Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Smear Study

In preparation for a shot I am doing with a lot of smears, I went back to Chuck Jones' masterpiece "The Dover Boys" made in 1942. I chose what I always felt like was one of the funniest moments in the film and copied the animation onto a simple ball with a Latice deformer till the smears felt right.

Trying to get the whole body gesture into a simple ball was really fun, and somewhat more enjoyable than animating a whole body. I would like to elaborate on what I learned from this*, but first I would recommend finding another Chuck Jones short (or a different clip from this film) and trying the same exercise to learn these things first hand.

The first thing I noticed was the spacing in the graph editor was a lot tighter towards the apex and the trough than I had been previously doing. This may be why my animation feels floating or a kill some timing, because I'm making pretty curves no one will ever see.

Around frame140 you will notice a RIDICULOUSLY cartoony arc. I think this is what Eric Goldberg was touching base on in his book "Animation Crash Course" where animation is in the A to C to B. The ball could of gone anywhere on the screen, but the animator pushed such a harsh "U" shape in comparison to my soft " C "s. This lead to way more interesting spacing.

Speaking of Arcs you can see around frames 360 that the animator pushed a down arc towards the camera, and an up arc leaving the camera, adding more variety and flow to the shot.

Around frame 60 , I would of never tried doing that extreme spacing, but I feel it's working. Other things I caught were how still and how long the original animator would leave the character in his pose after the smear, to balance out the extreme motion that just happened so that way the audience had a time to enjoy it.

Finally the last thing I would like to make a note of us the spacing on the front end and the back end of each smear frame. Before I thought smears where formulaic (keep one edge exactly where it was, stretch the other edge out, stretch both sides, repeat but in reveres). However I felt the original animator was Thinking of each side as it's own ease-in or ease-out. Sometimes he/she would chose not to drag it behind and spend 3-4 frames cushioning in on the smear. Other times both sides would ease our, or only the back side. They all created different spacing which gave a different feeling.

Thanks for stopping by and happy animating!
*=Where edit/revision starts