Monday, July 02, 2007

AM Tips and Tricks by Shawn Kelly : Your Animation Style

Hey guys!

Today, I received this month's Animation Mentor Newsletter and I was reading the 'Shawn Kelly Tips and Tricks' section. He talked about style in animation. He said, First you gotta nail down the style of the animation, because the style will inform every animation decision you are going to make on that project. Timing will be based on the style, posing will be based on the style and most of all, acting decisions will all be made based on the style of the work.
Now this is really important! I must say that I was quite aware of these facts, but till now, I was kinda ignorant about style. One thing I noticed about my style is that I tend to push myself more toward cartoony side and most of the time my animation suffer badly. Where should I be restricting my acting, poses, and timing more toward realistic side, and keep things subtle, I tend to push it more toward cartoony side, which is not a very good habit. For example, in my last 11 second club animation I pushed things a bit to its limits and I shouldn't have done that. That 'June 11 second club sound file' didn't ask for any cartoony performance at all and I pushed my acting, poses and timing quite a bit towards cartoony side (not much though). Adding that cartoonyness here...Not a good idea!! I HAVE TO CHANGE this bad habit!! I'm not doing myself any good.

Let me quote what Shawn Said in his article.

Anyone who has been doing this animation stuff for a while knows that every movie has its own style. The more realistic the work, the less variance in the style, I suppose, but it still exists nonetheless, and it's important to really nail it down before you sit down and start saving keyframes.

Think about Davy Jones on the big screen, Peter Griffin on TV, and Tony Hawk skating across your Playstation. They are all great animation examples, and done perfectly for their respective mediums and universes, but if you plucked any one of them and swapped them into each other's worlds, they would look ridiculous.

Tony Hawk's animation in the games are terrific. They're really well done, consisting of a great blend of complex animations that are carefully timed to be responsive to the crisp controls of the gameplay.
He pulls off his amazing tricks with great poses that blend perfectly from one to another as you try to string your skating tricks together, and then always manages to get back to its default "skating" pose.
(Unless I'm playing, then Tony always manages to end up at the "Tony just cracked his head on the side of the skate ramp" pose).

So, in the world of the Tony Hawk games, that animation is perfectly done, in my opinion. However, if you took Tony Hawk and had him skating around on Davy Jones ship up there on the big screen, his animation would look very out of place and odd. For one thing, because his movements are designed in the game to be able to quickly react to your controller, he can move really fast. He'd look like a hyperfast spaz on Davy Jones ship, probably, just as the super-detailed Davy Jones would look startlingly out of place wandering around Tony Hawk's skate park.
Nail down the style of the animation first, because the style will
inform every animation decision you are going to make on that project.Nail down the style of the animation first, because the style will
inform every animation decision you are going to make on that project.
Timing will be based on the style. Posing will be based on the style.

Most of all, acting decisions will all be made based on the style of the work. Is the style really cartoony, or realistic and contained? I may have mentioned the ideas of "Representational" acting performances vs. "Presentational" acting performances in the past, but basically those ideas break down into two different art forms.

Thats very true indeed! And I should never be ignorant about these facts. From now on, I'll listen to my sound clip and at the same time I'll take the animation style into consideration, that is, much before drawing my key poses on paper and before taking my video reference. Style is really an important thing in animation. Just imagine a character from The Incredibles, roaming around in the movie Madagascar! That would look like crap! These are all very different styles of animation. In the words of Shawn, "none of them are "better" than the other, all are carefully tailored by talented artists to meet the demands, expectations, and challenges of their mediums."

In the last, Shawn said;

Oh, if anyone has a time machine and can send this article back in time to me one week ago, that'd really help me out, by the way... I really could have used it! :)

LOL!! Thats what I was thinking when I was reading his article. hehehe...... My 11 second club animation would have looked a lot better! Oh well, thats okay! Thats how you learn from your mistakes!

So, do you guys have any thoughts about this topic? You're most welcome to share them here with me. I would be glad to know what you guys think :)

Keep animating and always remember to HAVE FUN with whatever you do. Don't just enjoy the final result or your final render... learn to enjoy the whole process of animating. That way you'll never stop growing as an animator.

By the way, its raining here in New Delhi. I'm enjoying it! :D ..weeeeeeeeee...................




Rajesh Gupta said...

I understand that every animation movie has its own style(universe). One of good example is Matrix. All the actions are done taking this style.
Amrit, I read your comment in my blogspot ten days ago. I have been reading your blogs since then. You are on the right way in learing this amazing craft.
Well, keep enjoying rainy season.

Amrit Derhgawen said...

Hey Rajesh!

Good to see you here. Yes, I remember you now, I found your blog on Bobby Beck blog's comment section, right? Good to have you here Rajesh. Yes, learning never stops, and this is just a start. I've miles to before I sleep. Thanks for visiting and thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope your Animation Mentor classes are going well.

Cheers! :)