10/2/09

Pose Test: Once there was a snowman...

Once there was a snowman. At least that's how this story starts.

This week is sort of a work-in-progress update, considering that I had two weeks to complete this short animation. We have been talking in class about overlapping and secondary action, animation lingo for 'things either pull or they get pulled.' It's just another subtle tactic that animators use to make more realistic and entertaining action.

We were told to keep it simple (if we wanted) and could use a stick figure or snowman for this exercise. (That's where my brain started turning its gears.) Since the whole purpose of this class is to get realistic motion, not drawing, if we were inhibited by our drawing abilities, we wouldn't have to go into crazy details. Well, I'm crazy and the number of gags that you can accomplish with a snowman are seemingly endless at this point. (At a later time, I'll share my insights into a new story about Frosty the Snowman that I dreamed up while attending an institute class.)

The exercise was to show a character pulling on a rope and then being pulled by a rope that is attached to them. Oh, and it had to be around 8 seconds long. I had a couple ideas floating in my head and needed to see how they worked out, both visually and timing wise. I turned on my webcam and started taking some video of my ideas:

video

Once I decided on the proper way to go that seemed to work out in the time frame, I roughed out the timing and started keeping track on an exposure sheet that I just made up in Numbers (Apple's dumbed-down version of Excel for you Windows folks out there). Once I got the timing down, I needed to determine the 'key' drawings. Key drawings are essentially the poses that tell the story of your animation. I wanted to work a bit quickly to rough out the timing, so I drew the poses on the computer using Adobe Illustrator, exported them as JPEGs, and imported them into Adobe Premiere to sort out their timing and see if I was correct. I also drew in the motion arcs, so I could print it out on Vellum and would have a guide and template for when I was animating:

The results of the initial timing test:

video

I was fairly pleased with the results, so I shifted a few things with the timing, drew the key poses, shot them with the camera, and then put them into a timed sequence:

video

From what I've calculated on my exposure sheet, I've got roughly 80 drawings to get done to get this thing finished. Considering how much detail I decided to put on my snowman, I think I'd better get started. What a better way to spend conference weekend than by animating, eh? I remember a few years ago, I spent three conference sessions animating lightsabers... must be a tradition of mine.

1 comment:

Sally said...

Oh, I LOVE the snowman. I will name him "pully" and he shall be mine :).

Just kidding. I love seeing what you're working on. I will leave the comments about drawing nude women for your brothers to bug you about :). Take care!