Testing, re-drawing, testing, re-drawing!

Through out the animating process I’ve been taking images of the frames I had drawn out varying from just key frames to more fluid animations. These test captures varied depending on the work method I had been going on at that time, for example straight ahead animation or pose to pose as I did vary the work method depending on the moment or action.
With the video above I have placed all the tests I have of the 3 animations that were long enough to be easily viewed and placed them into a short video rather than many short separate ones. When I say easily viewed with the animation tests, what I mean is that with a lot of the capturing of the frames I went through a few sheets at a time to try to steady and be able to break down my animations to see where things could be improved, if I had time, or if more inbetweens were needed. Each animation test is separated with a pause and description of what that test was for and the order the test was created in.

Testing and re-testing animations whilst building and editing the drawings is something that has clearly come across as incredibly important. If I was animating within a piece of software I would naturally keep play blasting the animation every few stages to try make sure I have the movement right. With hand drawn of course it’s a lot harder to do so, so it’s important to keep flicking through the drawings done so far and to also keep taking images of the drawings so far and putting them into After Effects to check the movement and timing. I did get faster at capturing, setting up and drawing the animations as time went on as I got into a routine and rhythm with my work.
As you can see from the tests I did slowly improve movements and added things like inbetweens, noticed issues with the capturing and sorting out general issues with the animation. It was great to see the little errors and feel as though the character was slowly developing and coming out of this otherwise static and plain juicer I was slowly being able to anthropomorphize. I did get more comfortable with the later two animations which is why there was less lengthy tests as the first ‘constrained’ animation, that was more due to confidence and time pressures. I did get through the ‘exaggerated’ and ‘humanised’ animations a lot faster than I expected originally but I believe this was due to the fact that I felt more comfortable animating them. I had already planned out the layout of the animations using ToonBoom which I then had developed further on the dope sheets as well as being able to act them out myself which brought a lot more passion and interest in the actual animation. Due to the fact I had constrained myself to keeping the body of the juicer exact to its real life structure it was difficult to think of a way to create a personality and an interesting performance.

Although it may seem quite simple, I believe it took the longest time to create the constrained animation and was the most difficult, which is apparent with all the tests, because it was the first animation out of the three and a lot of planning went into it which the other two could follow. The other reason for it being so difficult is because I had to take a longer time of thinking about how you could actually show any sort of response to the sound as well as thinking about lip-syncing and timing to the sound. I definitely grew an even bigger love for Luxo Jr during the time I’ve had animating the constrained animation.

A lot of the changes from these tests to the final animations may seem quite small and in some cases so subtle they may not be noticeable but hopefully overall they’ve improved the animation and it was great to have this sort of build up and ability to understand where I am in the animation and already work out where I need to improve.

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