I don’t have anything to show you mime-wise tonight, but I thought I’d write a bit of an update anyway.
Tonight I threw a tantrum.
Over the past couple of evenings I had been breaking down the 2nd mime test, but I found it to be a very rigid experience. If you saw the beginnings of my 3rd test, you will see that I attempted something much more loose. Going back to the 2nd test after this felt forced and uncomfortable. When I scanned in my drawings to see them in motion I was horrified with the result. I think it’s probably the least pleased I’ve been with my efforts in a long time.
The problem? My incessant habit of trying to draw too much too soon. It’s a real thorn in my foot. On the 3rd test, which was animated digitally on a Cintiq, I managed to approach the work in a much more fluid and free way. I didn’t bother with detail, trying to follow the feedback I’ve had from numerous people’s comments on this blog, and it helped massively. So going back to the detailed 2nd test was a very constricting experience in comparison.
So I think I’m going to start the 2nd test again. Some of the poses I have drawn I quite like and I was thinking about trying to just work loosely around them. However after a bit of consideration I think I might be better starting the animation again, just using these poses as guides along the way. One anonymous commenter said I should try doing supplementary drawings for poses that I’m having trouble with, so maybe what I’ve already done can act as such. I’m going to attempt to be more fluid as I go, concentrating on movement rather than detail. I was having a look back through some posts on Andreas Deja’s blog, and really started to look at some Bill Tytla drawings of the dwarfs on there, one of which I have reproduced here. Just look at how beautifully scribbly it is. It’s not even close to approaching something that you’d see in the final version. I guess, like thumbnail sketches, the animation at this stage really needs only to be understandable to the animator. It is one part of his initial exploration of a scene. This is something I need to think about when I’m working.
How does this apply to CG?
As a brief aside, my discovery of the importance of not letting things get in the way of movement started me thinking about the connotations of this in CG animation (my day job). I have advised colleagues in the past to pose every part of a character out for each pose. It was my belief that since the whole body contributes to the feeling communicated by a pose, the whole body should be posed out completely for the pose – fingers, face and everything. However I’m rethinking my stance on this now.
The most recent colleague and friend that I gave this advice to did manage to produce a lovely piece of animation while following it, and now swears by it (I should note that this advice is not my own, but given to me by another colleague with feature film experience). I think that was more to do with his skill though rather than any wisdom I might have imparted!!
But I’m thinking now…..what is the CG equivalent of super-rough 2D animation? Is it perhaps hiding the details of a character until later in the animation process (assuming the rig allows it)? Or is it best to do the Jason Ryan thing, drawing out the animation in 2D first and then matching the CG model to it? Basically, how can the CG animator focus his/her attention on the movement with all that detail floating around?