Tuesday, September 04, 2007

NEW TUTORIAL! : solidity/turning trick

Hey man IT'S A NEW TUTORIAL! Had a lil' extra time so thought I'd throw this up. So, ever wonder how to get your animation rock solid? Oh, BTW, this is pretty much a tutorial meant and applicable for 2D guys! Sorry CG peeps, I'll do another one that applies to both! Anyway, beyond actually knowing how to draw... which brings me to a side note. These tricks WILL NOT make your animation better, they will only enhance to natural gifting you already possess to make your animation work flow easier and quicker. I had a student once that tried a trick once. He taped his model sheet to the back of his lightbox to control his sizes and proportions, as I suggested. He came back a week later and said "it didn't work, look! My character gets huge." Now, obviously he didn't really pay attention to his model sheet while he was animating because the model sheet doesn't lie, but that's not the point. These tricks are not magic tools that will make you a great animator, the are only extra tools to help your already existing talent. In a day an age where the computer is so much a supplimental part of life and a program exists to help assist you with everything I wonder if there is a bit of preconditioned mentality for us in animation. Anyway, just wanted to make that all clear.
So, ever been animating something that is moving a great distance. Not necessarily fast, just across the entire screen? Or, even harder, across the entire screen SLOWLY? Had difficulty getting those inbetween poses that are freakin' far apart to be solid? Me too... here's a trick. One day I was visiting a friend at James Baxter's studio. He was introducing me to James and I saw James sitting in his seat just tearing bit's of tape off and sticking the ends on his desk like the below photo.

Like so.... anyway, I wasn't real sure what he was doing I just figured he was taping something up or whatever. Well, then I ran into a shot later where the character had to move across the screen very slowly. I was having a bit of a time keeping it solid. I remembered what James was doing and I wondered if this was what it was meant for. So here's what I did. It is easier to inbetween something that is not moving much. So I of course nailed my Key's down like the below picture (BTW the way, these drawings are merely for drawing examples, not meant to be show pieces).

Then I very loosely and lightly nailed down where the inbetween would go. Like this:

Then I lifted the 2nd key off of the pegs and taped it directly over the 1st key drawing so the head shapes matched up.

BTW, you can still do separate charting. I wanted the heads horizontal movement to be even, and the head rotation to favor the first Key. So, chart and inbetween accordingly. Nothing has changed, it just got easier to do.

OK, now you take that inbetween pose and place it directly over the other 2 keys so that the head shape matches up with the two keys. It should look like the characters head is just rotating in place.

The corners of the paper your using should reflect your charts. If the horizontal path is even, the corners will be evenly spaced. I also added a bit of an arc so the paper dips ever so slightly.

Now, just inbetween as you desire!! It's pretty simple really. And trust me, it's WAY faster and more accurate than doing it the other way. Now note: THIS IS NOT TRACE AND PLACE! It's sorta related, but not quite the same. Trace and place will for the most part give you the paper cut out feeling of animation. Shapes won't change and it'll be solid, but unturnable (yes, made that word up :) ) and dead to look at. I hate that kind of animation-- sure it's fast, but, ummmmm, that's all it is. I do recommend ruffing out your shots without doing this. You should not be completely obsessed at the first part of the process with technical perfection, you can clean that up in tie down, which is what this trick is meant for! Anyhow this is the final result!

Hope you guys find this useful! ANIMATE WELL!