Anim 619: Starting to come to life

This week in animation class was actually incredibly busy, but it was fun. I had a lot more work than I have previously had, although that was partly due to my own desire to push my limits. I have been fairly good about doing my assignments well before the deadlines, but this time I had to push it in order to get things done.

Our first part of this week was to take the bouncing ball animations that we did last week and add a tail to each one. This is to show what is called secondary action and overlapping. In elaborating further on the concept of showing weight in animation, we have to look at what else there is in a scene or character to give the illusion of weight. Say a character has on a raincoat: if the character is walking and suddenly stops, physics dictates that the coat will keep moving in the direction of the aforementioned walk, get pulled on by the character, then spring back due to the force being exerted on it. Subtle hints like this help to give the illusion of life to animations. They are pretty much everywhere, but you won't notice them unless you are looking: the tuft of hair on top of Pinnochio's head, Snow White's dress, or even the large belly of the Sherrif of Nottingham in Disney's Robin Hood. All of them simulate weight without distracting from the main action.

The assignment called for a tail for each bouncing ball, each with a different weight. One of the things that you will find when animating tails is that they follow the motion paths of the object it is attached to, creating sort of a whip-like motion to them. I decided to take the regular bouncing ball and add a hairy tail to it:

The second one I decided to do something a bit trickier. I played around with the timing a bit, slowing down the drop and decided to add half of an elastic exercise band to the bowling ball as its tail. I didn't know how it was going to react as I let it fall, so just started animating and this is what it ended up as:

The first time I played it full speed, I was as surprised as you are. The darn thing actually worked! ... at least it kind of worked for me looking at it here. I can think of a few things to do differently, but overall, not bad for a first time around. It just made me feel really good that I seem to have a natural ability to pick up on these things. It must mean that I am finally doing what I am really good at.

Our next assignment was called the Alive Ball. Essentially, we sadly learned that we wouldn't be just animating bouncing balls for the rest of our careers and would actually have to start delving into character animation. The assignment was fairly freeform in what we could do, which is always a good to help you learn what your boundaries are. The one requirement was that in seven seconds, we needed to have a ball in a scene moving of it's own power and show it thinking in some way or another. My imagination ran wild... then I tried to contain it:

First off, I timed out about how many frames I thought each action would take in my little story of the ball that discovered its own reflection. I created a background, which you can see above, then plotted the motion arcs. I then put a breakdown of how many frames would be needed for each action, which is the bar on top. I printed off the background with arcs and used that as an underlay as I drew all of the drawings. After I was finished, I photographed all the frames, made a few more in-between frames to slow down some motions that were going too fast, then composited the drawings over top of the background in Adobe After Effects. The result:

That poor little ball never knew what was coming.... can I tell you just how much I enjoy animation?

1 comment:

Elder Max and Sister Pat said...

Just want you to know I enjoy what you put here. It all looks good. Everyone should have the chance to do what they enjoy in life