Thursday, October 16, 2008


Picture taken from John K blog
Just a quick update................

Hi everyone,

I've been really busy with my work lately, so I hardly get time to update my blog and share stuff with you all. I have been watching Jason Ryan's video tutorials in my free time, and I can't tell you how much I'm learning from them... but I hardly get time to finish any of my personal animations, its a shame. I will have to use my weekends to work on them, and hopefully I will have something to show you guys in about a
month. Jason's Boris character is really fun to work with and I'm really looking forward to getting some time to animate this guy.
I've done quite a lot of test animations with the Madagascar characters, but I don't think DreamWorks would allow me to post my work here right now, but I'm quite affirmative that I will get permission to do so in the near future. :)

Okay lets talk about anticipation in animation.

Anticipations is basically used to to lead the viewer's eyes to prepare them for the action that follows. An action usually occurs is three sections : the preparation for the motion, the actual motion, and then the follow-through of the action which you may consider as the result of the motion that occurred. The first part is of course known as anticipation. Generally a greater amount of anticipation is needed for faster actions.
Try to think of anticipation as a 2 dimensional shape change and not necessarily an opposing directional movement. Before an action a character would gather some momentum and that would be illustrated by a change of some sort... and we could easily communicate that with a shape/silhouette change of that character.

Types of shape change that could illustrate an anticipation:
  1. Angle change
  2. Directional change
  3. Weight shift
  4. Squash and stretch
  5. Expression change
The right approach when posing out an anticipation:

  • As always, think "character" when creating a pose/movement and ask yourself.... "what is the character's thought process and state of mind before and during, and after the action? How can I illustrate my character's personality best? Would this kind of action suite my character?" The way your character anticipates for a move and the way he moves and overshoots or settles in or whatever, should reflect your character immediately and should communicate what you want to communicate without any second thought.
  • Determine whether it is best to overplay, underplay or keep the anticipation "realistic" to achieve what you want to achieve and the overall purpose and style of the shot is.
  • Determine whether it is important for the communication of my intentions to have a big visible anticipation and how much time should I spend on it? How many frames do I hold the character in that anticipation and how much moving hold there should be to just keep it alive. Sometimes when I'm holding on to a pose I make the character anticipate in a moving hold, so you cannot actually see the anticipation, but you can definitely feel it in your animation. Sometimes breathing could be a very nice anticipation in a dialog/acting shot. When saying out something, I let my character breathe in some air.... the shoulders generally go up and head down, creating a bit of opposite actions which keeps the organic-ness of your character and the dialog feels much natural.

Stuff which could help you make your anticipation as appealing as possible:

  • Involve facial animation
  • Coordinate multiple elements into anticipation when necessary
  • Use appealing angle changes
  • Make sure all the elements are harmonizing
  • use opposing movements withing the anticipation (for example, hip moves forward, arm moves back or head moves down, and arm moves up.... I learned the importance of this from Jason Ryan and this really helps to make things look organic and not mechanical.
The most important thing to learn about anticipation is to answer the question "what's the right amount of anticipation for this motion?" and "which body parts need to be involved?"

Thats it for now! Hopefully I will be back with some animations with Boris. Take care guys! :)