Testing out animation techniques

Within the animation that I’ve been currently creating, I’ve been focusing on implementing the traditional techniques of re-using frames and being very efficient with my animation and looking into ways in which traditional animators would animate only what is necessary or animate in a way to also save time as well as creating a beautiful piece of animation.

With the re-use of drawings this means I’ve been able to save myself a lot of time drawing frames over and over again which is most apparent with the constrained animation due to its rigid structure there isn’t much change with the shape if any. This is where the use and understanding of the dope sheets have been most clear as I can organise how to shoot the frames so the animation flows and works even though they are the same drawings coming up every few frames. I have of course had to add some extra frames once I have taken a test shot run with the rostrums within the College.

A good example of the use of repeat frames.

Tramp Pencil Test from Jamaal Bradley on Vimeo.

This is a more obvious thing that has been done within animation for many years and is only something I’ve been able to do with hand drawn more recently as I’ve organised myself better.
Something else I’ve been ‘playing’ with recently though is the point of drawing only what is needed within in the animation, so anything that stays still within the shot can be added as an overlay to the actual movement within the shot. So in terms of the juicer, with a lot of the shots, the main body of the juicer doesn’t actually move with the constraint animation so I had, at home, tried a very quick test. The idea of this test is to draw just the main body of the juicer which doesn’t move and leave space for the parts that do move. Once I have that on one animation sheet, I then get another sheet and draw the parts that do move where they would be on the other sheet by using the lightbox I can get it in the correct place filling in the gaps, so that the Juicer sits as one piece. Here’s when I tried to see if I could put them together in After Effects using the ‘Multiply’ effect upon the movement layers onto of the overlay.

This of course wouldn’t be done like this back at Disney as they had a more refined way of doing it, but what I think they did do with the old Disney method of animation is once the pencil tests were done and they inked and painted the drawings on clear sheets of acetate, they simply drew the overlay drawing on either the same sheet or they drew it again on a separate sheet and then placed them on top of each other and take a picture using the giant rostrum. The acetate, of course, is the ‘Multiply’ effect within After Effects.

Here some examples from the brilliant Milt Kahl of the overlay of animation drawings. Note the overlay near the end of the short pencil test.

SEQ01_SC45 “Roger” by Milt Kahl

SEQ01_SC45 “Roger” , by Milt Kahl from David Nethery on Vimeo.

Similar here once again where the bottom half of the butler from the Aristocats is missing due to an overlay that he places in later.

“Butler Edgar” from Aristocats by Milt Kahl


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