LESSON #13 – Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose


-LESSON #13 – Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose-

Let’s see how to approche an animation shot and what’s the best method for us! 😉

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LESSON #11 – EXAGGERATION


WHERE WERE WE? 🙂 We still miss 5 Animation Principles and here a new one “Exaggeration”!

Is not so easy to figure out how to use this principle … it requires a marked sensibility, a good eye and a lot of practice! As soon as we’ll finish the principles I was thinking to create an E-Book to gather what we have done so far…so… I’ll keep you update! 😉

Lesson #10 – Secondary Action “RECAP”


Here the written recap of the Lesson #10 based on the animation principle “Secondary Action” 😉

here the Video Lesson

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-RECAP-

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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!

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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!

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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 interestingSitting01.gifIf 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!Sitting02.gif

  • 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)

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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!Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.23.10.png


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

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Waiting.gif


  • Or… someone uncomfortable could scratch his head while speaking <- secondary action Scratch2.gif

  • 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 stonePebble.gif


     -Examples of secondary actions created using EXPRESSIONS and FACE MOVEMENTS-

  • a character crying could wipes a tear with an handSchermata 2018-01-10 a 16.24.30.png

Cry02.gif


  • A character that moves his eyes left or right while talking to someone…shows his embarrassmentRight.gif

  • A fast look up during an acting to communicate disappointmentUp.gif

  • 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

Walk.gif


-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)Pen.gif

  • 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 actingGlasses.gif

 


  • 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 annoyedeat.png

  • If your character is sitting on a sofa, he could bring a cushion to make the action more realistic and interestingSofa

  • 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 feelingsdrink.png

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”! 🙂

Tutorial #09 – How to Animate a Tail


– HOW TO ANIMATE A TAIL –

How to Animate a Tail RECAP

If you watched my Lesson 9 you should be able to put in practice what Follow-Through and Overlap mean and how to use them

We will start from a very simple example:Follow_Through10

I will use this super simple rig of an head/ball with a fluffy tailTail01

Tail02

To approach an animation like this, I usually start animating the body

In this case…the head/ball, ignoring the tail for the moment

So I hide the tail mesh and I animate the ball up to the refine and polishingTail01.gif

When my animation is finished, I go to animate the tail

At this point you should already know that I’m used to use different shaders to simplify my workflow so I create a sort of rainbow tail assigning different colors to each section of the tail connected to a jointTail04.png

So, I set the first pose for the tail…Tail06.png

…and then I go to animate the first section, the ones directly attached to the ball, that is the leading partTail05.png

that will drag the rest of the tailTail07.png

but in turn, the first section is dragged by the ball headTail08


 

So, following the main action of the ball, I go to animate just the first section that would react to the ball movementTail09

It’s important to determinate if the tail will be just dragged by the ball movement or if will also moves independentlyTail10.png

In my case, the tail is mainly dragged by the ball, but also has an independent movement when needed

For example: at the beginning I want to use the tail to have the “push” for the jump! So, even if the ball has a very small rotation and the squash to gain energy for the jump, I move the tail right and left to increase this push and have more power for the jumpTail11.png


During the jump, when the ball is stretched, the tail must point downward, ’cause it has a delay compared to the ballTail12.png


Also during the spinning in the hair, the tail overlap the main action, the ball rotation. As you can see, here I rotate the tail on the right, dragged by the rotation of the ballTail13.png


When the ball stops his rotation, the tail will stop with a delay of 3/4 or 5 framesTail14.png


For all the time that the ball stays in the air, the tail will continue to move upward, with a very slow spacingTail15.png


When the ball starts to fall, the tail is raised up Tail17.pngand just as before, after the ball landed on the ground, the tail will arrive with 3/4 frames of delayTail18.png

Don’t care about compenetration for the moment, cause we will go to adjust the position when we will animate the rest of the tail!


Then we have the following little bounces so, we go to animate the settle, moving the tail up and down for a couple of time, decreasing the movement up to the complete stopTail19.png

This is the animation of the first section of the tail:Tail02.gif

After that we go back to animate the rest of the tail, one section at the time, and following the order starting from the topTail20.png

Each section will have a delay of 2/3 frames compared to the previous sectionTail21

What you have to remember is that each part would first react to the movement of the part that drag it, moving in the opposite direction

 

Let’s see an example with less tail’s sections:

when this section moves forward…Tail23

…the following part is dragged but it turns in the opposite direction due to the delayTail24

and then it will follow the first section movementTail25

The last part would have the same reaction but it’s dragged by the second section, so at the beginning it would rotate on the right when the second one rotates on the leftTail26


 

Even during breakdowns and in-betweens you have to be extremely careful to create a nice and rounded shape

Avoid straight lines, except when its completely stretched like during the fall, in this cases a straight line is allowed!


Keep attention to the arcs that you will create with the tail action!Tail30

A nice tip is to use maya tools or script to create an onion skin that shows you the previous and following poses or to draw on maya…

…but I prefer the old school transparent/celluloid paper that I put on the screen (that is always attached to the back of my Mac and I easily turn it on when I need it) Tail31.png

Tail32I can quickly draw the arc I want for the tail movement and then, frame by frame I go to adjust the positions, following that path

Tail03.gif


With this simple rules and if you well understood this principles, your final result should be something like this:Follow_Through01So, this was a simple tutorial for a basic tail animation, with a straight ahead approach! 

I will do an other tutorial with a more complex rig but if you are just beginners…

I suggest you to start with a short and simple animation and became familiar with the concept of drag, follow-trough and overlap!

You can follow the Exercise 05 based on this tutorial! 😉

Lesson #8 – ANTICIPATION


A new Lesson available! This time talking about ANTICIPATION and the different types of animations that need it! 😉

In the Lesson I’m using my NEW “cute and super cool” (♥) personal and official channel’s rig INK!!! 😛


Anticipation RECAP

One of your first goal, when your are creating an animation, should always be to make something that is perfectly readable! You can create awesome poses and have a great concept, but…if you don’t make it clear and readable… would be impossible to catch the sense of what you are trying to communicate!Anticipation01.png

Anticipation02.png

that’s why we use ANTICIPATION! That, as the word suggest, is nothing more than the “preparation to the action”!

We can haveAnticipation03.png

let’s see some example:Anticipation03b.pngwhen the movement of a body (or an object) prepares for an action

Example #1: if a character throws something far, he would prepares the action by moving back the arm with the object (preparing for the throw)

In this way he will have enough energy but this movement also prepares the users for what will happen. From this anticipation, you already can imagine that he will throw the object!

Example #2: a character running out of the screen, is made more readable thanks to an anticipation of the character moving in the opposite direction and raising one leg!

This helps the user to read a very fast action. Without this anticipation…. the user could have some problems to read the scene!

Example #3: or you can use it for a very cartoon effects…. or for something more realistic, with a much more soft anticipation!


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Another way to use an Anticipation is to create a funny effects!
Example: if you see the same run anticipation of the run we’ve seen before, you imagine that he will run away super fast…but…adding a pretty slow run just after this big anticipation…you will create an unexpected result!Run_Fun.gif


Anticipation10Or… you can use it to direct the attention to something that is going to happen or leading the eye in the right screen area.

Example #1: if your character is standing in the middle of the screen and something is going to enter from the right, if you don’t add an anticipation, the users would probably miss the first part (when the second element is entering in the screen) ’cause you are looking at the character in the center.

But…if you add an anticipation of the character looking on the right your attention would be re-directed in the right area, just in time to better follow the action!

Example #2: in case the character is going to take something, a fast look at this object prepares the users to what he’s going to do

Or you can use the anticipation with the hand, holding it in the air for few frames, this is an other way to communicate to the user that he’s going to take the glass!


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Example: thanks to the anticipation you can better feel the weight of the character in two different jumps.

In the one on the left he makes a soften anticipation cause he’s pretty light.

In the one on the right he’s bringing an heavy backpack so he needs more energy for the jump, he needs a stronger anticipation, bending and keeping this pose a bit more


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depends on the action!

Usually with fast action or big change in position we need more anticipation!

Like for the fast run or the cartoon one, both this examples has big anticipation, and a very fast action just after them!
Or, an angry reaction like, a character smashing a door, would require a big anticipation to enphasize the action and after, the door is closed in very few frames


Anticipation20.pngSome Anticipation must be really subtle!

Example #1: an hand that is going to grab a light object would have an almost imperceptible anticipation! The hand just goes upwards for few frames before going down to grab the apple

Example #2: in a simple take we have a little anticipation, a very small movement with the character moving upwards before the take, few frames of anticipation, is there but it’s not so visible


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Example: the door settle doing little movements back and forward in few framesAnticipation25


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You absolutely don’t need an anticipation for every single movements of your character…with practice and experience you will get used to it and you will naturally know when an action need it, as I said, usually we use it before big and or fast action, but also to make the movements more fluid and readable! 😉


Now that you know how to use ANTICIPATION you can follow the Tutorial #08 “How to Animate a Throw” and try to do de Exercise #4 following the steps of the tutorial! 😉