Dec 18, 2007

Quick Trick: Less is More



This is just a short one... short but good.

With physical animation, always remember that the body ( be it human or otherwise ) is a machine, run by a brain, that is obsessed with efficiency.

The human body likes to use the least amount of energy possible to do anything. Thats why we almost fall over every time we take a step, because evolution has enabled our brains to understand gravity, and use it to our advantage in everything we do.

A good way to show this in animation, is to try and take the least amount of steps possible if we need our character to do anything. If they need to turn around, or stand up, or walk over and pick up a bunch of flowers, or do a run up before jumping out of a window... use only as many foot plants as you absolutley need. Your poses will look better too with nice wide and clear contacts, and your actions will be stronger.

If you're having trouble technically with the footplants ( e.g, the distance is just too large, or the foot needs to reach an akward pose ) try these ideas to help:
  • Can you shorten the overall distances if need be ?
  • Try sliding the feet a little ( this can really add to the organic feel sometimes )
  • Try a very small hop ( just a small bit of airtime on both feet )
  • Change the timing on your main action to allow the foot to plant without stretching
  • Remember to pivot off the tips of the toes when fully extending
  • Twist, swivel and roll the feet. They are extremely versatile
  • The audience probably isnt looking directly at the feet... cheat
Just bear in mind that occasionally you may want to deliberatley animate a characters feet in an unrealistic way for certain effect ( imagine the classic fast "tiptoe" sneak from the old Tom and Jerry cartoons )... but as a general approach, you`ll find this idea can really help with physical actions, particularly in their clarity.

4 comments:

CresceNet said...

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Daniel M.C. Alvite said...

nice post, very clever and clear...thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

i'm also a game animator and i just wanted to say that this is great work man!

b-animator said...

Hi~
Thanks for sharing your work process.
There a lot to learn from your article.
Thanks again~!