated into the body.
In order to fully incorporate the body, it is necessary for the animator to maximize the manner in which the body, takes
on the image. Chekhov refers to the full-on physical incarnation of an imaginary body as the grotesque.
The animator must take it to its extreme, then, little by little, “veil” the grotesque until it becomes more natural and second
nature, fitting within the world of the scene and movie.
Examples: 7 dwarves; personality is their body type
A way to get to the heart of the grotesque is to use abstract images with on relationship; visualize the character in the
mind’s eye; “Her head is like a stalk of celery, her eyes are red marbles, her torso is a washing machine, her legs are springs", actor takes on the characteristics.
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Characters change. They move forward in life and learn from mistakes;
What is the character’s arc, or journey, in a given piece, and the transformation involved?
Arc's may be huge sudden, physical or very subtle, the psychological gesture of PUSH may arc to PULL by the end.
Audience love to see change.
Character can have to faces, polarities.
Can learn a lot from the exploration from one to the other;
Essential to CLEARLY define a characters movement and motivation while getting from one state to the other.
While moving from A to B consider the "four brothers" feeling of the whole; in state A there is a little of state B in there. In state B at he end there is still a little A too.
Must flesh out each PG at any given moment between A and B, even (and especially) when the
gestures are in competition with one another. This ability to work with and within polarities reinforces the character’s essential qualities as well as his character arc, or journey throughout the piece.
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Essences or Essential Qualities
An essence can be described as an intrinsic nature or indispensible quality of
an object, either living or nonliving.
An essence is an essential or main quality of some thing, as we perceive it. It is the intersection
between the object itself (such as a giant sequoia tree) and a perceiver (such as a
city girl seeing one for the first time), so the essence is any of a range of justifiable terms
for the most fundamental nature of the object.
Can use animal essences as an idea for the foundation of character development.
Everything has an essence.
All things carry essential qualities or essences, but the exact one an individual will pick out from the list of possibilities has to do with that person as well as the object. One might say a sports car is "arogant", and another might say it's sexy. The terms must be generally accepted though.
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Being the Object
2 ways to explore
Be the oject and then become more human
The actor rememvers the essential qualities of the object.
There are advantages for both, as well as disadvantages for both.
Laban Effort Analysis
Rudolf Laban was a dancer and movement theorist who developed a
means of analyzing movement that has been used in many different movement disciplines
and even in industry. The element of his work that has most direct application to
actors and animators is his focus on “effort,” which analyzes the intention and quality
of a movement through the examination of weight, space and tempo/rhythm. Laban
has identified eight different Effort shapes that describe different combinations of these
movement qualities. It is useful for the animator to study and learn to embody these
Effort shapes as a means of developing character, as these different types of movement
can be mapped to characters, giving them distinct, easily understandable patterns of
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Movement Continua. Because it's a continua,
one must determine where on the scale it falls.
Then an effort shape can be determined.
Different shapes determine different qualities
which inform personality and character.
Combine shapes during a character performance
can suggest intent or objective for a character.
Forest Gump when asking if son is disabled, gets
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Strong Vs Light
Weight and energy
Direct Vs Indirect (Felxable)
Movement and/in space...
Indirect or flexable could refer to external travel from A to B
or an internal one; a flexable back for example, straight or
Bowler Hat Man, from Meet the Robinsons, is a very flexible
character, while the Road Runner is direct
The waiter from The Tripplets of Belleville
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Strong; Flexable; Sustained
Could be a movement or a complete character. He moves in a strong flexable and sustained way. Bowler
Hat Man in Meet the Robinsons.
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Light; Direct; Quick; Opposite to Wring.
Slightly weaker character, can get easily startled and erratic. Can be rigid, repressed or intellectual.
Stong; Direct; Sustained
Ironing. As a character it would be more direct (not hidden) then a wringer, Mr Incredible is a Presser.
Light; Flexible; Quick; Opposite to Press.
Character type is fun, a comic relief charater. Airy, frivolous and easy-going. Ineffectual with damage therefore, it's playful. Dori from Nemo. Animate by breaking joints. parts. Goal is to create a looser character that’s a lot of fun to animate and to watch.
Strong; Flexible; Quick
Sword. Alertness and agility in the character. Boldness, bravardo and recklessness. Poised to strike.
To animate, make sure there are near stillness between the slashes.
Light; Direct; Sustained; Opposite to Slash.
Exude Grace. Relaxed and in control. Eve from Wall-e is a glider. Frollo from the Hunch Back Disney.
Strong; Quick; Direct
It is strong, decisive, and aggressive. Road Runner when it eats bird seed: the “bam-bam-bam-bam”
Punchers walk and move in quick, but purposeful motions (not spastic motion, which is a different
type), so animating them is all about driving motions and fairly sharp changes in direction.
Light; Flexible; Sustained; Opposite to Punch
Qualities of ease and aloofness. Can be peaceful, but not necessarily, Queen of Hearts in Alice in W. and Ursula in the little mermaid are floating but not peaceful.
Can have ease and calm or arrogence and superiority.
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Sustained Vs Quick
Rythm and tempo
-Sustained; happens in a continuious tempo or Rhythm,
consistant and equal. It could move from slow to fast or vise
Vera. Evenly spread the energy over time.
-Quick movements contain bursts of energy.
Alba Emoting is a technique for exploring an emotional state in a purely
physical manner. It allows an actor to release and control emotions in a safe and effective
way. The key to the technique is the breath. An actor learns a breath pattern for an emotion
and then adds in a series of tensions or relaxations and a postural attitude. When
breath, tension, and posture are mastered, the actor will experience the emotion. This
technique is particularly useful for animators for two reasons. First, it helps animators
understand and experience the changes in breath and muscular tensions or relaxations
that occur when experiencing an emotional state. Second, as this is an “outside-in” technique
that generates emotions purely through physical effects (as opposed to having an
emotion and then having a physical reaction to it), this technique can create highly convincing
emotions in a nonliving character without the animator having to guess at what
looks correct for that particular emotion.
Bloch claims that there are 6 primary emotions: anymore are combinations (guilt).
Most individuals spend most of their time in only several patterns.
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Tenderness is the emotion of love that is not sexual.
It is experienced between a parent and child or two
very close friends. It could be called agape (Greek for love of God - Charity) love.
-Deep, Relaxed and easy
-inhale and exhale through the nose. Slight pause between. Exhale sight longer.
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Tensions and Relaxations
- The eyes are focused gently on the horizon and seem to twinkle
- The muscles on the outer corners of the eyes are drawn back to meet the ears
- The corners of the mouth turn up into a slight smile as if trying to meet the corners of the drawn back eyes. This smile
broadens and grows as the emotion grows.
- Head tipped slightly to one side
- Chin tucked slightly in or down
- The postural attitude is relaxed, slightly forward and in
- Often the arms even reach out to draw another person in to an embrace
Interestingly, low levels of this pattern are experienced
while in deep concentration or focus on one subject
- breathing in and out through the nose
- Tense and sharp breaths
- Equal in time
- May be long or short
- Low levels of anger are longer, high levels are shorter and faster
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- The body is tight and tense
- The lower eyelids rise to narrow the eyes
- The forehead remains flat and is displayed prominently
- The lower jaw is tense and moves forward
- lips are pursed together
- forward and tense
Sexual Love (Receiver)
- Inhalation and exhalation through the mouth
- deep and full
- undulating the spine from the pelvis all the way up through the skull
- They can be shorter and longer
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- jaw is opened and relaxed
- Slight smile on the face
- head is gently pulled back so that the neck might be exposed
- focus of the eyes is soft
- almost unfocused toward a higher point
- eyes are partly closed as if you were looking through the veil of your eyelashes
- relaxed, open and receiving with the body relaxing slightly backward in expectancy
- body and focus is slightly more forward
- upper teeth are slightly exposed
- begins with a large sudden inhalation through the mouth that is never completely exhaled
- At the same time that the inhalation occurs, the stomach muscles tense and suck in so that, rather than take breath into the stomach (or lower lungs to be precise) all of the breath remains in the chest (or upper lungs)
- breath is held tightly in the chest
- pattern continues with quick and erratic small inhalations and exhalations without the breath ever fully leaving the body until the emotion is expelled and the tension released
pg 243 Action! Acting Lessions for CG Animators
- big drop of the jaw
- mouth remaining open through the whole pattern, forming a big round “O”
- chin tucks in
- eyes bulge out
- pattern is dependent on the eyeballs almost bugging out of the head without forehead involvement.
- The eyes seem to almost lift out of their sockets to see better, get more light, and provide better peripheral vision
- body is incredibly tense in this pattern
- All muscles are rigid and pulling back
- rigid with tension, ready for retreat
- inhaled through the nose and exhaled through the mouth
- starts with a short inhale through the nose that still needs to be big enough to drop down into the belly
- Even though the inhale is short and fairly quick, it still needs to remain relaxed and easy.
- exhalation is actually a series of short exhales through the mouth with stops in-between each of the exhales.
- The series of short exhalations with stops progresses to the point where your abs are squeezing out the final remnants of breath in the body to less than what you would normally consider empty, or out of breath. It is best to begin this pattern with the exhalation and then progress to the inhalation instead of starting with the inhalation as in all of the previous patterns
pg 245 Action! Acting Lessions for CG Animators
- body is very relaxed
- eyes look more levelly, ready to connect with others. The forehead needs to stay relaxed and uninvolved
- Try not to collapse at the sternum in this pattern, rather keeping your posture upright, or you will end up mixing joy with another pattern
- open, relaxed, and silly
- relaxed, open, and floppy
- Begin with the exhalation, which is through the mouth, and then progresses to inhalation through the nose
- exhalation is slow and relaxed
- It is a very internal, withdrawn sort of pattern that is difficult to share or connect with someone else.
- The breath is a long slow exhalation to the point where you are completely out of air and the diaphragm goes into spasm
- The inhalation follows as a series of short sniffs through the nose.
- The sniffs are quick and fairly tense while the exhalation is slow and relaxed.
pg 246 Action! Acting Lessions for CG Animators
- body needs to remain relaxed
- The eyes are in a soft focus toward the ground
- The jaw drops, and the corners of the mouth turn down on the exhale.
- On the inhale, the space between the eyebrows is pinched up and together.
- Once established, this pinch remains through the entire pattern.
- relaxed, with the chest collapsed forward toward the ground.
Helps to release any emotion felt. It's a safety mechanism for release
- Breath is equal in and out; in the nose, out through straight lips. Deep relaxed and easy.
- Face free from tension
- Eyes focused on distant point on horizon. Focus soft and relaxed.
- Neutral stance
Is a mix of the primary.
Jealousy is a mix of Sexual Love and Fear or Anger, or all 3 with a little bit of Sadness.
Guilt could be a mix of Anger or Fear mixed with sadness, or even sexual Love mixed with fear.
To find these secondary feelings, try to break down any given feeling into its constituent primary emotions.
You can even think of these secondary feelings as a kind of emotional “lighting setup”: mix red and blue and you get a certain shade of purple light; mix fear and sadness and you might get a certain shade of guilt.
Emotions aren’t as simple as combining lights, so there is no one “correct” answer, but it is still valuable to think of how the primary emotions blend together to create a final secondary one.
The step-out is designed to further release and clear any emotion that will come from the patterns.
- Start in the neutral standing position.
- Begin by achieving the neutral breath pattern.
- On exhale, bring your hands together in front of you, clasp your hands.
- Slowly, on your next inhale, raise your arms (hands still clasped) up over your head.
- When your clasped hands are directly over your head, bend your elbows and drop your clasped hands behind your head.
- You should be continuing the inhale as you do this. When your elbows are bent above your head and your clasped hands are behind it, hold your breath while you squeeze your hands together.
- Continue holding your breath as you release the squeeze but keep your hands clasped.
- Then begin an exhale while you straighten your elbows so that your clasped hands are once again above your head.
- Continue the exhalation as you lower your arms to the starting position.
- Just as in all neutral breaths, the length of time for the inhalation and the exhalation while raising and lowering your arms should be exactly the same.
- To complete the step-out, the sequence needs to be repeated two more times for a total
of three times.
- Then gently stroke your face to remove any lingering tension.
-Finally you need to move or shake out your body and make sound. It is important to flex or bend your spine in this move and to release sound from the body.
This completes the step-out and, with practice, will allow you to come to a balanced and neutral emotional place.
Find contrast in personalities
eg, the black security guard from 'a chance with meatballs'
Strong contrasting personalities on screen are more appealing to watch-
A male with a female
A small fat midget with a tall skinny person (a bit cliche). Search for something real.
Jay Jackson’s Animation Notes
Questions to ask to build character
What is my name?
How old am I?
Where am I from?
Where do I live now?
Who do I live with?
Am I married?
Do I have children?
What are my parents like?
What is my most outstanding physical characteristic?
What is my philosophy of life?
What is my immediate goal?
What is my main problem?
What do I need to be happy?
(Fill in the blank) When I fall in love, I always ______.
Sometimes, I can’t do _______.
I can’t live without ______.
What type of voice do I have?
What is my occupation?
What is my favorite food?
Do I have any bad habits?
What are my mannerisms (physical and psychological)?
What are my idiosyncrasies? (What do I always tend to do?)
What are my handicaps?
What is my favorite type of music?
What is my most treasured possession?
What are my favorite games?
What religion am I?
What was my schooling like?
What is my favorite book?
Do I have any phobias?
How is my love life?
How do I greet people?
What are my special talents?
Who do I confide in?
Who is the most important person in my life?
What is my favorite movie? TV show?
What makes me laugh?
Who do I idolize?
What do I want from others?
What is my earliest memory?
What is my favorite memory?
Questions about how your character views food
Is it something they look forward to?
Is it something that gets in the way?
Do they eat becasue they have to?
Do they eat when they get depressed? Does this make them fat?
Does getting fat makes them more depressed? Fat Bastard
Is food a pleasurable thing?
What kinds of food do they like? Sweet tooth? Savoury?
An aptitude is an innate inborn ability to do a certain kind of work.
What is the IQ level of the chatacter?
What age is their mentality?
Explore contrasting ideas in personality
puffed out chest with a squeeky voice.
shakespears characters had huge contradictions- deformed or moral
you can see it in everyday life
If a chracter is all 'good' then they're not interesting to watch, contrast in their goodness will make a great character.
Elements of Design
The line of action in an animation sequence is directly reflecting the major influences of the forces at work. How the line twists and bends, snaps and recoils is all force driven. If you want to really capture energy in your actions just begin by animating the main line of action throughout the entire sequence. Then you can go back and begin to add the actual character’s structure on top. But don't make the mistake of trying to draw a full character pose and then another full character pose and then another full character pose and think that your animation will have a good flow or energy. Think in terms of major forces at work and use the line of action to capture and reflect those forces. Then think of the minor forces at work and you will capture them as drags overlaps and secondary actions. One useful approach to creating great poses is to work across a series of poses in an iterative manner. What that means is, that you do the main lines of action first for all the key poses and then make a second and third and even forth pass through those poses picking up and adding the lesser but equally important forces at work.
Figure-8’s are one of the most common arcs you will find in human movement.
Also see Rythmn and Texture Branch
What is Timing: Timing gives meaning to movement. Let's say you have a ball going from A to B. You can get movement by setting two key frames, or inserting drawings in between, etc. The result is movement but it's not animation. So in animation itself, movement is not important, but the important thing is how the action expresses the underlying causes of the movement.Good Timing vs. Bad Timing:
-The shortest amount of screen time for a hold (or moving hold) to register is 6 frames. 12 frames is enough time to read a facial expression, but 16 frames are better if you can afford the screen time. 24 Frames is probably too long. (These are screen times based on the standard 24 fps frame rate)
- Here are some useful relationships based on metronome settings:40 bpm – 1 beat every 36 frames60 bpm - 1 beat every 24 frames80 bpm – 1 beat every 18 frames120 bpm – 1 beat every 12 frames180 bpm – 1 beat every 8 frames240 bpm – 1 beat every 6 framesAn easy calculation method is:(total frames/min.) / (total beats/min.) = frames/beat(1440 frames/min) / (120 beats/min) = 12 frames/beat or 1 beat every 12 framesSome general rules for animation timing are:Fast action is 1 beat every 8 frames often referred to as 8 beatModerate action (march time or walk time) is 12 beat or 1 beat every 12 framesSlow action is 20 beat or 1 beat every 20 frames
nick swardon - blades of glory stalker and bench warmers.
notting hill actors - Rhys Ifans (pike), Huge Bonnieville (Bernie), Emma Chambers (honey)
Steve Buscemi -
english mobstar - Vinnie Jones
warick Davis - Willow
mr deeds, the news paper guy
something australian? rabbit proof fence, ned kelly
Animate one idea at a time
Content of what is under the words. Work out the back story.
The inner will telll the story.
Animate the ideas and feelings behind the words. The underlying emotions.
The important thing is to interpret, to exaggerate, to distort, and to caricature movement so as to being something more to your animation than just a direct copy of the photo-real world.
Disney uses 120 or 180 bpm.
"“Disney uses many beats but mostly 12 and 8 - because they are easy to break down into inbtws -”An 8 beat (metronome on 180) with keys 1 - 9 - gets inbtw 5 in the middle and later 2 and 4 -A 12 beat (metronome on 120) has 1 - 13 -with 7 in the middle"
Cartoon Craft Blog
A metronome, also a great animators tool, can be used to give us timing in beats per minute. So for example with the metronome set at 120 bpm (beats per minute) that translates to 120 beats / 60 seconds or 2 beats per second or a beat every 12 frames. That’s the same as saying the timing is 2 beats per measure.Here are some useful relationships based on metronome settings:40 bpm – 1 beat every 36 frames60 bpm - 1 beat every 24 frames80 bpm – 1 beat every 18 frames120 bpm – 1 beat every 12 frames180 bpm – 1 beat every 8 frames240 bpm – 1 beat every 6 framesAn easy calculation method is:(total frames/min.) / (total beats/min.) = frames/beat(1440 frames/min) / (120 beats/min) = 12 frames/beat or 1 beat every 12 frames
Some general rules for animation timing are:Fast action is 1 beat every 8 frames often referred to as 8 beatModerate action (march time or walk time) is 12 beat or 1 beat every 12 framesSlow action is 20 beat or 1 beat every 20 frames
When animating an important principle to keep in mind is the principle of contrasts. Contrasts exist everywhere in nature and they should be prominent in your art as well. There are contrasting speeds, fast, slow, stationary. There are contrasting colors. There are contrasting shapes, and contrasting characters both in appearance and personality. And there are even contrasting scenes and camera angles. Contrasts are what make things more interesting. So look for opportunities to apply the principle of contrasts continuously as you work and certainly your approaches to the timing of motions is a great place to start.
Phrasing is the breaking up of a scene or action into separate distinct ideas, sections or beats
Phrasing helps to clarify actions or ideas in a performance. By separating ideas, actions or emotions into individual "beats" or moments, you can more clearly communicate with your viewer/audience
Its all about clear communication
Texture and Timing Dynamics
Phrasing will also help give your animation texture. Texture as it applies to animation is "Timing Dynamics". Dynamics are created through opposing variations. That means slow movement and fast movement or smooth, flowing actions and sharp, staccato actions. How we juxtapose these timing variations creates the texture of our scene.
Often a single action or idea can be communicated with a single timing variation. This then becomes the phrase in a scene. Sometimes it will take a combination of variants to communicate a single idea. Therefore a phrase may also be made up of multiple timing variants. When several ideas (phrases) are put together using timing dynamics a rhythmic texture is created.
Phrasing and the Thinking Character
All action is driven by thought. In order for a character to be believable he must think and make a decision before he does something. That thought may take the character through a single action or multiple actions. The thought driving each action becomes the phrase
You may breakdown the more complex thought phrases into simpler action phrases. For example, he stands (phrase), walks to the bathroom (phrase), and shuts the door (phrase). But in doing so keep in mind that a single thought drives all three actions
Phrasing and the Speaking Character
In scenes with dialogue the phrasing is often dictated by pauses in speech. However, it is dangerous to rely wholly on this rule. Many times a single idea will encompass more than one phrase of dialogue. There are also times when more than one idea needs to be communicated within a single phrase of dialogue.
In dialogue a phrase should be thought of as an attitude or mood. If a character changes mood mid sentence there are two phrases in that sentence. If a character retains a certain attitude throughout several sentences that is only one phrase.
Thumbnails are a great way to "phrase out" your scene. As you plan out your performance think of each thumbnail drawing as representing a phrase. This will help you clarify the key ideas of you scene.
Planning & Blocking Workflow
Have a clear idea of where you're going before you start.
Goals or Scope
List the key points and storey development from the Director and script
List what you want to accomplish personaly from the scene - eg. something that motivates you
Discover your shot by answering these questions: * What does your shot call for? * What are the limitations? TIME schedule - days? weeks?, character limits, arms? * How many frames do I have to sell it? * What is my time-budget? If limited, do the simplest clearest * What are my goals?
Close your eyes and relax, dream about it. See it in your head first. Capture the words of the script, or capture the words you see visually in your head. Play it over and over in your head.
KEEP IT SIMPLE!!
MUST READ CLEARLY
2. First Idea
Your first idea is your instinct. This can sometimes be cliche. You need to learn how to develop your instinc to be able to see the cliche and avoid it. Use peers to double check your ideas. Explore other opportunites. When your instincs evolve you will learn to trust it.
Avoid it at all costs. Don't copy other animation. Try and cature a performance. Pull from real life. Tap into your own culture.
Begin to observe the world around you as this will help make your work more personal. It can serve a huge tool in getting that "spark" of inspiration when you learn to tap into the world around you.
Develop personality around here. This will determine how the character moves, his Psychological Gesture etc. See the Character Personality Development branch
5. Keep a Sketch Book
Always keep a sketch book with you. Jot down notes and ideas. It will be a valuable resource later.
Doing little sketches on paper before you jump into the process of animation can save you hours and even days. Thumbnailing helps explore the possibilities and helps make what you animate the best thing it can possibly be. Keep them rough and loose, they're just for you.
At this stage workout extra acting bits you can add, Extra personality, secondary action, What's the subtext?
Timing and Rhythm
Use a stop watch or use the maya time line as a stop watch.
Hum or tap a rhythm to your scene in the specified time length
Don't stop until you have a clear idea of the timing in your head
Shoot reference according to the timing and rhythm
7. Video Reference
Video reference can really help you to "study" the movement frame-by-frame and help you to see "how something moves." Be sure to look at reference and study it, but do not copy it exactly as it will be "lifeless." Film yourself, get it from the internet.
Thumbnail again if needed. This will help clear up the mechanics of the motion you've decided upon. The first set is to get your ideas out on paper.
Get down all the major poses.
Video Reference again
Shoot video reference again if needed.
Timing and Rythm again
With the new video reference and thumbnailing, a new rhythm might be needed. This is the time to really exaggerate the movement. You should never copy the movement verbatium or rotoscope. All animation needs to be exaggerated to a degree. Realistic needs it, but not as much as cartoony.
Repeat thumbnails, video reference, and rhythm if necessary as many times as necessary.
Getting input on your animation is fundamental. Learning how to take feedback and know what to do with it is an art form in and of
itself. If you notice several people saying the same repeat comments about your work you will need to take those into consideration as
they are probably right. Getting conflicting feedback in a studio environment is part of the job of being an animator, even in the best of
Notice how they react when first veiwing your work.
Giving feedback is the best way to get better. Don't get attached. To give feedback always compliment first, then suggest. Never be rude.
Listen to your director first
Look for repeat comments and take those into consideration.
Feedback is not a personal attack on your work; it is only to make your work better.
It is always important to start out with what you like about the animation you are critiquing. Never be rude in you feedback.
Remember we are all learning and being constructive is a big key. Being rude will not get you too far in this industry as we all have
to work together. Giving feedback will help sharpen your skills.
Working with a director – In a studio you need to know what the director wants and take their input and make something great.
Determine if you are focusing on what is important to the shot based on your original questions.
Are all of the directors notes in there?
During the blocking concentrate on:
Line of action
10. Blocking to Polishing
When the blocking is done concentrate on:
11. Blocking Plus
When you add in more breakdowns and turn the curves to splines concentrate on:
Slow in's and Slow out's
Layering an animation is building your animation by adding one control at a time and adding more controls on top of that.
Pose-to-Pose (stepped keys)
This method works great when you can conceive of the overall motion in terms of Key poses/drawings.
Tip: For instance, a walk works best for me to animate in a pose-to-pose method as I want to see the entire flow of the animation and work out the "Key" personality drawings. Layering a walk (which I have done in the past) can lead to unexpected results as I find that I "stumble" into the animation instead of getting exactly what I want from the character. I find that pose-to-pose works best when you use it in conjunction with straight ahead animation.
This is not a blocking method; it is more of a "finishing" way of working. The reason it listed as part of blocking methods is it is the 3rd essential way of working; and, in conjunction with the other two methods, straight ahead works great for refining your animation.
Keith Langos Check list
Check to make sure your motions have good clean arcs. Turn on trajectories if your software supports them. If not, get out your dry erase marker and draw the arcs on your monitor.
1. wrist- you need to keep an eye on these to fight that marionette feel
2. elbows- if you're using IK arms, then you absolutely MUST check your elbow arcs
3. feet- track the heel & the toes to see if you're getting clean arcs on both
4. head- the most obvious motion hitches will show up in the head. It's usually a torso problem, it just shows up in the head arc
5. knees- watch for pops and skips
6. hips- the center of mass is vital to believable weight, so check the hip arcs.
8. props- so many time we forget that the prop the character is holding/using is as important to the motion as the character
9. eyes- when they turn, are they linear turns? If so, add some arc.
10. face (lipsync)- make sure your face doesn't linearly go from static morph target to target. The face needs to feel organic.
11. tails- way overlooked, and very tricky to get right.
12. check break downs and make stronger if needed- weak arc? Push that breakdown pose.
13. no two motions should have same arcs- feels very unnatural. Weave the arc lines like a tapestry of interesting motion.
14. cross arcs and overlap for interest
Make sure you’re being strong with your lines. The difference between an OK pose and a great pose most often lies in the line.
· Have you pushed your line so it reads clearly?
· Is your line interesting?
· Is your line strongly concave or convex?
· When going from one pose to another can you invert your lines for stronger contrast?
· If all you had was one still frame to show for this pose, is your line of action capturing the kinetic energy of your character like a good illustration would?
Find a part to emphasize by scheduling it's late or early arrival. Offsets help keep things loose and let your character breathe, combating the common "pose-move-pose-move" feel of most Pose-to-Pose animation.
· Check for twins. Shifting one arm by a frame or two is not fundamentally addressing the issue of twinning. You need more than that.
· Does it fit for you to offset the hand from the elbow? The elbow from the shoulder?
· For this move should your arms lead the torso or do they follow it's weight?
· For this move should your hand lead the arm or follow it's weight?
· Does your upper torso move independently from your hips?
· For this move, should the head lead or follow?
· Have you seen if offsetting your rotation keys from the translation keys adds any life to the character? How about individual rotation channels from each other?
· Do your fingers each move independently from the other fingers?
· Should your fingers flow after the hand or stay tight to it?
· Is this the right place to use the offset (aka "pixar") blink?
What a LOT of pose-to-pose animation suffers from is the dreaded "hit & stick". You need to find a way to get that out of your animation while still keeping strong clear poses and clean timing.
· Are you overlapping too much? Is it too soft? (mushy)
· Are you not overlapping enough? Is it too hard? (sticky)
· Are your motions distracting? (poppy)
· Does it feel like your ease outs are too linear? (robotic)
· Will this move benefit from the successive breaking of joints?
· Do your body parts overlap with believable physics? Are the hands too slow (heavy) or too fast (light)?
· Don’t blindly trust overlap or lag plug ins… check each frame for accuracy.
One of your primary tasks as a character animator is to manage your tension, your energy build up and release. Each character will build & release their energy in a very different way. And even given different circumstances you character will build & release energy differently.
· Does the size of the anticipation match the speed of the subsequent action?
· Does your character flow well from one thing to another? Should they?
· Does your character's body language and gestures' energy match tone & energy of the dialogue?
· Look for ways to build texture into a shot- building across phrases and releasing. Not every pose or move is the same length.
· Move your character around on their feet to keep them believable. Nothing says "I'm not believable" like frozen feet.
· Does the energy of your character keep building up during hold when appropriate? tip: if the pose hit didn't have an extreme with a recoil, but is rather meant to build energy for release (like an anticipation hold) then you'll keep growing the energy up into the pose, like a long ease into the extreme.
· Does the energy of your character keep settling with gravity during hold when appropriate? tip: If the pose hit had a settleback after an extreme, you'll generally want to keep the held energy settling into gravity.
You need to keep things moving at a natural flow. If your shot feels dull, look at your pose holds and your transition timings. I'll bet you $20 that all your holds are about the same length and all your pose transitions are about the same length.
· Are you motions too even across the shot?
· Are all the motions too fast?
· Are they too slow?
· Do you have an appropriate mix of fast moves verse slower ones?
· Be aware of the appropriate speed for a given set of appropriate actions.
· Mix up the pacing of motion. Fast flurries followed by long simmering holds. Great contrast.
· Don't make every move the same speed & flavor.
· Favor the anticipation or the breakdown or the ease out. Meaning: think what works best for a given action- slow in/fast out? Or fast in/slow out? Or even in/out but fast breakdown in the middle?
What would Character A move like compared to character B?
Make your poses read in an instant, not in an hour.
· Do your poses read clearly in plain black & white?
· Funky lines in the silhouette? Check elbows to see if they're sticking out unnaturally.
· Check spine & your line of action.
· Think of ways to compressing the pose/action into planes in space for cleaner reads. Perpendicular to camera plane, or parallel to it. think Woody's "cool sheriff" walk from the cardboard box in Toy Story 2. Look at how his motion is compressed into a single easy to read plane that is parallel to the camera plane.
Does anything have a funky motion that just looks off?
· Check for IK pops
· Look for and fix hitches in the arcs
· Smooth out any hiccups in line of motion
· Destroy any and all distracting moves
· Do you overshoot on moves too much? Not enough?
· Is there enough "keep alive" on your moving holds? Is there too much so that you're adding noise to the signal?
· Clean out any and all distracting nasty geometry intersections. The small single frame ones in the middle of big moves, forget about those. Nobody will notice.
…is everything. Well, almost everything.
· Do your character's gestures & actions lead words appropriately in dialog?
· Feel free to play with physics a bit to add some texture. Give some jump & hold to things in the air.
· A move should never be linear and it should never be even.
· Are your physics believable (weight)?
· Break up long holds with secondary action (scratching, wiping nose, weight shift, etc.)
Can we see your action from the best possible angle? And remember: the ONLY view that matters is the camera view.
· For visually pleasing images compose on thirds
· Avoid staging your character directly down the middle unless you have a reason to.
· Use those lines of action to add visual angles to lead your viewer's eye where it needs to go.
· In production you must keep the integrity of the layout composition and then plus it with solid lines of action & silhouettes.
If your character is doing something important, make sure we can stinkin' see what's going on!
· Track your eye as you watch. Where does it go? Is it where it should go? Do your eyes feel like they awkwardly jump from cut to cut? Is this the desired effect (sometimes it is)?
Will we believe your character is sincere? Are they REAL???
· Stay true to character. Buzz Lightyear will not flail like a spaz like Woody would.
· Does acting match dialog intensity? Are you being too vaudeville?
· Do the hands & body merely illustrate words that your character is saying? How many times do you make a punching motion with your hands when you say the word "hit"? Not many. How many times do you make a kicking motion when you say the word 'kick"? Not many. How many times do you spread your arms like an airplane when you say the word "fly"? Not often. Guess what? Neither should your character!
· Do the eye emotions match dialog?
· Reveal your character's inner thoughts or emotions beginning with the eyes first. Cascade out from there.
· Emotion drives motion. Motion does not illustrate emotion. (no vaudeville. See above note) Also, thought does not drive action- emotion drives action. Thoughts merely drive decisions. but decisions are not acted upon without the emotion to drive them.
· Avoid overacting. Keep it simpler.
· Don’t try to do too much in one shot. Less is more
· If your character's face needs to show an emotional shift, it's easier to read that shift while they are in a pose hold, not in a move. Emotional shifts should occur when the character is generally held still..
· Who owns the shot? Don’t upstage the owner of the shot. Keep the secondary and background characters from being distracting with their motions. Sometimes breathing & blinking is enough.
· When the time comes to transfer shot ownership from character to character, make sure it's a clean hand off. Only one owner at a time. The audience should instinctually know who to watch based on what you show them.
· Maintain proper intensity levels appropriate for where character is on character arc. If your character has a major anger blow out in the third act, don't show that level of anger anywhere before that point.
One simple discipline that I have found always helps me is this: About the time you think you're done with your shot, make a preview of your animation. Then, while it plays repeatedly, step away from the keyboard and grab a pencil & some note paper. Let the preview play over and over, until you start to see every frame. Start taking notes of what needs to be fixed. Find EVERY single glitch, hitch and problem you can find and write it down to be fixed. Don't stop writing these things down until you've noted every issue you've spotted. Spend at least 5 minutes watching this shot loop over and over. Then, when you can't possibly find anything else to pick, go back to your file and fix everything on your check list. So many times we think we're done before we're really done with a shot. This simple exercise will force you to stop and see the animation for what it is. By noting every problem, you're ensuring that you won't forget something. Then, when you've fixed every problem on your list, repeat the process again. Trust me, you WILL find more problems, stuff you didn't see before. It usually takes me about 3 or 4 times of doing this last pass-last gasp effort to really put the piece over the top.
MICHAL MAKAREWICZ's checklist for Polishing:
* Arcs, or an absence of
* Lead and Follow (address arcs created from combinations of controls)
* Eases, Overshoot, and Settles
* Tying in your body movements
* Tying in your character to their surroundings
* Contact areas
* Residual movement
* Squash and Stretch
* Breathing, and micro accents.
* Dirt (small random movements)
* Thousand Paper Cuts (the combination of all your subtle polish efforts together create a powerful impact and bring your shot to life)
* Peel and Relax (when lifting a contact away, “peel & relax” the contact)
* Motion Blur
Other things you should check for:
Subtle eye darts
All cues are from the audiences point of veiw. When is says, for example, Up and to the Left, this indicates that the person doing this is looking up and to the right. The audience sees - up and to the left.
Up and to the Left Indicates: Visually Constructed Images(Vc)If you asked someone to "Imagine a purple buffalo", this would be the direction their eyes moved in while thinking about the question as they "Visually Constructed" a purple buffalo in their mind.
Up and to the Right Indicates: Visually Remembered Images(Vr)If you asked someone to "What colour was the first house you lived in?", this would be the direction their eyes moved in while thinking about the question as they "Visually Remembered" the colour of their childhood home.
To the Left
Indicates:Auditory Constructed (Ac)If you asked someone to "Try and create the highest sound of the pitch possible in your head", this would be the direction their eyes moved in while thinking about the question as they "Auditorily Constructed" this sound that they have never heard of.
To the RightIndicates: Auditory Remembered (Ar)If you asked someone to "Remember what their mother's voice sounds like ", this would be the direction their eyes moved in while thinking about the question as they "Auditorily Remembered " this sound.
Down and to the LeftIndicates: Feeling / Kinaesthetic (tactile learning) (F)If you asked someone - "Can you remember the smell of a campfire? ", this would be the direction their eyes moved in while thinking about the question as they used/recalled a smell, feeling, or taste.
Down and To the RightIndicates: Internal Dialog (Ai)This is the direction of someone’s eyes as they "talk to themselves".
Facial Action Coding System (FACS)
The AUs (Action Units) isolate sets of muscular contractions on the human face, which
contains an impressive 52 (approximately) muscle groups.
pg 56 Action! Acting Lessions for CG Animators
Upper Vs Lower Body
It's easier to mask the upper body from what you're feeling, but not so much the lower body. It can reveal a lot more.