Here the written recap of the Lesson #10 based on the animation principle “Secondary Action” 😉
here the Video Lesson
Secondary Actions are the kind of things I like to put in my shots to add details regarding the character’s attitude and personality, and ’cause I really like to have some “natural” movements that we usually do in real life but that we probably don’t notice!
This is not the easiest principle, you really have to learn how to use it and when the shot requires it, otherwise you risk to add too much movements in your shot that would result confused and unreadable for the user!
In a piece of animation you have the PRIMARY ACTION, the main action that is necessary to describe the story
But, you can add SECONDARY ACTIONS to give more depth to the scene, to add more informations about the character’s personality and make the scene more entertaining!
Example: in a scene we have to see a character sitting at a table, this is the main action, but we can add the action of moving the chair forward and some adjusting movements to make it more natural and interestingIf we take off the secondary actions, the main action is still clear and it works, on the contrary, we couldn’t take off the primary action ’cause the secondary ones are subordinate to the main one!
- MAIN ACTION + SECONDARY ACTION = tell the story and perfectly work together
- MAIN ACTION – SECONDARY ACTION = tell the same story
- SECONDARY ACTION – MAIN ACTION = ? (no sense)
Secondary actions are just a plus, something we add to:
- support the main action
- to make the performance stronger and appealing
- to add realism and authenticity to the scene
IMPORTANT: This secondary actions don’t have to “steal” the attention from the main action, but just fortify it!
The secondary actions are strictly connected to the characters in the shot and they are based on the character’s personality and mood in that moment
But they are also specific to the location and props in that environment!
Tip: study the body language to add the right gestures to well describe the character’s feelings!
-Examples of secondary actions created using BODY MOVEMENTS-
- A character sitting and waiting for someone could be a bit nervous and you can add a movement of the foot to better show this feeling
- Or… someone uncomfortable could scratch his head while speaking <- secondary action
- Or… a sad and resigned mood could be emphasized with the body shape but also with a secondary action like kick a pebble, so we add this little movement of the foot kicking a little stone
-Examples of secondary actions created using EXPRESSIONS and FACE MOVEMENTS-
- a character crying could wipes a tear with an hand
- A character that moves his eyes left or right while talking to someone…shows his embarrassment
- A fast look up during an acting to communicate disappointment
- During a walk, that is the primary action, you can add the head movements looking around and changing expression according to the character’s mood
-Examples of secondary actions created using PROPS INTERACTION-
I personally love to add props the characters can play with during a dialogue or in many other situations!
- A character playing with a pen while speaking to someone, the pen is a prop connected to the location (we have a desk so this is a common prop for this type of location)
- We could do the same with a prop connected to the character like his glasses, he could take them and use them to support the acting
- In this case… the character is eating and he just stands there, because he’s thinking and probably someone is speaking to him, but we could add a secondary action of him playing with the food to give the idea that he’s thinking about stuff or just annoyed
- If your character is sitting on a sofa, he could bring a cushion to make the action more realistic and interesting
- If he’s drinking he could touch the glass while speaking or thinking, just to avoid moments where the character doesn’t do nothing and again, in this way it’s easier to have a connection with the character’s feelings
This are just some common and easy secondary actions, with the experience you’ll be able to add more complex secondary actions
Workflow tip: Start blocking the main action first, watch the shot several times and ask yourself…how you could make it more interesting in terms of rhythm, entertaining and to better describe the character’s feelings and mood?
Then decide where to add this secondary actions and watch it again and again to make sure that they …don’t overshadow the main action!
In that case…is better to avoid too many secondary actions! 😉
That is all about this principle! See you for the next one “Exaggeration”! 🙂