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, February 23, 2019

No. 180, A Little Applause for Myself

A Woman Clapping Her Hands

As I have stated before, a good animation cycle is hard to get right.  Why? Because, since it repeats and repeats and repeats, if there is anything at all wrong about it, that will be noticed.  And it won't only be noticed by your fellow animators; it will be noticed by EVERYBODY.

"Everybody" won't be able to say why it is wrong, of course, but they will see it and be distracted and unconvinced by it, and when that happens it takes something away from the illusion you have built. You can't let that happen.

I have another scene here with the two TSA-type security guards, a man and a woman, whom you may remember from posts 174, 175 and 176.  This is a final shot for them. The situation is that when the Old Man succeeds in getting his trunk up onto the table with the X-ray conveyor, many people who have been watching break out into spontaneous applause.

In the scene here, we cut to see that one of the most enthusiastic in her clapping is the woman guard who had been so suspicious of the Old Man earlier.  Smiling, she looks over at her partner while continuing to clap.

Here is the storyboard panel for Scene 5-56.

Originally requiring only a single panel, I have now added
the woman turning her head toward her partner.
But I have had a surprisingly hard time getting the clapping cycle right. For once, Dick Williams advice was not a help.  He discusses clapping hands on pages 242 and 243 of his book (The Animator's Survival Kit), but it is a hammer-and-anvil sort of clapping, where one hand holds more-or-less still while the other hand does most of the movement. 

What I have here is a light sort of applause clapping, like in the gallery of a golf championship, with both hands moving about equally. Also it should be noted that the clapping is a kind of secondary action, with the primary action being the woman's head as she turns to grin at the man, so the clapping must not distract from that.

Anyway, after three tries and even resorting to making reference footage of myself clapping--something I try to avoid doing--I finally got a good result.

First, here are all the character layers together.

Composite of 3 layers: 1) the man plus the woman's body,
2) the woman's head, and 3) clapping hands and arms.
Now the clapping cycle, which continues throughout the scene until fadeout.

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