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Related Pages. Ink Movie. Cheap Thrills Movie. Ken Harris Artist. Ebert Movie. Fred Moore Public Figure. The Noble Approach: Ub Iwerks Artist. However it is pretty large with about pages and many different sections covering advice for aspiring animators.
These techniques can apply to hobbyist animators too. There are lots of tips for breaking into the industry but you can learn just as much about traditional animation through this guide. Early chapters talk about the basics of character movement and how this works on the page.
This really is a solid practical guide for 2D animators who want real exercises they can practice. Nancy offers her own take on the bouncing ball and flour sack animation exercises common to new 2D animators.
Many chapters include custom illustrations from Disney animators who share their process creating lifelike characters from scratch. Definitely a handy resource to keep on hand while animating. This naturally requires a graphics tablet and plenty of experience constructing objects from imagination. Author Tony White covers all the basics of animation starting with foundational knowledge and moving through classical techniques showing how they work in a digital environment.
The disc also has a few clips of White explaining the differences and techniques of pencil-drawn animation compared to digital 2D animation. All-in-all a really cool book that can help traditional artists move their 2D animation work to the computer screen.
Simplified Drawing for Planning Animation Great animation can always be simplified and reduced down to smaller parts. Author Wayne Gilbert has years of experience animating including commercials, video games, and even the Star Wars films. In this book he shares tips for designing with simplicity. These ideas apply to animation but carry over to character designers, illustrators, and comic artists.
Every animation can be studied to break down the fundamentals like balance, pose, composition, and structure. The newest version of this book has info on character design and planning out the structure of a custom animated sequence. This is a fantastic read for complete beginners who want to start animating fast.
Character Animation Fundamentals Human animation is some of the toughest work but also the most rewarding. Character Animation Fundamentals is a massive tome with pages full of exercises, tips, and techniques for animating realistic characters. This book is written for both 2D and 3D animation so it works well for anyone.
Early chapters introduce the concept of animation explaining how it works and how you should think about sequential movement. Many of the later chapters delve into 3D rigging and animation software which is fairly pointless for someone who only wants to do 2D. And the tips in this guide still apply to all forms of animation so you can learn a lot about movement and motion just by reading through these chapters. Note you will need solid drawing fundamentals before you even pick up this book. If your drawing skills need improvement then pick up some beginner books first and get your fundamentals down.
Layout and Composition for Animation Most animation books focus on movement which involve characters and creatures moving between frames. But backgrounds and layouts play a huge role in every animated scene. Layout and Composition for Animation is a detailed book focusing solely on background designs and compositions. I do not think this book is the perfect guide to background painting there is no such guide. But I do think this book offers clarity for animators who want to learn more about the background design process.
The Nine Old Men is a book spotlighting all nine animators, their history, and their unique skills in the field. Maintaining consistency It is better to draw thumbnails for all scenes in your sequence at the start of your assignment rather than before each individual scene as it is animated. This method will keep the character acting consistent throughout the sequence even if scenes are animated out of order which usually happens in production.
It also makes it easier to develop the character performance over time. Always keep the original storyboards pinned up for acting and continuity. Good actors: Designs that animate Any pose you think of, you must draw with facility, so that it isnt what the pose is so much as why is it being drawn what emotion is.
The previous section shows how storyboards inspire character animators to create a performance within a story context. What if you are a student learning to animate walk cycles or express the characters emotions? Your scene is a self-contained assignment; it is not part of a longer film.
How do you show the characters personality? More importantly, how do you avoid the pitfalls of clichd poses and movements that can make your scene resemble a thousand others?
Take a look at the simple humanoid character shown in Figure 1. The figure lets call it Sam, a name that can be used for male and female characters is a blank slate that has been used to demonstrate animation exercises in a variety of books and is also available as a rigged CGI figure.
It has no determining characteristics it can be young or old, male or female. This question has a simple answer. All animation is performed within a story context.
It all depends on how you define story. The story must be simplified to meet the criteria of your assignment. Instead of a three-act feature treatment, or even a three-sentence outline for a short film, your story can be the characters mental state, a relationship between two characters, or the interaction of a character and an object.
Your object in each instance is to show a pantomimic impression of the characters inner feelings why it moves as well as how. Your emotional interpretation will be different from the next persons if you use YOUR emotions and do not imitate those of others in animated films or animated textbooks.
Sam is easy to draw, but is not particularly interesting. In the words of Brge Ring, You must make it interesting! So we will follow Brge Rings advice. The animated character, like a human actor, does not stand alone.
It is influenced by its background and its relationship with other elements in the scene. This is where animated acting begins. My animation students perform this exercise to warm-up every time class meets. Its a wonderful way to get the creative juices owing. The basic emotional acting exercise was devised by Shamus Culhane in his classic book Animation: From Script to Screen, using elf characters that had predetermined personalities and designs that set them into a specic context. Ive extensively modied the exercise, which led to some extensive criticism from Shamus more about that later.
Lets get started. An animated ball can be a simple prop, or it can be another character in your scene. We will thumbnail Sam reacting to and with the ball in a variety of attitudes.
Draw a line on the paper for a oor plane, but do not add background details at this time. Sketch Sam with the ball in full gure for each emotion. Draw a few rough poses that express his inner feelings; dont only do one. Each emotion may be done as a separate exercise on a different sheet of paper. Work with the body attitudes rst; the facial expressions are not as important.
Time your exercise. Start with ve minutes drawing time for the rst emotion; then try decreasing the timing for each subsequent one. You will eventually nd that a minute is enough time to draw two or three thumbnails for one emotion. Do not use close-ups and do not rely on facial expressions.
Use full gure drawings and totalbody acting. Make these sketches quick and rough. Do not worry about clean lines; scribbles are ne as long as the poses read. First, list some emotions and attitudes on a piece of paper; try these rst, then add your own later on:. Construct the gure as you would a gesture drawing. Portraying the action is more important than creating a nished, clean drawing.
Get the line of action and body mass rst, then rough in where the feet will be, and draw through the torso so that arms and legs attach convincingly on opposite sides of the body. Thumbnails do not need to be pretty just pretty effective at conveying the gesture.
Do not erase drawings and do not cross any out; keep them all. Start a new sketch on the same page if the old one is not pleasing to you. Write the corresponding emotions underneath each sketch.
You can also include a short description of Sams thoughts as I have done in Figure 1. Ive drawn all the emotions on one page; please do yours separately, and do more than one sketch for each emotion. Do not make the sketches too large. Two or three should t on a sheet of notebook paper. Make sure the character doesnt go off the page. When you have nished this exercise, turn the drawings over and view them lit from below on a light box or animation desk. You can reverse them in a computer graphics program if you are working digitally.
This technique gives you a different perspective on the drawings and shows you the areas that work and those that do not. After you have done this, redraw and improve the poses, working to the same timing as before, on the reverse side of the sketch and once again write the emotions underneath the drawings. Label the revised drawings Version 2. Shade both versions in black so that they read as pure silhouette.
Which sketches read best? Version 2 will often be superior to Version 1, since you can see the weak areas in your original drawings when you view them in reverse. This enables you to push or strengthen the attitudes in Version 2 so that silhouettes and acting read better. Date your sketches and keep them in a folder.
Repeat the exercise on a daily or per-class basis, returning to the same emotions a few weeks apart.
See how your later versions compare with your early ones. Shamus Culhane made the astute criticism that this exercise didnt use the characters that you are animating.
Try doing the assignment using a simple character of your own instead of Sam dont use pre-existing animated characters that already have set personalities. Your characters personality now inuences your choice of pose. Sad This cannot be mine 1.
Now animate a walk cycle with the character in one of the attitudes. An angry walk will differ considerably from a happy or depressed one. Use Sam or use your own character but keep it in character. Next, animate the character throwing a ball in a scene running ten seconds or less.
You may use the same attitude or choose one of the others. Draw thumbnails of the major keys or action poses and make sure that every pose depicts your chosen emotion. Do not change emotions in mid-scene; we will get to that later. An angry character will walk angrily up to the ball, pick it up, and throw it angrily possibly through a window. A loving or happy character might gently play catch with the ball, a depressed one might not bother to pick it up, and the greedy one might not want to throw it to anyone else, ever!
Find your own way of expressing the characters thought processes through its action. There is no one correct way to animate this assignment just as there is no one way of interpreting a Shakespearean role. CGI Computer-Generated Imagery animators draw thumbnails before beginning to animate just as cartoon animators do.
There are programs available that let you import your thumbnails into the scene or draw them directly on the monitor so that the model may match the pose.
The answer came in a roar: There will always be differences in how the eye perceives animation in the two media since CGI works with solid shapes, while hand-drawn animation is linear. A hand-drawn character will seem to move faster than a fully modelled CGI character even when the scene timings are exactly the same.
Design changes You may find that your own character does not portray some emotions in this exercise as easily as Sam does. This may be due to the basic design, which might contain too much pencil mileage details that can obstruct clear poses or take too much time to draw. There is a reason why Sam has no clothing, hair, or other distinguishing marks! It is normal for animated characters designs to be reworked once they have been tested in motion.
At the Walt Disney Animation studio, character model sheets were never finalised until an entire scene of test animation was produced and keys from that scene were often used for the action model sheet. If you find that some details on the character interfere with a pose, try leaving them off and working for good silhouette value.
Then revise the character designs, using some of the acting poses as rough model guides.
The result will be a stronger design and a character that is easier to animate. Character design, rig, and poses by Ignacio Barrios. Next, we will learn how dialogue animation was handled in the past and how techniques have changed today. An introduction to dialogue animation Caricature n.
Character actors It has been said that a good voice actor can create 50 per cent of the animated performance. This is particularly evident when an animated character is designed as a caricature of the actor who provides the voice. It is a relatively simple matter to analyse the actors characteristic movements and incorporate a caricatured version into the animated characters performance. Many excellent animated characters have done this very thing. Caricature Some animated performances incorporate the caricatured appearance and movements of the voice actor.
You should not rely too much on pop culture references since the passage of time and cultural shifts will often date them.
Zazu the character was amusing even without this knowledge. Designs that animate An introduction to dialogue animation. The drawback to this system is that the caricatured references may not remain relevant as the film ages. If the original performance is good, this should not create a problem. The caricature of Rowan Atkinson as Zazu the Hornbill in The Lion King is amusing, but the caricature is not essential to the performance; Zazu will remain amusing even if the audience is not familiar with the actors other work.
Then there are occasional instances where a nondescript or ordinary voice track does not provide any obvious reference points for the animator. I once worked with a famous actor at the end of their career when their voice was not at its best.
I had the character moving in an even sprightlier manner than usual to cover the fact that the voice track was not particularly strong. The animation helped the voice acting, rather than the other way around.
The voice actor may also provide reference for the physical appearance and characteristic mannerisms and movements of an animated character. Mouthing off: Full body acting and dialogue animation When sound film became the standard in the late s there was a lengthy period of trial and error where animators attempted different methods of portraying mouth movement for dialogue scenes.
The Max Fleischer Studio usually postsynched their dialogue to the animation. Jack Mercer and Mae Questel would ad-lib Popeye the Sailor and Olive Oyls amusing voice tracks after the film had actually been animated and the characters mouths did not move.
Other cartoons from this period tended to feature over-analysed, carefully pronounced dialogue that bore little or no resemblance to actual human speech. Mouth movement was seen as primary, or the most important action in a dialogue scene. Each mouth shape was treated as a separate design and drawn in laborious detail. As a result every mouth shape was emphasised equally and handled independently from the body action, which led to grotesque facial distortions see Figure 1. Animated performance took a quantum leap forward when animators at the Walt Disney Studio discovered that dialogue animation was in fact secondary action, and that dialogue delivery was put over by body movement and attitudes rather than over-analysed mouth shapes.
The change is apparent in a specific scene in an early Mickey Mouse cartoon. Go on and play something, she says winningly while leaning over the side of the piano. Mickey inhales deeply and replies, I have to be coaxed! Minnie walks up to him with a feminine swing of her hips and bats her eyes as she says, Well Im coaxin ya!
Both characters movements are naturalistic and beautifully timed to the dialogue. The body action is used to create the character performances.
The mouth shapes are underplayed and were clearly added after the action was blocked in. The dialogue in the rest of the film is handled in a more standard fashion. Surprisingly, over-animated mouths continued to be produced well after The Delivery Boy was made. It took more trial and error before the animators learned to let the body movement carry the bulk of the acting. The Disney animators began to animate body action first in dialogue scenes, using the soundtrack as a rough timing aid.
Mouths would be added later after the character acting was approved. This approach eliminated the over-animated s mouths and made the performances more believable and naturalistic. Fleischer Studios animator Shamus Culhane retrained at Disney to learn the new animation techniques.
Here is his description of what happened when he and fellow animator Al Eugster returned to Fleischers in the mids. The louder the volume, the more violent the effort of the body to produce it. The size of the mouth was a very minor contribution to the end result They would be added later if the body movements were in sync.
Dave Fleischer, the producer, commented on the accuracy of the mouth action during a sweatbox session. When he was told that there were no mouths, he couldnt believe it.
The synch was perfect. He was mystified when the scene was projected again and he saw that indeed there were no mouths. Curiously enough, some animation textbooks provided very limited analysis of dialogue animation. In one instance, the dialogue mouths were taken from a film where a character shouted the line so each mouth shape was as distorted and overdone as the s overanalysed animation, though the drawing was considerably better.
Mouth shapes will vary in intensity depending on the characters emotion and the voice actors performance. There are no standard mouth shapes for dialogue animation. Found in translation: Non-standard lip-synch Human beings mouth shapes vary by nationality, language background, or physiology. Stanley Kubricks movie Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb featured a gallery of human cartoons, three of them played by the same actor.
The brilliant Peter Sellers used a stiff upper lip for his British captain, a mush-mouth accent for his American President, and a permanent death-grin for the Nazi scientist Dr Strangelove. Sellers pronounced all of Strangeloves phonetics except for P, B and M through tightly clenched teeth. On the other hand cowboy actor Slim Pickens seemed to pronounce every word with his mouth open wide, revealing every one of his teeth.
There is no one way to perform animation dialogue, no more than there is only one way to animate a character.