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

Friday, November 30, 2018

No. 174, Designing on the Fly

In feature animation production, the storyboard artists are not required to stay too much on model with the characters. As long as one can tell what character it is, and if expressions and body language are conveyed, a character may be drawn roughly and loosely.  For them, the important things are staging and camera viewpoint and clarity of action.

The independent animation film maker who is doing everything himself will sometimes design a character during the storyboarding process. In such a case, it is equally okay to be a bit careless about details and accuracy, because the character design is still fluid.

By the time real animation begins, however, it is well to have a model sheet made up.  I have a good example of that here.

I have a number of short scenes featuring these two characters, and I intend to animate all the scenes  as a group. This is a good way to minimize a tendency to keep on designing as the work goes along; if I were to do one scene in the group now and another six months later, there would be a likelihood that I might have trouble getting the character to look the same.

Figure 1

Figure 1 shows a collage of storyboard images of the two characters I am calling Ben and Bev.  They are male and female security personnel at the airport, in charge of moving people through the luggage X-ray process.  Here, Ben's images are more consistent than those of Bev, whose hair style keeps changing through the sequence's storyboard.

Figure 2

In Figure 2, I have retraced all the images from Figure 1, plus many more from a second sheet, working to make consistent all the details and proportions as I drew. The result is a model sheet that will definitely help me to keep these characters in line for all of their scenes.

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