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Archive for the ‘Principles of Animation’

Principles of Animation: Follow Through and Overlapping Action

February 13th, 2009

When you’re busy animating your character, it is easy to get absorbed by the main action of the scene. You should also pay attention to the things that follow your main action. Things like ears, tails, loose fitting clothing, and long hair are all excellent examples of places where you will have some overlapping action and follow through.

A great example of this principle would be Goofy’s ears and vest. Have a look at the above short, Mickey’s Trailer. Have a closer look at Goofy’s ears from 2:09 - 2:15. Do you see how they lag behind the motion of his head, with their motion overlapping the action of his head? These are the types of things that can really help sell the physical properties of the thing you are trying to animate. How heavy is your object? What is it made out of? What type of setting is it in? [Read more…]

Principles of Animation: Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose

February 8th, 2009

Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose are a bit more nebulous now in the world of CG animation. This is the one principle that mostly applies to 2D animation. It refers to away of animating.

Straight ahead animation is when the animator starts at the beginning of the action and animates all the way through the scene, finding poses as he or she goes. This often allows for more spontaneous action. It works great for mad scramble types of actions.

Pose to pose animation is used when you plan out your scene’s timing and poses so as to get a solid action you are after. Key poses are planned out in advance, and the timing of when those poses are hit and held is worked out. You then go back and worry about your breakdowns and inbetweens.

In computer animation, you have to watch what the computer is “helping” you with. Unaltered tangents [Read more…]

Principles of Animation: Staging

January 26th, 2009

Staging refers to the presention of an idea in a way so that the action is clear to the audience. In the 1937 Mickey Mouse short The Worm Turns, you can see this principle in action. At the start of the cartoon, do you notice how Mickey holds the cups out from his body? This is to allow them to show up better. If he had held them in front of his body, it would obscure his face and form. By staging the action so that it happens out away from in front of his body, we get a much better look at what is happening.

If you are animating a bit of business for your character, and it isn’t reading well, have another go at your staging. Maybe you can display the action in a much clearer way.

-Floyd Bishop

Principles of Animation: Anticipation

January 17th, 2009

Most action has three parts.

  1. Preparing for the action (the anticipation)
  2. The action itself
  3. Ending of the action

The anticipation can serve several purposes. The most common is to show the viewer what is about to happen. You are also building up the energy for whatever is about to happen next. You see this a lot right before a fast run or quick motion, like when Tom tries to hit Jerry with a log from the fireplace.

This is also an opportunity for humor. Many times, the anticipation of a move or action is not equal to the result. Look at how Jerry anticipates the ripping of the book (around the 3:50 mark). You are setting up the audience for one result, and then showing them something they are not expecting.

Anticipation is an important part of animation, otherwise you are going to end up with a lot of quick motions with little or no continuity. [Read more…]

Principles of Animation: Squash and Stretch

January 16th, 2009

ball bounce

In an effort to cover some educational topics, I thought it might be worthwhile to go over the 12 basic principles of animation here on the blog. The first of these is the idea of Squash & Stretch.

This does not mean to mush things around just for the sake of squishing things! Squash and stretch has to do with the idea of having a preservation of mass. If an object is a certain size, and gravity or some other force acts upon it, that mass has to be maintained. For example, if the object gets squeezed down from above, the sides will bulge out a bit,  allowing the mass someplace to go.

You can see this idea in action in the real world as well.

The cat is lying on the bed prior to running. As the cat leaps off of the bed, he extends his body, stretching out. WHAM! When he [Read more…]