Saturday, 21 June 2014

Acting for Animators

Back from a brief hiatus. 

During the month of May and the first few weeks of June I took Nancy Beiman's Acting for Animators workshop. It had an odd schedule at first with 2 classes per week, then once for one week, then the rest was 3 days a week hence the lack of posts. 

It was an interesting class where we watched many videos from animated movies, live action films and a ton of silent films and early talkies. I heard the name Laurel and Hardy before but I never really knew who they were. After watching a number of their films, I have grown to enjoy their films quite a lot! Consider me a fan of their work!

Through the class I learned about the importance of timing and how it affects acting. We looked at the likes of Chaplain vs. Laurel and Hardy and the differences in their timing and how they're different in humour due to their timing. I also learned the difference between acting and just making something move. I learned a few other things such as charting and exposure sheet protocol as well as a workflow that makes making animations much more easier. We also got some neat handouts that are an interesting read regarding acting as well as animation principles. 

It was also pretty nifty to hear some anecdotes from Nancy about things in the animation industry, her time at CalArts and people she met there who are big names in the industry today, as well as just some interesting little stories that didn't involve animation.

But the class wasn't just all movies and talking (although most of it was), we had two assignments. 

One was to take her neutral character she gave us, Seti, and animate it showing either a sense of pride or shame. The idea I had involved a transition from being proud to being ashamed. The initial idea had the same actions in the final but Seti was facing to the right the entire time. Nancy decided a simple head turn to the left for most of the animation gave it a lot more acting, context as well as personality and it really did turn out better than the first pass:

The second assignment was to take 2 inanimate objects and give it distinct personalities and make them interact. I originally chose a broccoli and carrot dancing but at the last minute thought of a carrot acting as a matador, which my instructor thought was far more interesting. So I made the bull a potato and added the sprouts to be like horns for it. This assignment made me realize the importance of acting since these are just objects without any life at all; I couldn't make the potato look vaguely like a bull, but rather I had to make the potato be a bull through animation:

Some other drawings done during the class:

We had I think 1 min (I think?) to create a pose showing pride with a prop.

The above 2 are a series of drawings to show pride (top) and ashamed (bottom) with a prop.

Early thumbnails with the broccoli idea. Then some early thumbs of the carrot matador.

A few thumbnails of the carrot matador before starting it.