For People Crazy About 2D Animation!

Acme Punched! is for people crazy about 2D animation. It may be enjoyed by beginners and others, but it is aimed at animators who know already something about the process of animation and the basics of character animation. In large part, it will attempt to provide a deep look into the problem solving that goes on in my head as I work out a scene, often in step-by-step posts that I will sometimes enter in "real time", without knowing in advance what the outcome will be. Mistakes and false starts will not only be included but emphasized, so that the creative process of animation will be portrayed realistically. And, while my own bias is for 2D drawn animation, many of the effects and principles discussed here can apply to CGI 3D animation as well. I hope the blog will prove useful and instructive for all.

-Jim Bradrick

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

No. 3, Problem 1: Fixing a Bad Drawing (Part 2)

Fixing the Recovery

A review of the the original scene pencil test (see Part 1) shows some interesting and encouraging things, despite the reconstruction to be done.  For one, the timing is pretty good.  There are three characters, and I am lately learning how to direct the viewer attention to the place I want.  For example, the goose only flaps its wings as the woman is making her slow, slow anticipation before the kick, then stops so we will not be distracted by that.  The man steps back twice, but not at times when that will be a distraction either.

I find nothing wrong with the woman's windup or anticipation,  so I will only have to change her drawings leading into the new extreme I have drawn.  Tilting the goose so far to one side suggests some new business for it but mainly only in the neck and head.

Having to do something over is unfortunate, but as long as one is about it, examining the whole thing is a good idea in case secondary elements could also stand to be plussed.

Looking at the pencil test and the drawings, I feel that the recovery could be better than it is.  The timing is okay but perhaps it could have more punch and a better sense of mass in the handling of the goose.

I start with a new set of thumbnails for the recovery.

Read clockwise 1 thru 7, beginning at upper left.
From the backward tipping point, the character kicks out, throwing some weight and energy to the right, then begins to get control and overcome the inertia of the goose.  At drawing 4 the movement of the goose to the right has picked up speed and now needs to be restrained from going too far. 5 and 6 show the effort of slowing and controlling that mass, and at 7 the character comes to rest.

Here I want to take a moment to recognize the influence of Nancy Beiman in her books Prepare to Board and Animated Performance.   As a self-taught animator who aspires to highly sophisticated animation but has never had the advantage of working in a large studio under the tutelage of masters, I am largely dependent on what I can glean from books.  I will soon add to this blog a critical list of books most useful to animators, but for now I just want to acknowledge Ms. Beiman's stress on working out problems in thumbnail form.

This is not advice I had not already heard, but it was advice I had not taken to heart.  Being, as I have noted, usually the sole member of my studio, I have often been impatient to get into the actual animation without taking the time to plan thoroughly enough.  No doubt this is why I am now involved in this particular do-over.

Nancy Beiman insists that most of the heavy thinking be worked out in thumbnails, and that very rough animation or perhaps the thumbs themselves should be pencil tested for flow and timing.  Too often, I have arrogantly gone ahead and done a lot of detail on a sequence I was sure didn't need to be tested, only to find that I was wrong about that.  Are you getting the idea that this is not the first time I have had to do something over because of poor planning?  

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