Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Character performance and believability- Stop motion animations

My new module as part of my animation degree course will focus on stop motion animation, that is animating real objects (or people in the case of the process known as pixellation) by means of separate frames running in quick succession.

The first brief animations shown below were really tests, to help us (my class) get somewhat familiar with this form of animation before moving on to a longer group project. We were asked to animate a small articulated plastic figure, which we assembled ourselves. Working in groups, the initial test was to animate a walk cycle, which was primarily animated by one of my friends:

Following this test, I myself animated a short run cycle with the figure, to better understand how many frames were necessary for faster movements (I should note that at this early stage, we were unable to utilise any forms of rigging, and so the figures were temporarily affixed with blu-tack):

These tests completed, we moved on to a far more ambitious animation. With a selection of colours to choose from when assembling our figures, I created one to resemble Superman, whilst my friend had recreated Iron Man. As such, my group felt it would be fun to animate a versus fight sequence between the two. This was indeed very fun (and I might add utterly ridiculous!)

Of course, all principles of animation which we have learned on our course so far still applied, such as anticipation and reaction/secondary actions. To capture more authentic movements, my friend (with whom I attend an Aikido class each week) and I acted out a series of fighting moves, which would make their way into the animation.

There was a great deal of collaboration amongst the whole group as we all pitched various ideas and techniques, resulting in a final animation which is really quite unique. Given that the characters we were portraying can both fly, we decided to animate this. There was always going to be a transition therefore between the hand to hand fighting and the flying segment. As you can see in the videos below, our approach was to utilise the white board in our room to do a 2D, side-on view of the characters. With the ability to draw and erase on the board itself, we were able to add a background and various effects by hand whilst animating. For the transition between the fight sequence and the flying, I feel our solution was pretty original and interesting!

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