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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

No. 82, Adventures in Character Design, Part 1: Looking for My Character

What to Do when an Idea Isn't Working

Recently I came to a place in the planning of my new personal film where I felt blocked.  The concept was of two characters having a confrontation in an airport, and as I tried to commit the whole thing to storyboard, my progress and enthusiasm ground to a halt.

The original main characters.

I expressed this to a close friend who is also an animator, and he just shrugged and said, "Well, maybe there is something wrong with the whole idea. Rethink it."

Immediately I felt re-energized. And I also felt relief, because I was keeping with my new resolve not to animate anything without first storyboarding to the end. So I had not wasted a lot of work.

I began sorting through the ruins of my concept like a man standing amid the tornado-riven rubble of his home, looking for what might be salvaged.  There were some good character designs, and there was the airport location. There was a gag about an oversized suitcase that couldn't possibly make it past airport security and size regulations as a carry-on.

Part of the ruin was what had been my main character, a goofy guy who was funny-looking but hard to understand or empathize with, even for me. He was the one with the suitcase, and now I saw that he had to go, and he had to leave the suitcase behind.

Keep the suitcase, lose the guy. These are my first sketches of the character, from a traveling notebook.
 But what could I replace him with?  Was it necessary to start over with that, too?  Or was there possibly something already there?

Next: A New Start

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