Saturday, 4 December 2010

4 Pose Walk Cycle

Above image. is to illustrate the four pose walk cycle there are two over lapping legs where one leg at a time supports the whole body and then two striking poses. then to make it a smooth action the inbetweens are drawn. these poses are spaced five frames apart in the video below.

My first play on flash. just got the program and before my taught workshop on monday i thought I'd create a short animation to show the four poses behind a walk cycle. the animation is not smooth because there is only four key frames. repeated. two keys of a stride on opposite legs and two passing leg poses. enjoy

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The illusion of Life : Disney Animation

I dont care if you are a fan of Disney or not , the illusion of life is probably the most beneficial book fro animators wanting to learn good principles as well as reading this I have also been delving into Animators survival guide which gave me a really nice over view of basic animation techniques and principles. here are just some pages that showed some frames of animation and how the characters are Keyed in, also there is some lovely capture moments i.e. Mogely in this bottom image as he falls back to sit down his hair is forced upwards with the air resistance this is another great example of principles in action in good animation.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Cycles in animation, are they limited to hand drawn pieces?

Looking for examples of cycles in animation I have come across countless pieces that have been hand drawn.
For example here are a few walk, march and run cycles of some well known hand drawn characters which I have taken from

Listening back to the link on my previous cycle post from Cable Harding he states
 The character will stay in the middle of the frame meanwhile the background will move behind it, it's kind of like Scooby Doo when the mystery machine stayed in the middle of the screen and the back ground moved behind it.
 Scooby Doo is a prime example of cycles used in cartoons, a lot of this is heavily reliant on the story line as a lot of the time Scooby and the gang find themselves running away from monsters or chasing them instead. This allows the makers at Warner Brother to take advantage of cycling a series of frames saving time and resources.
Here are some examples:
1:00 stairs, 1:45 crocodile
running cycle
0:15 eyes, 1:02 stairs, 1:16 chase, 1:50 bookshelf, 2:47 tightrope
A musical parody but it has some good examples of cycles, one of which is the mystery machine cycle with the moving background
scooby and scrappy intro
It's safe to say that there are a LOT of examples in the Scooby Doo cartoons!

Equally I have looked at the Fleischer brother films which due to a similar style to Scooby Doo include a lot of cycles within their work. I came across my first example from the John K blog with an example of Betty Boop

Here are some good Fleischer cycle links:
Nice cycle sequence at 5:43
Cycle sequence at the beginning with example of background movement, walrus
walk sequence at the beginning and spaceship
Good cycle at the beginning with kids on the shoe

These are just examples of two different cartoons, there are many examples out there maintaining the same style and technique with the use of cycles in hand drawn animation.

Looking outside of hand drawn an obvious one to use would be one which we have been shown in Visual Culture created by print work, feet of song.

Similar to hand drawn CG Animation can easily create things such as run and walk cycles, it is stop motion which I have found hard to research.
Here are some examples of walk cycles created using stop motion:
However they don't have the obvious cycle quality that hand drawn purveys as Stop motion as a technique is destructive animation and therefore you can not repeat the same thing twice, you can only try to make it look the same.

Looking at some well known films I have come across what are cycles but they don't look the same, they just repeat themselves:
Wallace and Gromit - counting sheep
Coraline - circus mice

I don't think cycles are limited to hand drawn pieces completely but they can't be true cycles outside of this technique.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Follow through and overlapping action

Follow through refers to energy continuing after the main object coming to a stop ie. a man running with a long coat he stops and the coat swishes forwards with the direction of force and eventually settles. Over lapping action is something that happens simultaneously to the main action a character is singing in the wind and there hair is blowing around there face. liek in this example in a Disney Pencil test of the little mermaid.


This is an image from the Animators Survival Guide, a good book for studying motion through arcs and curvature. Every joint in a body creates an angle when it is bent or extended, creating measurable degrees, much like using a protractor. Joints create a hinge type motion, limiting e.g. an arm to swing in an arc,but always attached to a fixed point (the shoulder)...
...But joints come in all shapes and sizes, so while a limb has long bones between each joint, a spine, tail or hair ismade up entirely of joints, so it would create more of  a wavey 's' effect, able to curve further than an elbow/knee joint (which when applied to an arm or leg creates a slapstick movement, much like charlie chaplin)

Squash and Stretch

squash and stretch referes to the natural occurrence in movement where parts of the form or object re-tracked or extend. the most simple illustration for this technique for an animator would be the bouncing ball. this again like anticipation shows a storing of power as the ball squashes there is only one place it can go and thats up and it does that by exploding and stretchign in the direction its going ie.

Slow In and Slow Out

This is a rather gorey video that clearly shows how a slow build up in speed hightens the effect of the action, and how the deceleration allows time for the action to have an effect or impact on the viewer. Again, it also conveys the size, weight and characteristics of the object/organism (in this case a crazy IT worker, i dont blame him!)

Timing in animation

Basically timing is measured by how much motion occurs within each second of frames.
The quicker/slower an object or organism moves, the more the viewer is able to acknowledge its size, weight and unique characteristics, making it either believable or fantastical (something like what arril said!)
You get the idea that the ball slows as it reaches the peak of each bounce, giving it a physical weight that speeds up as it 'falls'


Anticipation can be two things. Relating to movement it means the delay ,wind up or store of power before a movement. this happens in everyday life even if you watch some in a city stand and then start to walk there is a weight /momentum shift backwards before it goes forward to create a direction of movement. ie. a frisbee throw there is a large back swing before a quick snappy forward release, notice the arm continues to move after it has been thrown. this is an example of over lapping action but we'll come onto that later.

or this example of anticipation in the framing of a shot. this particular example is from Luxo Jr. (Short by Pixar) where the luxo lamp looks out of frame ANTICIPATING something happening off frame or something about to enter the frame.

3D principles tutorial again.

pose to pose pt 1
pose to pose pt 2
straight ahead

As i said in my first post there are a number of the 3D tutorials for the different principles; here are links to tutorials on 'pose to pose' and 'straight ahead' techniques.
Pose to pose tutorials showing a better planned and structured technique using key frames, whereas the straight ahead method is spontaneous, making up the animation as you go. Neither method is shown to be better than the other, they both have different strengths and weaknesses.

walk cycle

Another link to a video...

I found this video useful as they break down an animation walk cycle simply into 4 points:
  • contact
  • recoil
  • passing
  • high point
whilst walking you through the motions quite literally.


Here's a video on understanding the concept of staging, a video on the principles of animation in 3D.
It talks through camera angles and how to set these up so the audience gets the best experience from the animation as possible. For instance in this case we have a sceen where a creature is walking, then turns suddenly and smacks his face into a brick. Instead of looking at this scene as a whole, the animator has set the camera to follow the creature as it is walking; only to reveal the brick just before it walks into it using as panning shot, thus creating suspense and suspense for the audience. As the animator says "using the principle of staging to come up with something more clear and entertaining to watch".

There are a series of these videos on the different principles if you would find it useful!