Sunday, April 29, 2007

Character Animation Exercise

This past week I completed a personal character animation exercise. It had been just a little bit over a year since I had animated anything, and decided it was time to get loose again. It also made for a nice additional dialogue piece to stick on my animation reel for Rhythm & Hues to look at. The final animation can be viewed here.

I had been reading about Keith Lango's Pop-Thru Animation technique for 3D animators and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out myself. Up until now I used either straight-ahead animation technique in 3D or a kind of linear-tween pose-to-pose method. I must say, both feel incredibly inferior and wasteful after using this alternate method. The feeling achieved through this pop-thru method feels very much like rolling or flipping in 2D animation and as Lango mentions in his article, is designed to bring the focus back to posing and timing.

I understand that most major studios employ this method as a way to get maximum efficiency out of their animation department since it allows animation supervisors to get a feel for what their animators are doing early in the week, and so changes can be made with minimal waste. If you check out some of the in-progress animation in the Ratatouille video podcast, you can see this method being used in some of their shots.