Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Body movement in support of personality

Each animator will get to a point where they will have mastered the body mechanics enough so that they can focus on acting choices. But temptation is always there to have gestures or other body movements showcasing animation principles instead of personality. I totally understand and I'm guilty of that myself. A frequent example in my workshops is my Maya 3 assignment from the Academy, Ze Chair:

which was lovingly referred to as "Animation Jerk Off" by the awesome teacher Lisa Mullins. She immediately let me know that this is just animation for animation's sake. And she was totally right. I was more in love with the animation principles and focused on showing them off, instead of thinking about character and personality. I hope she's still teaching. Her class was the first real character animation class for me and one of the best ones.

So once you get passed that, it's less about "there's a pop on x17" but more about acting choices, which fall more into the "I prefer this over that." as opposed to being wrong (of course you can have totally inappropriate acting choices that will feel wrong, but I hope you get my point).

Which brings me to a workshop clip I was giving feedback for. The question from the animator was, which version I preferred. My response and preference was based on movement supporting a character's personality, which I'm sure is totally debatable, but I just wanted post the feedback from the Workshop Feedback page here as well:



(This is in response to which version I prefer.)

Funny enough, I like them both, but specific parts and would mix them. I know that sounds complicated and not sure if that's helping you. What I like about "stuck02" is the amount of rotation and overlap the body has after she's being stuck. In "stuck02" she goes pretty far down up to x54, whereas in "IP10" she doesn't go as far and stops a bit abruptly. So anim wise from a body mechanics point of view, "stuck02" feels better.

But what I prefer in "IP10" is her left arm from x51 to 74, because it's stiffer. She's surprised, a bit irritated, but tense, and that is reflected in that stiffer arm. In "stuck02", from x54 to 85, the arm is loose and dangling, and feels too out of control and animated. Too me it's not in character.
After that it's up to you. Neither versions are wrong, they are just different in terms of acting choices. In "stuck02" she looks back up to x100 in a slow way, which gives her a feel of "Hello? Uhm... anybody see that? Help me!". In "IP10" she goes up very fast to x93, which gives it a feel of "Oops! I hope no one saw that!", which is a bit more in character because she looks and moves like a confident business woman, so when she's in trouble, I think she would want to keep that strong and confident look, so she wouldn't look around for help, she would try to fix it herself. That strong personality is reflected in x182, how she puts her glasses back into the right place. Then at the end when the manhole cover comes out, that's what breaks her confidence and that's why she looks surprised and out of it at x240. It's good contrast and a change in her character, whereas in "stuck02", she already looks a bit helpless like that during the x91 area. So the ending in "stuck02" is a bit more of the same in terms of character and less of a contrast.

So basically, I would use "stuck02" until x56, then use the rest of "IP10". :)

1 comment:

Dapoon said...

Thanks for posting this JD! Even I had been guilty of showing off my animation principles instead of focusing on the character. That was until a very talented friend of mine told me

"Always think of the performance, the principles will fall in place".