Thursday, November 13, 2008

What should I animate? - pt.2 exercises

Alright, so this is an extension to the "What should I animate?" post, which was focusing more on the demo reel side. But what if you don't care about the reel, what if you just want to practice and treat the shot as an exercise? What should you animate then? You can easily create a list of things, just keep the shot short. It's also up to you to add complexity to it. So let's see:

Bouncing ball
  • pure physics
  • physics with tail
  • obstacle course
=> same as before but with added squash and stretch
=> same as before but with added character

  • walk
  • run
  • sneak
=> expand cycle into unique shot

Body Mechanics
  • jump
  • fall
  • stumble
  • faint
  • getting out of/into chair
  • walking up/down stairs/ladder
  • getting/climbing over obstacle
  • swinging from something to something
  • lifting/carrying/pulling/pushing something heavy/medium/light
  • any athletic activity
  • fights (punch/kick/slap/martial arts)
For instance walking/running/stumbling down the stairs. I once found this image @ vvkonline and what a great set for that exercise (not saying that you should rip him off!).

Specific gestures/movements with a goal in mind, not just mechanics
  • grabbing something, for instance getting a drink, but the acting changes depending on the emotion (bored/thirsty/shy/etc.)
  • putting a hat on (or any other clothing)
  • putting something together (puzzle piece/maquette/decoration)
  • opening/closing a door
  • getting in or out of something (car/bathtub/rainy spot/etc.)
So let's say you're animating someone putting on a hat. You might think "What? That's boring.". Well, can you do it as well as shown in this clip?

clip is not on that blog anymore, sorry

Emotional takes/gear changes
  • switch from one emotion to another

  • expresse emotions through body/facial acting only, no sound

  • get used to sticking to a certain timing, pick short sentences or even just words, shouts, sigh, grunts, laughter, cry and animate the face only (upper body as well, treat it as a close up)
  • full body acting
  • longer dialogue
  • longer dialogue involving complex emotions
  • two+ person dialogue

If you've done all that and feel bored then take any section and combine it with another one:
- tennis player looses his game, screams in frustration and breaks his raquet, then falls on his knees. He starts walking on his knees towards the referee, begging him to change the score, the referee doesn't care. Player gets up and stomps away while the other player in the background is surrounded by photographers and fans lusting for autographs. You can add sound to that and break the action up into separate shots for a sequence.

Now, that's just for a biped. You have the whole animal kingdom to explore as well. You can treat the animals as real ones and go through mechanics and movements or combine animal movements with anthropomorphic behaviour.

Again, if you start mixing exercises across all sections the possibilities are endless.

There are many more exercises, so feel free to add your ideas in the comments section.



Alonso said...

if it's not for your reel then I'm a big fan of the super quick test. Something you can start without a big hastle, chug on it for 20-40 minutes, and be done. Just quick little tests to put some attention on a facet you want to shore up. Like the spline doctors post:

Graham Ross said...

Great post as usual JD

Anonymous said...

Soooper great post!
So many possibilities! thanks


Jean-Denis Haas said...

I'm glad it's helping!

jeff said...

Now that's a comprehensive list! I'm going to have to make a permanent link to that one.

Raveen said...

Awesome stuff mate!

Your articles are really helpful and informative.

Any plans on compiling a PDF like Animation Mentor does with their Tips and Tricks blog? =D

Jean-Denis Haas said...

Thanks Raveen!!

I thought about the pdf, it would be neat to have. I'd like to have more content though.

Sonia said...

Thanks for the articles JD :) Part 1 of this article was quite eye-opening. Many things about the cut-throat competition that you said, is never really told at school and I spent quite a lot of time ignoring my level and trying to catch up with everyone else, under the pressure of a limited visa, the fear that huge student loans 'must amount to something worthwhile' etc. Until I discovered the joy of mastering the basics first.

Whenever we come across a wise suggestion like this, we feel "Wish someone told me that on the first day". But it's never too late! It's helping me a lot! Many thanks :)

Jean-Denis Haas said...

Awesome, glad it was of help!

Anonymous said...

Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular
post! It is the little changes which will make the most important changes.
Thanks for sharing!

Jean-Denis Haas said...

Thanks for reading!

Josh Freeman said...

This basic explanation is quite helpful for someone like me, who is new to whiteboard animation and trying to grasp different aspects of it, thanks for this, keep it up, buddy.