Sunday, October 7, 2012

Week 2: The Principles of Animation

It’s difficult to believe that another week has gone by. It seems like just yesterday I was waiting for my first real assignment and now it’s already due. Phew! This week’s focus was on the Principles of Animation. Just like any activity in life, a foundation needs to be built in order to progress and advance as an animator. You can’t run before you can walk; just like you can’t animate a dialogue shot (well) before a bouncing ball. They are the essential building blocks. Conquer these and you’re on your way to creating solid acting shots and beautiful body mechanics.

Definitely check out the animator’s bible: “The Illusion of Life” by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Chapter 3 details the principles of animation as described by two of the original nine old men. It’s well worth the read and if you haven’t bought it yet, you should! The Principles of Animation are:

  1. Timing
  2. Squash and Stretch
  3. Slow In and Slow Out (Ease In/Ease Out)
  4. Anticipation
  5. Follow Through/Overlapping Action
  6. Arcs
  7. Straight Ahead/Pose to Pose
  8. Solid Posing
  9. Secondary Action
  10. Staging
  11. Exaggeration
  12. Appeal

This week’s assignment was fairly straightforward. We were instructed to go out to a public place (or, rather places) and sketch people in different scenarios. The focus was on their posture, attitude, weight, and balance. Once we observed this, we had to use a single frame to convey these ideas. The simplest way to do so is through the line of action. As illustrated below, the line of action is an imaginary line that runs through the entire body, from one extremity to the other. Creating the line of action and then layering the other body parts on top of it easily, and clearly, conveys a sense of weight and attitude.

Copyright © Preston Blair

After sketching the poses, we had to recreate our favorite one in Maya using AM’s Stu rig. Before I posed Stu, however, I spent some additional time tweaking my favorite pose to really push the line of action and make sure the pose was rock solid.

Here are my original sketches, the variations, and the final pose in Maya. Enjoy!

Sketchbook: Natural Pose

Final: Natural Pose

Have a great week!

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