Approving the Timing
Soon I was back with most of the drawings roughed in, and the Director and I looked at this second pencil test.
"Oh, this is coming along!" the Director says. "The timing is looking pretty good."
I felt good about it now. The timing did look good, I thought. Still, I yearned to see the smoothness that I knew it would have with all the inbetweens there. I went back and added them in, then shot another test.
At this, the Director only shrugged. "No surprises here," he said. "Yeah, it looks nice and smooth, but I knew that it would."
[I want to add a note here to explain how a pencil test for timing can be shot without all planned drawings present. Suppose you have a section showing the first 9 drawings, with 1 and 9 being the extremes, as in the spacing chart below.
|Spacing chart for drawings 1 through 9|
In the pose-to-pose mode, you would have done those first, of course. Then the breakdown, number 4. Then the major inbetweens, 3 and 5. That leaves drawings 2, 6, 7 and 8 undone. To shoot a test without these, you have to compensate for the frames of the missing drawings. So if all these movement drawings, 2 through 8, are meant to be exposed for 2 frames each, then you would expose drawing 3 for four frames, addiing in the frames that will belong later to drawing 2. On the other end, you expose drawing 5 to include the frames for 6, 7 and 8 as well, or 8 frames. Thus, whether or not you shoot just 5 drawings or all 9, the total will add up to 18 frames or exposures, and so the overall timing effect will not differ.
Note: Frames for drawing 2 were added to drawing 3, the succeeding drawing, while frames for drawings 6, 7 and 8 were added to drawing 5, the previous drawing. This is because we don't want to add either amount of frames to the extremes, 1 and 9. The reason for that is that you want to be able to clearly judge the impact of the extreme pose as planned, and the inadvertent addition of 2 to 6 frames could affect that judgment.]
Now back to our conversation between me, the Animator, and me, the Director...
I thought about it a minute and then I knew what he meant: adding a few missing inbetweens did not change the essential timing, which has to do with how long a pose or action is stressed, or how slow or fast something happens. All that information had been available in the first test (Sc 13_2). Adding all the inbetweens was only finessing what already had been stated.
Now the Director said, "You know what I want to see next, don't you?"
"The fox, I guess."
"That's right. So far, the fox looks like a stuffed toy. And that's fine, because the man's action here is the important thing, and you had to get that right. But now I want to see you turn your attention to the fox and make him as alive as the man."
Next: Animating the Fox