Art: Back to the basics - Sep. 3, 2009

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  1. #1
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    Back to the basics - Sep. 3, 2009

    Hey everyone! Been a little while since I've posted here, my final semester of school was quite time consuming. But as of late I've tried to return to posting a bit more often; I realize that if I want to achieve a real professional level I must be producing and sharing more work, as well as helping others however I can. So with that I'd like to place a couple of things up on the chopping block. Please feel free to be as blunt or harsh as you'd like

    Firstly is my senior reel; watching it I realize there is a lot I can improve on and I aim to do just that. It is nice having the reel together, though; sort of a nice thing to start building upon.



    And this second thing is what the thread title is referring to: back to more basic exercises. I know my timing, spacing, acting, anticipation, follow-thru, etc. all are in desperate need of improvement. So going back and sort of relearning the basics seems like one of the best ways to go about this from what I can tell. So the following is a WIP of a simple flour sack animation I've started working on. It's barely animated and roughly timed out, but it's fun and I'm getting a kick out of trying to re-figure things out.

    Back to the basics - Sep. 3, 2009

    Really quick I'd like to ask anyone out there how they go about working on ones? Included the above test, I've primarily animated on twos--animated here and there with a mix of ones and twos, but nothing substantial--and I've been trying to get a better grasp on using ones for a while. I've been rereading the Animators Survival Kit and studying lots of animations, and I'm understanding it a bit more but I still feel like a complete noob when dealing with ones most of the time. So yes, if anyone has any thoughts on animating on ones, it would be a big help!

    Thanks for looking, I'll update the animation as it goes!

    Last edited by Onir; September 3rd, 2009 at 07:32 PM.
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  3. #2
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    I too just got the animator's survival kit. You use ones are when the motion is meant to be quick, and twos for most ordinary motions. And you mix it up to make things interesting.

    I'm not sure how the formula would adapt for web based animations, since they are supposed to be less than 24 fps. That's what I'm fiddling with.

    It looks like your problem is that of weight. There's a bit of a floaty thing happening with the pillow, and also on the other animations. The only way to fix it is to do more life drawings.

    On the pillow, the first few frames actually has a good passing position, but the rest doesn't. Put them in.

    I'm drawing a blankin my sketchbook, that is

    Ye-ha! I actually completed my site.Check it out
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  5. #3
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    One of the same troubles it looks like you are having same as I did / do, at least in 3D is the strength of the key poses are a little weak. And it has a compounding effect on the rest of the animation.

    It looks like the flour sac animation fixes or addresses some of that though Timing can be improved, but the poses are much more difficult for a starting point. No specific advice for animating it other than what I saw a long time ago which was the animator making it said it was roughly equivalent to a human torso, and the gestures tend to work well since when you change them you are reversing the line of action... I'm losing coherency...

    Poses need work, keep at it they come with experience

    llothcat has the right idea about weight, but it can be improved more by when you have a shift in weight, the down position in the walk is the crucial point that sells it, no matter where it is, when you take weight and apply it fully to one foot, the rest of your body is going to have a reaction to it, slightly staggered or subtle but it tends to define a lot about a walk or a run a jump, a lot of things really.

    Timing can be improved if you pick up a musical instrument ^_^ or with good old fashion practice.


    Between the ones and twos, it helps to plan out the animation and add ones when you want to add character. The twos is just as good at adding character, but the ones in my experience run the risk of making something look squishy if the frames aren't solid. But the ones show off whatever wasn't solid, and its much like 3D animation where you see everything, no tricks no hiding no missing information. Start by doing everything on 2's and if you want for consistencies sake, add 1 extra frame every other frame for the 1's and see what happens.

    got a little tired, and ranty, hope some of this is helpful...

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    hey man, looking at your reel it seems like you may be a little afraid to animate faster actions. namely the sequence where the guy is jumping around the saw blades. that stuff needed to be a lot faster. if you meant it to be slow mo, it doesn't work. its not interesting to see that in slo mo, it would be a lot more fun to see it at real time. as for your question about working on ones, at first try and incorporate 2s and 1s together, using ones for faster action sections of your animation. after a while you'll get a feel for it, but honestly, id work on getting your timing and spacing right with 2s or 3s.

    -start a revolution.

    AnimationSamurai.com
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  9. #5
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    llothcat - thanks much for the crit! I completely agree with you on the weight and the keys of that animation. one thing I'm learning pretty immediately is that I need to improve my key positions both in terms of legibility and also just so they support the animation better. as I'm gonna mention below stupid me didn't actually save the animation it seems, so I haven't been able to go back and fill in the blanks but I will be keeping in mind what you've said as I move onward.

    sly's hand - thanks much for the big reply! looking at the flour sack as a torso (got that from someone in my sketchbook as well actually) is something a teacher of mine once suggested while we were figure drawing and it helped me alot at the time.. that said I kinda forget about that when I'm drawing, so hearing it again is great for reinforcement hehe. gooood point about down positions as well, for some reason I have a habit of skipping over the down position at times. certainly gotta work at that...

    good point about an instrument! honestly I never would have thought about connecting those two, but I can definitely see why it would. I actually have been slowly working at the piano for the last 6 months or so, I'll have to work at it a bit more with that in mind as well. and lastly I really like your idea of adding a one here and there when working on twos to see what happens... a really nice method of trying it which sounds good to me thanks much once again!

    DanielBodinof - wow very good point; I never thought about that but I do generally slow down a lot of actions unintentionally. I guess I've just thought that if I'm not putting enough inbetweens in it won't make enough sense. That 3D piece with the sawblades was not supposed to be slow mo either... gah yea definitely gonna work on faster actions. I'll try working more with ones and twos as you're mentioning, but as my spacing and timing could definitely use work I'll try staying on 2s and 3s for that (easier on my mind hehe). thanks very much for the crit and advice!

    ----

    wow I rambled a bit there... again thanks very much you guys, I really appreciate the help. unfortunately I don't have an update of the flour sack for you; I've been trying to use the program Plastic Animation Paper and, while I really like it for it's drawing and the way it handles overall, I'm not all that used to the interface. Sooo when I went to work on it the next morning, it turns out I only saved out the videos of what I had but not actually the animation file. so I'm gonna move onto a different flour sack animation, though I don't have anything right now. all goes well I'll post it up later today. thanks again for looking!

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  10. #6
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    Hey guys, just a quick update with a new WIP. I'm not going to be at my computer for a little while so I won't be able to update it for a bit, but yes any and all feedback is much appreciated.

    I apologize for the weird quality as well, had to export it a bit differently than I usually do.

    Back to the basics - Sep. 3, 2009

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  11. #7
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    Hey, just wanted to update really quick with the "finished" version of the above; I redid the fall completely, but I think it works alot better than how the keys had it (though there is some size change it looks). Was able to do the fall on ones and not have it come out looking terrible (in my opinion of course) as well, which felt nice hehe. Crits always welcome of course!



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  12. #8
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    Ooo it's been almost a month? Well here's a couple things I've done during that time, both in Maya.





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  13. #9
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    The ball is quite nice but you should check your tics on that last bounce and end.

    Is the walk cycle a WIP? Just askin' as there's no weight shift yet.

    Cheers

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  15. #10
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    egerie - GAH I completely forgot about shifting the weight between the legs! it's so obvious when I look at it now; missed it entirely as I was going though... geez, that's why I love being able to post things up here I'll definitely go back and work that in; was thinking of moving on to a run cycle or something, but probably would have made the same mistake. Good point on the ball as well, I had a feeling the last bounce and the roll at the end wasn't quite right. I'll take a look and see what I can do to fix it (probably do another ball bounce as well, was good practice with the graph editor). Thanks much for the help!!

    edit: I went back and quickly added a simple shift in weight between the legs; nothing too drastic, and the cycle definitely needs work, but yea just thought I'd put it up.



    Last edited by Onir; September 16th, 2009 at 04:07 PM. Reason: update
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  16. #11
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    Doing some nice work here Onir, I do enjoy you SB from time to time also...

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  17. #12
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    Hey there Onir, i like your posts so far and there is a definate improvement of weight in the last few animations you posted which is great!!!

    personally, i would suggest that the poses could be stronger like a few others have mentioned - check out movies (live-action) and notice posing/shifting of weight etc all the things you look for in life drawing. Also check out animation movies (disney/dreamworks/miyazaki/pixar/animationmentor/gobelins - first four are companies and the last two are animation schools with great showreels) to notice how extreme you can take your normal life poses (for example, in a normal walk what does the animated film exaggerate more? or less even?) Always sketch and do GESTURES GESTURES. Gestures are so important (if you don't know exactly what they are ask me and i'll explain)

    Finally i would suggest to do lots of planning for each animation. I KNOW its tempting to go straight into it...maybe then look at some youtube clips for reference on a few poses at best but DONT do that. BEFORE diving into the animation, work out the KEY poses using thumbnails...dont go for your first idea keep trying new ideas (variants on a theme) Also NOTEs take loads of notes...note down that you need extra spacing here...or weight here..or shifting of hips here...etc...ALWAYS take notes...its a continous process of editing your ideas and researching - also record yourself doing the action - that way you will be able to act it out and KNOW what parts of the body work instead of trying to guess at the limbs moving etc.

    HOpe it helps sorry it was long and good luck!

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    Hey dude, i like your stuff ! Like Daniel said, you should try to do more faster actions ! But i understand that you wanna first have strong foundations ! Keep it up !

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  21. #14
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    The walking guy seems stiff. I think you should Exaggerate your animations more and then go for the realistic approach.

    for example, look at this vid in the :27 mark. Obviously exagerated but still the guy seems more real than yours, he has more character compared to yours that almost seems like a robot.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLmSpOYZ0pw

    Your pillow/sack animations are great though, especially the last one. For the ball, it seems bouncy at first like a tennis ball but as it slows down it gets harder and seems more like a bowling ball.

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  23. #15
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    cout < mecha - Thanks man, much appreciated

    clym - Whoa thanks for the compliment and advice! I completely agree on improving my key poses; that's a really big reason why I don't have many updates as of late. I kinda trap myself in analysis and never actually make anything (big thing I'm trying to change). I have been studying more animation lately (was drawing from Milt Kahl recently actually) but I hadn't thought about comparing live action and animation before. Will definitely be doing that, thanks much for the tip And prep work is something I'm realizing more and more the importance of; I decided recently that I wanted to start working on a new short (which I'll definitely be posting the progress of on here) so I could work on the whole animation process as well as make some more finished work for my reel. Good call on the video thing as well, I act out the majority of my animations but I never recorded it and studied it. Lots of things to try, thanks again for the great advice

    Walid D - Thanks, glad ya like it I'll definitely get on some faster motions; the work I've done recently experimenting with em has been fun and helpful, but I know there's so much more I can learn hehe

    zwarrior - Good point on the walk cycle, I think I kinda went about it the wrong way hehe. I was trying to see how much I could limit the actions and still have it be lifelike, that way I'd know what the minimum I should do is. The one in the reel you posted is really nice, nice exaggeration and much more lifelike than mine as you were saying. I'll definitely try for something more exaggerated next go around. Also, good point about the ball bounces, I wasn't entirely sure how much squash and stretch I should keep in the final parts of the bounce. Probably give another one a go sometime, always a nice exercise. Glad ya like the sack animations too

    --

    Whew, thanks much for the replies everyone!! Sorry I haven't posted anything, been focusing more on the still drawing side of things lately. As I mentioned above I'm going to start up on a short soon, hopefully I'll have a rough animatic up in a couple weeks. Yes though, I'll definitely be getting more tests n such up here soon. Thanks again for looking!

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  24. #16
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    actually I was thinking from a stereotype cartoon's perspective at the time. On second look, the walking is fine. Its normal considering his pace and real life.

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