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, December 23, 2017

No. 145, Time to Detaxi, Part One


To disembark from a train is to detrain, so I am thinking perhaps detaxi might work for getting out of a car for hire.

In any case, we are getting my Old Man character out of his taxi in this next scene. He has arrived in front of the airport, and this scene is just before the one of the taxi driver moving the Old Man's trunk, which we looked at in posts 142 and 144.

Here are the storyboard panels for the scene.

By the time it came for the animator (me) to begin the key drawings that would supplant these panels by the storyboard artist (me), some things had changed.  I had done careful layout drawings of the taxi with its interior, and animation of its door opening. And I had done a lot of thinking and study about what the action should look like, not excluding my getting in and out of the back seat of a car a number of times.

The taxi interior. Of course the door is on its own layer.
The door, closed.
The door, all the way open.

I decided I wanted both to show that the Old Man, though somewhat deformed in his back, had a lot of agility in spite of his handicap, and that getting out of the back seat of most cars is unavoidably awkward. (We are not thinking of older taxis from previous decades that were designed with extra leg room in the back seat.)

Here are some keys and extremes.

He opens the door of the taxi.
He gets both hands braced.
Bringing out his left foot.
Ready to stand up, but we cut to a closeup here.

A couple of pose drawings came hard to me, but I kept after it and they did finally get resolved.

Next I got them down on the exposure sheets, doing my best to time them out accurately so that they could be assigned drawing numbers and spacing guides. I have not always done this at this stage in animation but it is useful to learn to work out timing with a metronome beat or a stopwatch as I imagine each move from extreme to extreme. I own a classic wind-up stopwatch, but a digital stop watch is a standard feature on many cell phones. There are also a number of metronome apps that can be downloaded free.

Analog and digital stopwatches.

Here is a pencil test of the whole scene, first a rather dim version with two layers exposed, so that you can see how the character relates to the taxi.

And now, the same business with the character alone.

You can see that there are still some drawings missing, but it does look like it is working.
I will soon post the full pencil test, but not until after the first of the year.

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