Thursday, December 22, 2005

December Lango Notes

Keith Lango VTS December 05: Phrasing

Timing: How long a move takes. Pose A to Pose B in 10 frames.
Spacing: The nature of the movement inside timing. Slow out—fast in, slow out—slow in, fast out—slow in.
Phrasing: The timing of a given number of moves or actions in combination.

Phrasing is the "music" of animation. Look at the sound waves of Beethoven’s 4th Symphony.

-People/characters are not machines that move to a constant even beat. There are rhythms that people move to but it is not a rhythm that is hit evenly. It is more like something we feel.

-Phrasing is all about changing gears.


m-o-v-e . . . t-h-e . . . c-h-a-r-a-c-t-e-r . . . s-l-o-w-l-y then fast t-h-e-n . . . s-l-o-w-l-y . . . a-g-a-i-n THEN FAST AND LOUD!

-You can pull the audience in with fast action then pause as the audience anticipates what’s next.



How Do You Add Contrast?
-complex vs. simplistic
-line of action
-small vs. big
-squash and stretch
-closed vs. open

Phrasing is MUCH bigger than timing!

Watch how James Baxter uses phrasing with Quasimodo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. His animation is very simple and doesn’t use complex moves but his phrasing is amazing.

Every character will have their own rhythm or tempo.

Example: Ice Age
Manny the Mammoth à slow and brooding
Sid the Sloth à fast and stupid

How Does This Work Practically?

Example: A man running out of his burning house.

Take the actions/character feelings and write them down as phrases.

Man opens door and runs out of the burning house. The man stops. Remembers his cat. He turns around and runs back into the house.

Now look for similarities and group them together.

Man opens door and runs out of the burning house. The man stops. Remembers his cat. He turns around and runs back into the house.

Remember to emphasis the contrast. Remember to show case the main idea. Look for the key idea of the scene. In this case it would probably be "the man remembering his cat".

Sometimes dialogue does the phrasing for you.

Monday, December 19, 2005

More Lango Learning!

Keith Lango VTS November 05: Weight

Weight is a key ingrediant of animation. Without proper weight your animation won’t work.

Definition: The more mass an object has the more energy it takes to defy gravity. A heavy object will not move up quickly (unless acted upon with a termendous force) Once a heavy object is up it takes a lot of energy to keep it up. Once it starts coming down (again unless acted upon) it will come down fast. It takes a lot of energy to defy gravity at all levels).

Think about a heavy step. It takes a lot of energy to pick up that heavy foot, so it will move up slowly. Once it has reached it’s peak it will rapidly pick up speed, then crash into the ground.

Timing: how long you hold a pose or the time it takes to make a move.
Spacing: How you move from pose A to pose B (ie fast in/ fast out; fast in/ slow out; etc)
Phrasing: How you group together and transition through mutilple actions. (or another way to put it) how quickly you move through a section of animation using timing and spacing.

There is more to weight than timing. Staging and camera angles play a part too.

-To quickly select the different rotation modes (gimble, local, global) hold down the "E" key and select the active window, then chose your mode.
-This works the same with the translate mode and the "W" key.

HOW TO SOFTEN A KEY POSE (or How to add weight to a pose)
If you are animating a bouncing ball and you think that the key pose of the ball in the air is "hitting too hard"

In order to soften up pose # 2 to add some weight go to the graph editor and in spline mode do the following. Add two new keys a frame or two near your old key pose, stretch them out and then delete the original key # 2 pose.

This will enable the ball to float there slightly longer. DON’T RELY ON ADJUSTING THE TANGENTS ON THE SPLINE CURVES TO FIX THINGS. You need to add more keys to better define the path of motion.

Poses and Timing have a connected relationship

"If it is a weight problem, take a look at your poses and if your poses hold up pretty good your weight will be seen in timing" – Keith
Translation: Timing is the meat of most weight problems. Pose fixes will strength a timing fix to a weight problem. But Pose fixes only rest on the foundation of Timing.

The same ten poses of a walk cycle can basicly work for a slow heavy walk and a fast light walk. Just the timing will be different.


Shot Heads & Tails
1)Action within the first/last 6-8 frames of a shot won’t have enough time to properly register with the audience.

2)Any movement that ends within the first 6-8 frames must be a finishing of a move started in the previous shot.

3)Any move started within the last 6-8 frames of a shot must be shown finishing in the following shot.

4)Moves that occur within the shot can finish up in the last frame. Just don’t start a new one.

Monday, December 05, 2005

October Lango Notes

VTS October 05: Offsets

Offsets- off setting different parts of the body/character to loosen up things a bit. Adds sense of weight and flow.

Like herding sheep. The sheep don’t all arrive at the destination at the same time. Some get there early (before the crowd), the majority arrives at the same time, and a few get there late (after the crowd).

Example from Disney’s Treasure Planet: Hawkins and John Silvers introductory handshake.
Animator genius Glen Keane offsets the speed of the hand (moving fast) and the body (moving slow) to draw attention to the hand. The contrast of the hand and the body emphasizes the hand. (An audience’s focus generally is drawn to the fast moving object of a scene.)

-The sheep arriving first and last stick out from the rest of the herd and garner more attention.
-What is the star of the shot?
-What do you want the audience to see?


-You can’t just take your planning poses and drag out your keys
shoulder-X - - - X
elbow----X - - - - - X
wrist-----X - - - - - - - X

- You MUST think it through ahead of time and build it into your original poses
In The drawings above they will both hit at the same time but example #2 will feel like the hand is hitting later. This is because most of the hands’ movement happens between frame 5 and 10.

- But to do this example right THINK through it some and add in an extra blocking/key pose. This will add an ease out to the body and drag the hand out later than the body.

REVIEW (a receipt for a fast/slow contrast): To add emphases to a late arriving body part, drag it slow at the beginning (so it will have to move fast at the end) and ease out the rest of the body (so it will be moving slowly at the end).

-Never let the computer do what you don’t want it to do.
-Think about your rotation axis’s.
-Take what the computer is giving from pose A to pose C. Then modify pose B into the pose you want.

If you are done with the blocking stage, have poses time out, and are ready to add a breakdown.
1. Switch keys from flat to linear.
2. Go to a break down frame and use what is already there. Polishing the pose till it is acceptable.
This way you will avoid weird rotations and won’t have to wrestle with the computer to get what you want.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Belief quotes #2

What is the difference between genius and stupidity? Genius has limits. –Albert Einstein

Collaborations with people from a wide variety of skill sets will also serve to expand your view of what is possible. The result will be a mix of creative energy that can offer originality and test your assumptions on how things are done.

Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind other than in the one where they sprang up. –Oliver Wendell Holmes

Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility and most people are frightened by responsibility. -Sigmund Freud

Reality is merely an illusion albeit a very persistent one. –Albert Einstein

Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ambition is the last refuge of failure. –Oscar Wilde

Every creative act involves . . . a new innocence of perception, liberated from the catarct of accepted belief. –Arthur Koestler

Design (Animation) is not a Commodity! Its not a formula. It’s a structure that needs to be tested and re-examined as it evolves and reveals life to the creators and those who view the process. Its up to us to push the envelope. These efforts will define and effect the community at large.