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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

No. 61, A Walk Cycle for Albert, Part Four: Front View Final

I am going to present two versions of Albert's walk made this past week.  The first is about half cleaned up, with not all of my planned changes yet done.  The second is the final cleanup.  Later in this post, I will explain why I am including the half-finished version as well as the final.
The half-finished version. Here, some of the drawings are still in blue pencil but most of the planned changes are in.

This is the final pencil test; the drawings are all done in graphite pencil now and are ready to be scanned for digital ink-and-paint.

Cheap Trick Department:
When doing cycles such as this, one is constantly comparing the first half of the cycle with the other half; otherwise, the movement will not look balanced. In this case, drawing 1 (the right foot contact drawing) is more-or-less a mirror image of drawing 15 (the left foot contact drawing.)  Thus, each drawing in the cycle has its mirror counterpart.  With 14 drawings to track in this way, I have found it useful to give the drawings an alphabetic designation as well as its numeric one.  So drawings 1 and 15 are both also "A"; drawings 3 and 17 are both "B", and so on.  In this way it is easy to pull out both the drawings marked C or D or whatever for comparision to one another.

Changes made since the version shown in Post No. 60:
--More change of scale front to back.  That is, when Albert's foot or hand is closer to the camera, it is more obviously larger than when it is at the back, farthest from the camera.  This change of scale in what 3D animators call the Z axis can add depth and drama to a scene, even when the character's body remains a constant distance from the camera.  Opportunities to utilize this enhancement should not be neglected.

--Left arm animation.  As mentioned in No. 60, I was unhappy with the arc of the arm as it came forward.  This has been fixed.

--Shorter pants legs, with socks showing.  Shown only in the final.  Albert's socks are red, so there will be an amusing flash of color there.  Also I am simply complying with my own model sheets for Albert, bringing him on model.  The pants legs also are animated as a follow-through to the leg movement but this is rather subtle.

--Precise drawing.  Cleaning up the images in the same order in which they were drawn as roughs (extremes, then breakdowns, then inbetweens), everything has been tightened up.

--Foot slippage.  This could come under the heading of precise drawing, above, but in walk or run cycles it rates its own category.
Foot Slippage chart on drawing 17.
In doing the rough animation, I had just "eyeballed" the foot positions, but when it came time to clean the drawings up, I scrutinized them closely and found it useful to make this chart.  The lines represent the back of the heel on drawings where they are in contact with the ground.  Note the ghost images showing where the feet originally were in this drawing.

--Mystery Change ???  There is one other change I made here, and I challenge you to find it by comparing the Half-Finished and Final pencil tests above.  No new drawings were added, but something I haven't mentioned has been re-timed.

Can you find it?  I will post the answer next time, but I would like to hear from anyone who can find the change.  Moreover, can anyone tell me why I made this change?

Next: We Rotate Albert 90 Degrees and See His Walk from the Side.


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