Eadweard Muybridge

Although I have touched slightly on Eadweard Muybridge last year when I began to look at animation, I haven’t ever really taken the time out to look into the images he had taken and the work that he had created.

There’s a vast array of images that Eadweard Muybridge had taken that capture the movement of people, animals, objects and many more, in movement that can be incredibly valuable to any animator or anyone with an interest in photography or movement. The images are the best sort of reference to understand the way in which people tend to move or how certain body parts react to different situations that we put upon them.

These of course are only the guidelines to a general or more ‘regular’ movement that anyone can take on and then develop or exaggerate. By keeping to these the movements become more believable even if they are later exaggerated.
As one great animator mentioned, animating animals are much easier to do because as we can exaggerate and play around with the movements more as people don’t really know how far certain animals or how they move. But with humans everyone knows how we move and therefore can be taken away from the character because we see humans everyday and all the time.

His images are another form of animation, as each frame is another extreme within the movement of the person, animal or object, that creates a motion with that subject. I’ve been very tempted to find and purchase a book with all of Eadweard Muybridge’s images in to thoroughly analyse the images to gain a greater understanding of the way in which people tend to move. Luckily the College’s library has a great stock of books, but the main point right now is for me to get out and simply try to analyse people’s movements.

I’ve recently been trying to analyse people’s walks and movements as Richard William discusses in his Animator Survival Kit, which he expands on in the DVD set which was a great find. It’s been more difficult to break apart and understand people’s movements within time frames than I had ever expected. The idea of breaking people’s movements into individual frames and then animating the extremes with easing, arcs and the correct flow at first, and sounds, fairly easy but not until I began to do it and try for myself did I realise that it’s a true skill and art to do it right.


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