Here is the animatic I created using mostly just the drawings posted in Part 1. An attempt was made to suggest the timing of the entire segment.
I invited the Director (me) into my office to look at it with me on my computer. He took one glance at the video, shook his head and started for the door.
"Well, what do you think?" I (the animator) called out.
He turned back to look at me. "They both start moving at once," he said. "How is anyone supposed to know what to look at?" Then he was gone.
I was disappointed, but only in myself. He was right. I had ignored a basic rule of animation, one I keep having trouble with when considered in its broadest sense.
Anticipation as a prelude to a particular action for a character is something I know well, and tend to do pretty well. Someone pitching a ball winds up first; the windup of a baseball pitcher is the most obvious and exagerrated anticipation that we find in real life. Any forward movement benefits from a windup of some kind, even if it is just the slightest gesture in the opposite direction.
But let's not forget that one purpose of the anticipation is to bring the eyes of the audience to the right place in time to appreciate the main action.
When you have two characters on screen at once, this becomes doubly important, and so on. You don't want a viewer studying the eyes of the secondary character when the main character is about to do something important.
So who is leading here, and who following? It is the man leading; he wants to lower the fox down to a level where he will have more control. As the woman is connected to the fox by its jaws, she must come down also.
Is an anticipation by the man all we need here? No, I believe we need more. We need to show the man thinking before we show him acting on his thoughts.
Next: The Man Takes Charge