Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Digital acting 1 - Arguing with myself

After some lectures about character posing and flow lines, I can now take a look at my initial lift animation and understand what I did wrong and right. I will do a sort of self critic analisis of my work.

What I failed to take into account with my animation was fundamentaly related to the character flow, timming and also, to some extent, emotion expression. I know understand the importance of using my poses to emphasise the action, in this case, that my character is about to do. Making his body positions connect with the action is of vital importance.

The first thing I did wrong was the speed of the initial part. It looks like the character is moving in slow motion. This is wrong and after looking at myself in the mirror and acting as my character, I saw that I indeed move slow, but not so slow. There is always some life, some energy into the movement. And this initial pondering pose is not connected with the rest of the animation. It lacked energy, determination! He is pondering but he knows what the task is and how hard it will be, so this pose has to transmit that idea. His body needs to say " Uf, it's heavy but let's do this @*&#".

Now one thing that I belive I was able to pull out is the flow lines in some points of the animation.

For the pondering position, the curve that his body makes leaning forward makes one look at two key factors: his face, and the rock. The arms point to his face, and the body and legs to the rock. According to what I learned this is something that needs to happen to a character, so that the viewer is directed to what I want them to look at.

Another position that I want to point out is the moment when my character is about to go for the rock.The flow lines are supporting where to look at and they also emphasise the action, although I am still not sure whether I should try and transmit this emphasis with an even more curved pose.

Grabbing the rock. He is all over it! I thing this position really makes my point. The rock is the main view point and his body just points at it in different ways, his head, the arms and the legs, they all lead to the rock.

Now for the last part of the animation I think the flow lines work ok but, the movements of the spine should be more acentuated, specially in the part where he pulls the rock a second time, mid way in the lifting process. I used red lines to point out where should the curve of his body be. The blue line represents the arms curve, which is ok, but not the rest of the body does not flow it it.

Overall, I think I have used some strong poses acording to what I have now learned, but there is lack of flow in some of them. Would I be given the chance of re-doing the animation, I would most definelty have used some stronger ones. I would make use of all of the knowledge I have obtained and corrected certain poses. But one of the things I would have lost more time with would be in my sketching process and I would have given a different thought about the key poses and more atentition to the timming of the animation.

It would be simpler and more effective if I had worked more in my pre animation stage, and now I realise that the process of blocking the animation can be a time saver and makes your work easier, just because when you start animating you already have a lot more understanding of how it should look like.

That's all!

Digital acting 1 - "The Axe and the Wolf"

Recently I have been learning more and more about what key poses are, what makes them relevant in the animation process and why do they are key poses. By looking into a short gif image of a little wolf swinging an axe, I was asked to identify the key poses of this small animation.

In my understanding there are three key aspects that point out the sequence of the actions. When the wolf is swinging the axe as if he would be hitting a moving target, since he is facing left with the axe in the air, then turns right and swings the axe down and hits the ground, and then a more subblte one, when the wolf removes the axe from the ground and does a small movement as if he was loosening the axe from the ground to pull it up and have it ready to swing again.

I deconstructed the animation into frames so that I can better observe the key aspects of the movement:

For me these would be the key poses. For the swing movement there is one frame where the wolf is holding the axe over his head in the maximum streched position, his body following the movement flow. The next key frame is when the swing movement is done and the axe hits the ground. When the axe hits the ground there is a reaction to the impact and the wolf makes a sublte jump, to simulate the strength of the impact. Here I find two other key frames, the highest and the lowest point of the jump. After this, the wolf removes the axe from the ground but there is a frame that strengthens the idea of the weigth of the axe: a small up and down movement with his upper body emphasised by a full strech of both arms. The final key frames are when the wolf positions the axe above his head, followed by a change of direction and a jump.

I think the selection I made is correct because from these frames mentioned above I can see the extreme positions of the movement the wolf and the axe have. These frames allow me to dettermine the main movement aspects, aswell as the small emphasis movements that the wolf does to transmit the idea of weight of the axe.

The following frames are not in the correct logical order since the first frame is not the extreme point of the swing movement and it should start when the wolf is in the oposite direction to the swing movement. However, in relation to the gif image they are exactly correct, because the Gif starts in a swing frame.