Week 8

Been working on my Jetpack Tiffany model for animating the walk cycle. My goal in this walk cycle is to have her move as if she’s supporting all the weight of the jetpack and tool belt, maybe also have her dottery personality come through aswell.

Iv also started making a Fuzzles model in Maya.


Acting in Animation: A look at 12 Films by Ed Hooks

Wow I loved this book! So many great lessons were learned reading this and I’ll try to use these principles of performance in my work from now on.

A record of notes from the book, I really recommend it.

Emotion tends to lead to action.


Audiences only empathise with emotion.


You always want your character to do something, eg. Jiminy Cricket struddling with the oversized book when telling the story at the start rather than just talking to the camera. Adding a small amount of conflict to an exposition scene.


In a gag when one event triggers a series of others the trick is that each of the resulting events must, in hindsight, be utterly logical.


Comedy is drama extended, elevated and exaggerated.


A scene is a negotiation and in any negotiation there must be a way to win and a way to loose.


Indecision is actually a series of tiny decisions and changes of mind.


Sadness will tend to make a character feel heavier.


Gags should come from logic of the scene.


A hero is an ordinary person who overcomes great odds or a great enemy to achieve a positive goal.


Show dont tell.


Acting is doing; it is not enough to simply convey feelings.

Emotions carry zero theatrical currency.


If you are going to add gags to a sequence, ask yourself if the information being communicated is useful to the story.

A gag is not in itself going to carry a whole lot of voltage if it isnt hooked into the character development and story.

A characters strength is often best exposed via small glimpses of vunererability.


Ambivalence is played by making choices and then changing your mind.


Characters need to have a reason for entering a scene and a reason for exiting.


The more specific the acting choice is the better it will play.


A villain can be defined as a regular person with ย a fatal flaw.


Moments of truth and insight tend to be very still. Time seems to stop.


Acting has almost nothing to do with words.


We as humans do not easily share our emotions with one another.


Sometimes when you are telling a good story, you have to know when to stop.


The last thing we try to do before we die is try to live.


Stillness (“ma”) is good in animation if it is filled with emotion and intention. Everything does not have to stay in constant motion.


The more specific the characters thought process the better the performance.


Play an action until something happens to make you play another action.


A lower power centre (where the body language donimates)ย requires a slower character rythm. Anxiety is a high and heavy power centre.


The fetal position carries a lot of visual and epathetic energy to the viewer.


In life stupid people do not think they are stupid.


There is a big difference between being a victim and being victimised. If you portray your character as a victim you run the strong risk that you will lose the empathetic response if your audience. Humans act to survive. We want to see characters do something to survive, even if the choice is wrong.


Comedy deal with our human limitations.


A gesture does not have to be merely an illustration of the spoken word.


Unless you have purely transitional sequence, a character should 100 percent of the time be playing an action in persuit of an objective while overcoming an obstical. These are three kinds of conflict; with self, with the situation, and with another character.


The more powerful the emotion, the more you can justify in terms of extreme action.


When we are threatened, we get a huge adrenaline rush and our blood goes straight to our extremnities so we can fight or run away. This kind of automatic reaction was key to survival in prehistoric times.


There are seven possible human emotions; surprise, discust, anger, fear, happiness, sadness and contempt.


Pycological gesture, eg. When Tarzan says of Kala “She is my mother” he touches his heart.


A powerful performance is made in small details.




Week 7

The crit for my push animation went really well, it even got a few laughs which was nice ๐Ÿ™‚ The only critisizm was that the action at the start when he shows off his muscles was a bit rushed and that I should work on the timing and readability these poses. I think I’m going to submit this one for the assessment as it shows more effort and weight than my lift animation.

Below are some gesture drawings of my observational victim I did during our character workshop at the National Gallery.

This week the time came to choose between the Maya and Flash classes. I had a hard time choosing but think I made the right desicision in going with Maya. Although I want to specialise in the 2D hand drawn animation, I also want to learn the 3D side of it and I already kind of know the basics of Flash already so will benefit more from the Maya classes.

In life drawing this week we were drawing the figure moving through space.

Character Designs

So this is the character that I’m wanting to develop for the character design assignment. I like the idea of her but after Vincent Woodcock’s workshop I think a lot of work has to be done to make the design interesting, just now she looks rather generic I think.

Any critique or advise from you guys would be greatly appreciated ๐Ÿ˜€


Week 6

I enjoyed Vincent Woodcocks character design workshop this week. Below are a few of my drawings from capturing gesture/poise, blind drawing (I am absolutely terrified of the outcome of that exploding eyeball haha) and caricature.


We also had to choose an animal to design characters with. These are my drawings of chickadees as three different characters.

This week in Life Drawing class we were drawing the figure from extreme viewpoints. I feel as if I should have exaggerated the perspective more in my drawings.

We also did some gesture drawing.

The Warner Bros. Character Design Manual

I got this book out of the library this week and it has really opened up my eyes and I’v learned to loosen up my drawing from it.

In the future I will keep in mind the following notes taken from this book when creating characters for animation.

Line of Action

  • Forget what the character looks like, focus only on what the character is doing and create simple lines of action and/or emotion.
  • Decide on the pose and sketch, the faster and more primal the force behind the first sketch the better the chance of capturing the essential animated spirit of the character.
  • Don’t think figure, think feeling, make the lines with strength, feeling and movement.
  • In cartooning rythm comes before anatomy.
  • Once the basis lines of rythm and action are down the picture arrives in your mind’s eye and you can start filling in the mass and proportion and details.
The Skeleton
  • The central axis of a body is the spinal cord, everything is balanced on it, hangs from it or radiates from it.
  • The spinal cord of your character will be layered over the line of action.
  • When using photo reference never copy it, find the line of action and push it to the extreme to exaggerate it.
  • Exaggerate perspective.
  • Copy movement, not form or detail.
Body Mass
Building Body Mass:
  1. Identify geometric shapes on which the character is built.
  2. Loosely layer those geometric shapes other the line of action.
  3. Adjust proportions of the geometric solids/body mass to reflect the correct ratios for the character to ensure the characters body mass are consistent from pose to pose.
  4. Add wide bands of muscle lines that connect the body and the skeleton together.
  5. Get inside the character (What doesn’t feel right? What is out of balance? What needs adjusting?)
Expressing Attitude
Attitudes and poses are not just frozen moments in time, they also exist with a past and a future that should be hinted at.
Below is an exercise from the book, going through from the line of action to the body mass of a character, since I am working on a lizard character for my animation exercise this week I decided to use him. Now I’m wishing I did these before the animation, it might have turned out better.
Below is an exercise where you had to choose an extreme emotion, close your eyes and thinking of that emotion draw lines on the paper that express that emotion and then open your eyes and build your drawing of a characters expression around these lines.
I chose terror and I loved the outcome.

Week 5

I really happy with my progression in a short few weeks on this course ๐Ÿ™‚

This weeks assignment was to animate a character lifting something. I did a cute monster lifting up his baby to stop him crying.

Useful feedback from the group critique are:

-Have a bit more time at the start of the animation before the main action for the audience to take everything in.

-The arms looked as if they were drawn quite flat but the body when the character turns looks to be drawn 3 dimensionally, try stick to the one style.

-Have a bit more of a pause between the character bending down before going straight into the lift.

-Have more follow through with the arms after the lift, coming to a sudden stop makes it look unnatural.

We’ve been told that we soon have to make the decision whether we want to work with maya or flash and after effects, I’m still not sure which path I want to take :s

I enjoyed the life drawing exercise where we had to draw the face over the skull ๐Ÿ™‚