Sunday, 27 November 2016

Animation Principles 008

Sack Jump Exercise

To further build upon the 12 principles of animation and using them, I have done a sack jumping exercise. Though I am aware of the principles, using them is often times slightly different than I had expected or had been using them previously. The further I go into traditional animation the more exciting it becomes. A lot of very interesting methods and tricks I would otherwise not have known. This also improves my intuition for movement as an animator. Quite different from the trial and error method I had used previously.

To do the sack jump I'll have to take into account;
  1. Staging
  2. Timing & Spacing
  3. Squash & Stretch
  4. Arcs
  5. Slow in & Slow out
  6. Anticipation
  7. Follow-through & Overlapping Action
  8. Solid Drawing
  9. Appeal
  10. Straight ahead & Pose to Pose
  11. Exaggeration
  12. Secondary Action

I chose to do this animation as Pose to Pose, I started by creating a layout for the animation. My first layout was pretty awful, however, I did draw with confidence. I got some various feedback regarding the height of the jump and the way I had drawn the sacks.
The more I think about the process and experiment the more mistakes I can fix and the less mistakes I may make in future. Even after my final results, I look back and see where I could have improved. Though sometimes its not immediately obvious and may require peer review.

I kept making my layouts too high. Perhaps I was too caught up with wanting to use the entire page. I needed to scale up the sack rather than having larger movements. During some of these early layouts I started to try and understand the volumes I was drawing, adding surface texture or breaking them down into shapes. I didn't like the overly chubby sack I had, with the sharp tassels. Nor did it make sense to condense the shape into a cuboid. This is when I realised, I need to look at how I might draw a sack, both looking at other peoples drawing and sacks themselves. with some further thought into the properties of the object. This lead to some fairly heavily overthought sack constructions, losing personality and becoming very dead.

To liven up the process, I started adding faces. This really helped create flow, visualising the sack as a character more so than a sack. Making sure not to get caught up in what is Right but instead what Looks and Feels good. The face helped me visualise the different planes of the sack. Top tassels will be arms, of course. Moving down we hit the first plane which would become the face/chest. then breaking the lower section to resemble knees, having the lower tassels represent the feet of the character. This helped me build a much more believable character.

Here's what I came to. Something simple that I initially thought would work, not too complex, keeps to its form etc. Sadly though, it turned out very stiff. The stretch poses are mirrors of each other and the start and end pose are the same. Why on earth did I think this was a good idea. I even did a test shoot to figure out timing before I scrapped it.

Perhaps not as Awful as I make it out. but I did not find this Appealing. Back to the drawing board. I continued to draw sacks during downtime, getting comfortable and confident with my drawings. I often noticed some inconsistencies. Sometimes I would attempt a pose without fully understanding what I was trying to do with the underlying structure. this just led to drawings that didn't look solid or hard to interpret.

Among my sack drawing tests, I thought I would try the perspective as I was getting a little more comfortable. I knew the general concepts of working in perspective and I feel confident in applying the animation principles. So I pushed further and gave it a go.

My first layout was messy, I wasn't fully sure on how I was going to establish a good size in 3D space and also have enough depth. I made the mistake of drawing my keys over my perspective layout once it was done. this meant I wasn't able to adjust them easily. I created a reference rectangle for the general size of the sack at that depth. As you can see, I struggled to maintain that size in the drawing of the sack in the pose above that point. Because I had drawn it onto my perspective grid, it started to get annoying and I wasn't able to fix it easily.

I started again. This time around. I made sure to get my perspective nicely sized, keeping staging in mind. I started to overthink where I wanted to place my perspective lines, this lead to perspectives on angles I didn't want. In the end I settled for this. not the cleanest lines, but it worked.

I made sure to keep my poses on a separate piece of paper so not to ruin my perspective. this also lets me use the perspective consistently during the animation process. I used the horizon line as a point of reference when it came to the height of the character. I realised that in perspective the height may be difficult to determine and the only constant point of reference is that of the horizon line. Looking back I can see what I could have done to fix the heavily exaggerated perspective that I was struggling with. either by cutting the first frame lower down on the perspective and to change the angle by moving the front and back positions left and right respectively. keeping the horizon the same and determining the perspective through the 2 points, start and finish.

All is done and I then continued to finish the animation. I felt as though my perspective is strong and I managed to hit the various principles. My main dislikes being how exaggerated the perspective is. perhaps a higher jump to compensate the distance and the posing for some of the action, not quite as strong as it could be and often times doesn't take much of the perspective movement into account. As the sack would lean forward / backward through space rather than what I had done, being left to right.

I wasn't sure if my jump was too quick. I tried the motion on 2s, but again seemed too slow. Likely to be caused by the distance. Bringing the start and finish closer so the speed is slower or adding more height so that further inbetweens wouldn't slow the motion too much. Of course there's always the option of using thirds but that would require reposing the animation rather than adding more inbetweens.

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