Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On copying a person or an actors performances

Here's a question I got in the comments section of a previous post:

I have a question. Do you think copying a person or an actors performances is a good way to learn?

Sometime I will watch an interview of an actor and they will have particularly uncliched mannerisms and expressions when they are talking and think to myself "that would be pretty cool in an animation!"

So, it has occured to me to just copy the most interesting part of the interview/acting as a 10-15second dialogue, especially as a way to learn the subtleties of humans when speaking dialogue.

I think I recall that artist use to copy a masters work as an aid to improve there skills and thought maybe the same principles could be applied to improving your own animation and observation skills.

That's a good question and in short I would say yes (imo). BUT. If you do a straight copy then I would treat that animation as an exercise. Any animation you do is practice and practice is good. The problem with a straight copy though is that it's not very original, which is okay when you do exercises since you are doing those for yourself. But when it comes to producing a clip which should showcase your talent as an animator, then it's not going to help you. Being able to "transfer" cool acting bits from your reference onto your 3D character is one thing. Doing it well and producing technically good animation is another. But there are a lot of good animators out there who can animate beautifully. The real standout nowadays (to me at least) is your creativity and how original your ideas are (acting or otherwise).

So when you study and observe people around you or actors on film, then it should serve as an inspiration, as a springboard for more ideas, which you will in turn act out and animate, creating a new, more original performance.

In theory. It's easier said than done... :)

Hope that answers the question!


- pic source


Anonymous said...

Thanks man! Thats great to know.

You bring up some very pertinent points.I think I could use this idea as sort of animation training wheels.

Most of my dialogue pieces lack refinement and so look kind of robotic. I think copying someone who is being quite sincere in there expression and so not really acting (like in an interview) would help my animation look more natural.

I will try and keep you informed of any such tests I do. Thanks again!

Jean-Denis Haas said...

Sure thing!