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

Saturday, May 26, 2012

No.4, Problem 1: Fixing a Bad Drawing (Part 3)

Although I am now a believer in serious thumbnail planning, I admit that I have always had difficulty judging the timing of an animation with only key drawings to work with in the pencil test.  Suppose you have a character throwing a ball.  You make a drawing each for the starting pose, the anticipation, the pitch, the recovery and the ending pose.  In the pencil test you expose each drawing for its own duration, plus that of all the anticipated drawings between it and the next pose.  Thus, if you have decided that drawing 1 is an 8 frame hold and then there are 8 more frames of movement until you get to drawing 2, you will expose drawing one for 16 frames.  I can imagine this in my head and time out the spacing with a stopwatch, but to string the 5 drawings together in a pencil test and try to decide from that whether it is going to work, is hard for me.  Still, in my time I have done a lot of animation where I did not give the poses enough time to "read", so I am going to work with this a while and maybe I will get it.

Here is a pencil test using the same thumbnails as shown in Part 2.


This pencil test omits the first of the seven poses,
 and you can see that it was done on the upper edges
 of the original drawings.

I think now the poses do read, and so I feel I can proceed to full-size animation drawing now and add more nuance.  Here is the first test with all inbetweens present:

There are 18 drawings here.  The recovery is fine at the end, but the leg comes down too quickly, throwing away the comic effect.  I decide to add 3 more drawings, which will also serve nicely to slow the acceleration of the goose, playing up its weight and inertia.

Here is the new test, now with 21 drawings:

Alright, this all seems to be working well.  One of the new drawings was a single exposure of the kickout, a hyper exagerrated drawing with no drawings between it and the previous extreme.  Everything else here is on 2's.  Here is that drawing in blue and the one following in orange:

Next:  The Anticipation Revisited

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jim!
    I hope this message finds you well... In addition to working full time in the L.A. animation industry, I have a side project in the form of a website that focuses on the people in the trenches who make the award winning stuff we love. Interviews and art from prop artists, the bg artists, board artists, painters, timers, directors, layout artists, producers, composers, voice artists, 3d riggers, animators, Texturers and modelers, TD's, game Look dev artists, game animators, development artists and executives, sound effect people, editors, post production people etc… the blue collar workers of animation. Basically if your job is associated in some way with animated movement, we want to interview you!

    We also want to know what else they're good at, their other talents, be it music, cooking, ketchup sculptures, or monkey wrestling!
    And of course we want to hear from the creators too, because they have a unique point of view. We think everybody has stories to tell from the trenches of animation!
    The site address is and our goal is to interview every single person in the animation industry... ALL the animation industries... a lofty goal perhaps but ya gotta have goals in life yes?

    We have over 400 interviews from professionals world-wide and I would love to add your name to the growing list. You don't HAVE to talk about what you're working on or the studio you work at if you don't wish to... it's more about who you are. All it consists of are a series of emailed questions you fill out and email back along with art to compliment that interview.
    Please let me know and I will send you the questionnaire.

    -Mike Milo