Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Random nuggets of joy

I've had a lot of time to sit around and think about what i might not have covered in the last few posts on animating a shot, so i've come to a boiling point now and i think i'm ready to spew out some thoughts.
Here's a debateable topic: Animate with lightbox on or off? As with MANY things in the process of animating this is what i've learned, EVERYONE DOES IT DIFFERENTLY! James Baxter animates with it on, others like John Pomeroy animate with it off. not all the time i'm sure, but that's at least what i've witnessed these 2 do. and yet, they are both great. answer... it's up to you- it's good to know the pro's and cons for having it on all the time.
easy to track spacing
helps with keeping volumes
helps keep a good context in your mind of where you are

Sometimes your drawings can get kinda flat
you stop flipping
things start to become mechanical

Me, i animate with it on most of the time, but, i always have my lamp angled "just so",so i can focus on the drawing i have on the pegs a little better. Like i said, it's seems to me that everyone does it differently.

Spacing: Here's an interesting subject that i'll cover more once i delve into tie down more, but spacing is something i've discovered few animators understand even though it's the difference between weight and no weight, laugh or no laugh in a scene. It's very technical but once you understand it you can start using it artistically. The bottom line for me and spacing is mostly about "where to put what", meaning, where do i use half's and where do i use thirds. It'snot easily explained, but i'll say this. Anytime you are slowing in and slowing out i typically use a 3rd on the very last inbetween to the key drawings. however if a character is slowing down but not to a complete stop and then progresses to speed up i will just use halfs. confused-- don't worry about it, i'll explain more later.

Ahhhh, here's a frustrating one! KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID! Everyone in animation knows this K.I.S.S. things. I think this is the critique i've heard more from animators i respect than any other critique. As animators we kinda wanna impress, ya know? show all our amazing "skills" to qoute Napoleon... but it's really a matter or being confident enough NOT to do something fancy to linger on a pose. I have found that this for me is atough line to draw sometimes. You can go too far in any direction really.... "if i hold it back too much, it'll have no nuance. If i don't simplify enough my poses won't read." Unfortunately there is no answer-- it's case dependsant, but the answer for each scene revolves around what the point of the shot is. and believe me you guys, i'm preaching to myself! If the scene benefits from those eye darts your throwing in there, then great, but if it's distracting then take'em out no matter how well executed they are. Something i heard alot from Tony Derosa was "work within the pose". I used to get confused cuz his stuff would seem so boiled down to me-- and THAT'S the point! He boils things down to their essence and works within the poses. working within the pose can be anything the character does while in the pose (head shakes, blinks, slight breathing). Look at the stuff on Sher Kahn, Milt could drawing anything and move stuff like no one else, yet, that's the most subtle stuff he ever did! What used to impress me was stuff that moved brilliantly (good weight and such), but now what blows me away is subtle acting that makes you feel something. It's kind of scary really-
Okay, just had to get that off of my chest! I am hoping that the next post can be a continuation of the "tutorial series!". I just finished 2 jobs and actually have time to work on my own stuff. yeah!! take it easy all!


crylic said...

man, these little nuggets of yours (or rather big nuggets) are pure gold, I am wholly inspired by your blog and your teachings. Really I'm kinda speechless, you got me goin' tho, working on a scene as we speak with a character of mine that i really want to make my own. Keep 'em comin' man, im all ears.

St John Street said...

Great points once again I think we all need to be remembered of these points an also that as individuals we all do things differently and that always a bsad thing. I too can relate to when I first starting to get into and still do to some extent was mad about all the grant gestures and use of weight form and structure, But I too saw that so much more can be said with the smallest of gestures than a Grand on well always insight and great rememebers hope the jobs were fun and see u at the next post take it easy and stay fresh!!

Chris Graf said...

i'm a regular visitor and constantly learning new things from your blog. your insight is pushing me and friends to new levels..i love it!
thx a lot!

Ian Worrel said...

Thanks for these posts Matt. I thought I'd mention for new students that when I first started animating in school I had the light box on 100% of the time and I would draw neat seeing one drawing at a time. After 4 years of school and now moving into my third year at CalArts I now animate with the light box off 90% of the time and I tend to think of my entire scene as one drawing rather than a bunch of individuals. Growth is strange and slow.

Jamaal Bradley said...

thanks for continuing to post...its good to hear refreshers. I continually come to your site and your posts have been a part of my inspiration for my shots ..

Matt Williames said...

Crylic, am so glad you find this isnpirational! Good luck on your shot man, just be honest and do the best you can!
St John: thanks for the comments and i ain't just reminding you guys i'm reminding myself too! I wish i could say the jobs were fun, but, oh well, they were work which we need!
Chris: thanks so much for your words man! You all are the reason i am doing these posts.
Ian: thanks for your insights man--your right, everyone works differently. I work with the light box on most of the time, but that's me. No ones right or wrong in this situation it's just up to you as the artist and how you work!
Jamaal: thanks for your comments man-- i love hearing that these are actually effecting some people! I envy that you still get to work on features. I guess i'll have to wait for Disney to get there 'thang' going again!

andy said...

Hey Matt, thanks again for posting all this fantastic info and bits of wisdom! I've just now got some time to work on my own animation, and these posts along with the animations you've shared has been a great inspiration and given me direction on how to get what I've got in my head moving on paper. Cheers and God bless!

K McLeod said...


Hows your monkey pic coming along?

Thanks for the bit about slow ins in this post it help explain a bit more of what Brain LeMay talks about in his animation tips N tricks books.


Rusty Mills said...

Matt it's great to see other animators doing traditional animation like me. Biggest difference it I've jumped into doing it all on a TabletPC. I too have a blog that I use to not only share information but remind myself of animation tips that seem to get past over. Funny how even though we know all these things we tend to not listen to ourselves. I also am chronicalling my film. feel free to take a look.
the plausible impossible

Cory and Tashina said...

Matt, I lvoe your stuff, And I've tried to get as many people as excited about Curious George as possible! I loved the animation on it. I'm glad yor sticking to 2d I' admire you for it, I have been undecided for years on what I wanted to do, but seriously.. after seeing curious george.. I think I'm going towards 2d

James L. Cook said...

BTW Matt,

What software are you using to lift yoru audio, expose it, shoot and composite your pencil tests? I know animo and digicel flipbook are pretty popular, was curious what your preferences are.

thanks ahead.

Matt Williames said...

I just downloaded the sound file online at wavcentral.com i think that's a pretty popular site. But i use Digicel Flipbook for everything else. it's pretty cheap and works well for my purposes! hope that helps!
Andy, Cory: Thanks a lot guys! you all are the reason i am doing these posts. I grew up in the MidWest so i understand how sometime you want more that an "Art of" book to inspire and inform you. fortunately now there are a lot more resources than there used to be.
K: The short is still running, well, crawling along. Sometimes it just has to take a back seat to life. i am not excatly a story man either, i think there is a stor sense in me, but it's sorta been dorment. thanks for asking, and i'm glad this info is helping you out!

Graham said...

Nice blog. I'ma 2d and 3d animator, so it's nice to read a bit about the "other side of the fence" ;)

Can you please spend some time to talk about your spacing in a coming post? I'd like to know more about the "thirds" and "halves".

Matt Williames said...

Hey Graham!
I have done a couple of posts on spacing in the past, you might want to search around for them. I DO intend on talking about it though in up coming post, at least pertaining to the current piece of animation i have been doing. thanks for stopping by!

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