Clarify the Intent of the Action
By understanding the intent or reason for the action, the animator can then decide the specific way the action is to be performed.
PURPOSE - What is the purpose of this scene within the context?
ENTERTAINMENT - What is the entertainment value of this scene/ sequence/ phrase of action?
EMOTION - What is the core attitude of the character? What emotion is being communicated/ focused on? How is this emotion being revealed/played out?
ACTION - What should the character do in this scene to reveal intent/personality?
CHARACTERIZATION - This is one of the most important aspects of designing your action. When actions are motivated by the characters thought process then a personality will come through, not just generic action.
Understand the nature and physics of the action (i.e. primary forces, secondaries, stresses, compressions,etc.).
Understand the animation principles involved and where to apply them to enhance the expression of that action.
No motivating force is more important than the thought process. Primary action and locomotion is an extension and reflection of this force. Always locate what the primary motivating force is and how it works.
Visually, it will be difficult to watch more than one primary force at a time. But, if necessary, then the forces should relate.
Analysis involves PERFORMING/ OBSERVING/ QUESTIONING/ RECORDING. Gather information from action research and record results.
DOING the action provides a physical, experiential understanding of the action as to the SIZE of ,SPEED of , DIRECTION of, INTENSITY of the action. As self conscious as it might make you BE SURE to act out your phrase of action.
AT SPEED to analyze the effects of time and gravity.
SLOWED DOWN to analyze position and sequence of events and points of incidence within the action.
It is EXTREMELY important to continue to act out your scene AT SPEED. The tendency is to fracture the action into separate bits, that when analyzed, each at their own speed, make sense, but when these fractured bits are put together into a real time relationship there is invariably too much going on.
WATCH the action, from within, in a mirror, on videotape or film, of self or another. All of these provide a visual understanding of the action.
Ask, where do the extremes of action occur. Ask, what the sequence of the actions are, - what happens first? next? What are the relationships of timing and spacing of specific incidents in the overall phrase.
Utilize thumbnails to record action. The act of recording it forces seeing it in stages and completely, as a series of pictures and helps to plan staging and silhouette. Drawings should first have a function or purpose, then a graphic shape to express that function. Add path of action graph to thumbnails and explore timing.