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, June 22, 2019

No. 188: Taxi Arriving

Although character animation is for me the most satisfying part of 2D animation, it is sometimes necessary to do other animation along the way. This is animation of objects, like the Old Man's trunk, that are tedious to draw and yet give conviction and substance to the scenes.

I did a recent post talking about the difficulty of imitating 3D animation in 2D (No. 182), but it is not so bad if you are not trying so much to imitate 3D as to simply make a convincing 2D interpretation of the movement of 3D objects.

In the scene we are looking at here, there is a wide exterior shot of an airport terminal departures building.  A taxi appears at screen right, following a curving driveway, and stops to unload a passenger and his luggage.

I considered making the road and curbing straight across, so that the taxi could be a single image sliding across from right to left.  But, as usual, I decided on doing it the hard way.

This is the layout for the scene.

This shows the beginning (at right) and ending (at center) positions of the taxi that drives in. As you can see, the vehicle turns in perspective as it drives in. It also diminishes in scale.

It would be possible to animate the taxi moving across the page from pos. 1 to pos. 2, but there is a helpful shortcut I can use.

If I superimpose positions 1 and 2, then the inbetweening will be easier and more accurate. Tracing from my pos. 1 drawing, I made a more complete rendering that is registered directly above pos. 2; the inbetweening is now an obvious process.

The consideration of arcs while inbetweening is in this case moot; the arcs will be introduced in the final placement of the drawings along the path of movement.

Lasting 18 frames, this will require 9 drawings (shooting on 2's).  There will also be some squash and stretch as the taxi stops, but that is a problem that can be addressed separately.

Here is a view of five of the drawings being rolled on my animation board.

When this is done, I will then reposition the drawings along the path. In past years, I would have done this with scissors and tape, cutting out each drawing and re-mounting it onto a new sheet of--wait for it!--Acme punched paper.

But giving in (just a little) to today's digital convenience, I can just make a spacing guide and then shift the scanned drawings in Animate Pro.

Spacing guide for the 9 moving taxi images.

Next: That inking and painting again!

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