Animation Assignment #7

This assignment will only require one character.

If you want, it can be one of the characters you've created for another assignment or you can make up a new one. If you want to be adventurous, you can use an established character, although this is quite a bit more difficult, and if you don't get the character "on model" it'll look weird in your portfolio. (Most studios don't want to see established characters anyway.)

Actions Involved
This assignment will have your character doing a laugh to a soundtrack that you record yourself. It can be your voice or someone elses. The character is to laugh for approximately 5 seconds.

The laugh can be any type of laugh you want; a giggle, snickering, a "ha-ha-ha" laugh, or any other kind of laugh you want to come up with. It would be best to record several different types of laughs and then pick the one you like the best out of them. Usually, the "character" or "emotional" laugh is the best. By this I mean, a type of laugh that is specific to a situation or in reaction to something that was just said or may have happened and thus causes the character to burst into laughter. Character laugh means that it is specific to that character type that you've designed. This doesn't mean that you can't have a big tough looking character with a high pitched giggle.

Your character is to laugh for about 5 seconds (sustained throughout, without a large pause, unless the laugh runs longer than 8 seconds or so.)

You can animate the character from the waist up or do a full body laugh.

The laughing action should involve the entire viewable area of the character. For the waist up view, this includes the upper torso, arms, shoulders and head. For the full body, well it involves the full body including the legs.

If you do the full body, you can have the character start standing up and then have them fall to the ground and roll around a bit with their legs kicking. Of course it all depends on the type of laugh you've chosen.

Principles Involved
The main principle that you will be using here will be the "Seaweed" action. This will require overlapping action as well as secondary action to the movements.

Obviously a sense of gravity will be involved as well as appropriate timing for the actions to read clearly.

Another thing we'll be introducing is the use of "staggers".

As per usual here are the other principles involved:

• Scene Planning
• Lip Synchronization
Slo in & Slo out
Stretch & Squash
Overlapping Action
• Effects of Gravity
• Realistic Timing
Use of Arcs
• Observation
• Flipping

What are "Straggers"?
A stagger is used to create a jerking type of an action.

Thought Process
Begin the assignment by acting it out. Obviously you'll need to find someone else to act it out with. If you can, video tape yourself for study later. Try the action a number of different ways.

Analyse what happens step by step.

One character will always be the initiator of the action and the other character will have to react

I've kinda already gone through the thought process above in the explaination of what straight ahead animation is.

The other variation on this would be to do a combination of straight ahead and pose-to-pose
Follow the same steps outlined above but after step 4 where you shoot a test of your thumbnails, if you're happy with the action in the pencil test, redraw the thumbnail poses as keys and then go back and straight ahead the inbetweens, aiming to get into the keys. If you end up off a bit, throw out the original keys and use your new one's.

Another option is to just animate the main moving parts first. Start on drawing #1 by doing the entire characters body. Then on #2, just draw the parts that move, like say, the arm. If the legs don't move, don't draw them yet. You can come back and fill them in later. If they move starting on drawing # 15, then start drawing them then. 2 - 14 will be trace backs of #1.

You can also do this with secondary action and overlapping elements.

The problem here is that you can have the idea in your head of what you want to have happening at the moment you're doing the drawings of the other parts of the body, then when you come back to do the secondary action later, you may have forgotten exactly where and when you wanted it to happen - this is how it can get out of control on you very easily. And again, you won't know if you screwed it up until you finish all the drawings.

Your timing can be determined ahead of time if you act the scene out properly and take notes. There will be slow actions, and fast actions throughout the entire piece as well as lots of secondary actions because the primary character will be pulling on the other character's arm and their upper torso will follow the action a few frames after the primary action has taken place. If it all happens at the same time, it'll look weird, like the other person knew they were going to be pulled forward and moved forward on their own as opposed to being pulled.

Be sure to do your timing at the thumbnail stage.

Timing Charts
You can easily draw your timing charts on your thumbnail sketches. If you do decide to go "straight ahead" without thumbnailing, then timing charts are a moot point. You may end up going back and filling in the odd inbetween to slow an action down a bit, but you won't need any timing charts to do that.

Pencil Test
So now you've got all the drawings done, it's time to see if it all payed off. Shoot the pencil test, sit back, and enjoy... or start crying because it didn't turn out the way you hoped.

Hopefully, it just requires some inbetweens to slow some of the actions down a bit.

Most of the inbetweens in straight ahead animation are just fill-in drawings to slow things down a bit or smooth out an action. If you did all your drawings and numbered them sequentially: i.e.: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. and you need to add in some inbetweens, just add an A to the number. So, if you need an inbetween to go between 3 and 4, just call it 3A. If you need two inbetweens, call them 3A and 3B.

1 week (6 - 10 hours)

Assignment is worth 20% of the first semester grade

Animation will be graded in the following areas:

• Strong Key Posing   ___/15
• Appropriate, Realistic Timing   ___/15
• Proper Anticipation   ___/15
• Action   ___/15
• Reactions   ___/15
• Overlapping Action   ___/15
• Structural, 3 dimensional drawing   ___/10
  Total ____/100

The animation must show appropriate squash and stretch, realistic timing, proper slo-in and slo-out, torque, tilt, and twist in the head and shoulders as per in-class lecture demonstration. Character must sync to the dialogue recorded.

Character Designs are of your own making.

Special Note
I know it sounds like I'm being very negative about straight ahead animation - I'm not really a big fan of it myself. I has it's place, but you need to be very organized and have the scene well planned out if you want it to work out well.

I truly prefer the combination of pose-to-pose and straight ahead - it gives you far more control and less pain after the fact.

So, let's get started!

Reading Assignment
Read pages 189 - 209 of the Character Animation and Lip Sync book.

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