Obstacle Course – Claw

The Claw would primarily be practice for the Principle of Follow through and Overlapping Animation, though I wanted to apply what I had learned in the previous week which was to give the claw a personality like I did with Wormy.

Luxo the lamp from Pixar’s famous logo introduction and the short “Luxo Jr” exemplify the application of a personality to a very simple character and I wanted to try a similar technique with Carl.

My plan for the animation was Carl would throw the ball and then proceed to watch it descend through the course. I then noticed that the ball would not reach the halfpipe (where I had intended it to stop) without the leap becoming too large for it’s momentum and making the animation look silly. I then made the decision to make Carl “use the force” to “pull” the halfpipe so it fell over allowing the ball to slide up it’s curve and come to a stop further along the track.

Anyone who’s comfortably watching TV when the remote is a little out of reach knows exactly what happens. You straighten and  strain your arm a little (Obi Wan will be disappointed) and eventually try to pull the object towards you but pretending like there is some great weight attached to your hand. I used my own hand as a reference.

The arm then comes to a comfortable stop along with the ball.

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Obstacle Course

For this week we had to apply our knowledge of Squash And Stretch along with basic physics to maneuver the ball through a maze and to a complete stop. We were free to move the obstacles as much as we wanted as well as the big CARLjr Claw that hung from the ceiling. The Claw introduced us to the Principle of Followthrough and Overlapping Animation.

followthrough and overlap
From Disney’s “The Illusion of Life”

(Scenes from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988), “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” (2003) and “The Little Mermaid” (1989) )

Characters do not come to a stop all at once. Quoting from “The Illusion of Life” page 59:

“If the character has any appendages, such as long ears or a tail or a big coat, these parts continue to move after the rest of the figure has stopped.”

Roger Rabbit has big floppy ears which – when Roger himself shifts from one pose to the other – swing around in a realistic manner to create a smoother motion which would otherwise (though the animation is so fluid) look choppy and rigid.

Eris from Sinbad is just goddamn gorgeous to look at. Her hair and movements are like smoke and mist, and though she herself is a goddess and not a mortal flesh-and-blood being the follow through animation gives her body the strange harmony of both a sense of otherworldliness and mortality.

Ariel’s hair flowing through the water is a perfect example of follow through. Without the support of water (or lots of hairspray) our hair will stay flopping briefly on our shoulders before resting. Follow through will happen, it just isn’t as dramatic.

Wormy

From Disney's "The Illusion of Life"
From Disney’s “The Illusion of Life”

Applying a personality to a very simple object without any distinguishing features seemed like a task. I researched some videos to give me a clue on how to achieve this. This scene from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (1959) is a perfect example of giving inanimate and seemingly lifeless characters (the household objects, the sack of flour, the eggs etc) a personality.

From Disney's "Illusion of Life"
From Disney’s “Illusion of Life”

The emotion I was going for in my Wormy animation was mainly curiosity. The stepped animation looks a little off because I didn’t actual use key-poses first, I went straight into the fluid animation, which is quite odd as I’m usually really good with using key frames in my 2D animations, I just found that Straight Ahead Active animating on Maya seemed a lot more natural looking and allowed me to see the movement a lot clearer. I actually like how the final smooth animation turned out. Wormy (that is his name. Deal with it.) looks like he has a personality and weight.

http://smg.photobucket.com/user/ratcreature/media/drawingbooks/csa-p102.jpg.html

The Bouncing Ball

Our first Maya animation was the Bouncing Ball.

ball
From Disney’s “The Illusion of Life”

This video tutorial by DarkmanetheWerewolf (one of my favourite animators on Youtube) shows the importance of a coherent bounce to ball with appropriate spacing, timing and squash-and-stretch.

Animation Student and Notorius dragon enthusiast