p42 - An interview with Art Babbitt held by Nancy Beiman in 1979, talking about writing a character study for Goofy.
‘Q: You did this before you had actually animated the character?
Art Babbitt: That’s right… I think that such a bit of research should be done on all important characters.
Although I do not intend to directly cite this quote I think I will paraphrase it as it makes a very valid point.
p44 ’ The animator’s objective is to make the audience believe that a work of art is a living, thinking personality. Character types will behave typically. An individual, whether live or animated, will or will not do certain things in a given situation, based on its unique personality… It is important to remember that a characters personality can be based not only on what is, but what may be.
p36 ‘Animator Frank Thomas suggested that the majority of my holds be ‘moving’. Pure holds, he said, should be reserved for the most important poses or an emphasis in the action. In other words, a moving hold is a comma and a straight hold is a period of full stop in animated film grammar. Imagine. If. Every. Sentence. Was. Like. This. It’s far better, really, to vary our punctuation.’
This is more a quote for the more technical aspects of animation, so although it may not be relevant in this proposal it is still valid for my research and very useful for developing my technical stills.
p20 ‘All animation is performed within a story context. It all depends on how you define ‘story’. The story must be simplified to meet the criteria of your assignment. Instead of a three-act feature treatment, or even a three-sentence outline for a short film, your ‘story’ can be the characters mental state, a relationship between two characters, or the interaction of a character and an object. Your object in each instance is to show a pantomimic impression of the characters inner feelings - why it moves as well as how. Your emotional interpretation will be different form the next persons if you use YOUR emotions and do not imitate those of others in animated films or animated textbooks.’
p20 ’ The animated character, like a human actor, does not stand alone. It is influenced by it’s background and its relationship with other elements in the scene. This is where animated acting begins.
Every animation should have a purpose, if your character is walking outside, why are they doing that? What affect does their purpose have on their action, and how does that change their performance? As the animator you have to know what is affecting your character at that moment, and you have to know them well enough to plan their reaction. It is in those decisions that you create their performance and as a result the authenticity is dependent on how true to their personality and motivations you have been.
p8 Talking about the standardisation of computer models in animation…
'…can be used to recreate rather than caricature reality. This can lead to over-reliance on live-action footage as a guide for animation rather than allowing the animator to create an animated performance based on his or her observation and imagination. It is not the best use of the medium.'
p10 ‘There is no limit to animated performance just as there are no limits to the human imagination. It is not necessary to rely on reality when it is so easy to surpass it.’
If the animation is based too strongly on reference footage, or the same actor is used as a reference for more than one character, (even the animator) the animation will suffer for it. It will all be far too uniform in its movements and none of the characters will have any distinguishing characteristics, personality or performance in their actions. Using reference footage can be an essential tool for an animator but it is important to remember that the choices lie with the animator and not the reference footage. It is a tool first and foremost, to be used at the animators discretion to aid their animation, not direct it.
As the proposal is due in just over a week I am reading more for the literature review and I will be going through older notes and quotations to find relevant information that I have so far not made the best use of. So, I will be posting up the quote and what I think I can use in it to say in my proposal.
p8 : ‘Much existing literature barely touches on the acting possibilities of animation. They discuss how to do animation but not why. The technique and mechanics of animation may be exhaustively explained, but not the thought processes that make the difference between animated exercise and an animated performance; between laborious action analysis and the creation of an imaginary yet believable living animated personality. It is the animator’s acting that puts life in to character animation and gives it a powerful emotional connection with it’s audience.’
It is easy to put too much emphasis on creating realistic animation, that mimics real life as accurately as possible, but in doing so we lose some of the freedom and flexibility that animation gives us as artists. Of course we want our audience to be able to read our animation clearly and know what is going on, but that is no reason to forego the fantasy and imagination of animation. Your animation will be so much more interesting if you embellish the movement, give it personality and character that the story dictates. Have your animation tell a story, not simply an action.
At this point it’s a little late in the game but I have nailed down my methods for the project. I will use them in a Concurrent model, so I will use them together to meet my objectives and answer my aim.
Practice Based Research
- Digital Prototyping/ Media Test
- Research Diary/ Reflective Journal
So Process/ Pipeline
- Observe/ research for ideas and inspiration (Refernce footage, Anatomy Drawing, Case Study)
- Develop Ideas and iterate (Sketchbook, Thumbnails, Storyboards)
- Test Ideas (Animate, 2D, 3D)
- Critique animation tests and reflect (Use Critical Framework, Post on Blog)
- Critique/ analyse performances in TV and film (Look at adaptations - how they translate the performance)
- Use Critical Framework
- Summarise/Document and Reflect on blog.
As the proposal is due in the next two weeks I have been working on cleaning up and organising my theory work. I know that my aim and objectives may still change but I feel that they are on track for the moment and I am happy with them so far. They finally seem to make sense and say something relevant.
- Produce character performance animations based on analysis of performance in film and TV and study of animation principles to develop a means of creating clear, emotive character performance.
I am aware that at the moment my aim is saying that my final product will be a structure to create animation, as opposed to an animation in itself but I’m not sure how to write that part yet and I’m hoping as I continue with work it will become clear. Aditionally, the final animation will be a proof of concept, which may be a method for creating good character performance.
- Analyse and break down existing performances in film and TV using the critical framework.
- Produce animation to test different ways of applying emotion and personality to character performance.
- Break down animation tests and document the results to be reflected on and used to plan further tests.
I wanted to keep my objectives to four or less to keep things manageable and as I have three already I would like to keep the fourth one free in case something else comes up later. Like the aim these will probably change along the way too but they fit well with my current methods and aim so I think they’re pretty strong for now.
These are the character animations I made for the TIGA game hack for the player character Lucy. I kept it simple, leaving out detailed hands and feet, and they were done in flash with a puppet animation on key frames. I was realy happy with how they came out (especially her ponytails) as the movement is really smooth and the follow through works well. Also they were all done in under 24 hours so I’m pleased. Unfortunately I dont have a copy of the game to post but we’re hoping to get it up on the google store some time in the future.
The intro for the game we made at TIGA game Hack 2013!! Our theme for the 24 hour challenge was childhood and we had to make a game based on the theme. We made an endless side scrolling runner based off the childhood game the floor is lava. We took a bit of a dark humour approach to the game and while I sadly don’t have the audio for the intro at the moment it certainly helped to set the scene. :)
Last weekend I joined a team for the TIGA GameHack that was held in the university. We worked on the game for the 24 hour period (and finished a wee bit early) and I was the animator for the team so I’m going to post up what I managed to do for the game.