Feb 6, 2008

Animation Workshop notes

I took some limited notes from Dylan Brown's presentation yesterday - basically when he said something that I felt "I gotta remember this," I wrote it down. Hopefully it'll have more value for more people than just me, which is why I post. Enjoy!

- key thing to focus on = performance
- character's history/context comes from story
*animators perform it.
*ask "why?" not "how?" a character moves
- each character will have his own style of movement
*examples of Remy be consciously pushed toward rat and away from "little man in rat suit" - for example, he leans forward when he stands or walks and keeps his paws in front of him all the time.
*anatomy informs acting decisions
*action supports character design

- ball/walls metaphor
*you are the ball, moving foward between two walls
*the walls are the limits/ wrong decisions
*you go until you hit a wall (like the Remy-as-Pepe-lePew run) and this bouncing eventually guides you into a straight line that gets you to the end of the tunnel or whatever.
*the purpose of tests is to get things wrong, so you can better figure out what's right. They can help you make informed acting and motion choices in the final scene.

- copying reference is great... as a test. It helps you capture nuances that straight observation won't get you, which is its value. Then you go on to caricaturing it with the stuff that you learned.

- design and animation should keep the characters in the same world.

- the concept of a "gesture box" ...notice this! Examples given were:
*Americans have pretty large gesture boxes; their hands can go everywhere
*French have smaller ones - their hands are more contained but they are very energetic within that little box
*Japanese have an extremely small box up front

- What are a person's gestures telling you about him?
*if nothing, the acting is bad (milking the giant cow, etc.)
*pointing at self is especially bad
- take acting classes
- The character is defined by the way they do or don't move.
- acting = psychology
*characters connecting with each other instead of merely existing in the same space.
- boards =/= acting! The animator's job is to make those story moments sparkle with character
- Remember the idea that "he who moves the least has the most power"
- Spoken lines don't matter. Delivery does.
*try writing out the subtext to get it in your head before animating, as it's the most important part.
*example: Skinner being "nice" to Linguini, while his posture and acting still say he's a bad guy.

- Character Arcs
*over time have continuity
*example: "Colette teaches Linguini to cook" montage:
**status change...
**Colette goes from dominant to equal, hard to soft
**Linguini goes from submissive to equal, afraid to confident
*don't think of your scene on its own! It has to fit with the others.

- Other things to remember:
*counterbalancing: when your arm goes out, your hips go back, etc.
*study live action for "acting" rather than animation
**why do they choose to do what they do?
*Why is the shot there? What is its purpose in the film?
*watch people in real life and see what they do
*don't be afraid to do what will teach you
*traditional drawing/animation requires you to think more about what you're doing - that's its value even when you're going to do 3D

Things Dylan Likes to See
- your personality shining through (animate something with soul)
- sincerity of performance
- take risks now while we're still students


Anthony Holden said...

Wasn't this such a great presentation? Changed the way I think about animating.

Murphy said...

Thanks for taking these notes Rachel!