Wednesday, 15 April 2009

My Animation Checklist

Doing the initial research for my own version of the oft referenced animation principles and checklists revealed some great work by some legends of the craft. Reading the SIGGRAPGH papers and excerpts from books really drove home the frontier nature of the early Disney work and then the early CG work from Pixar really was.

Here are some of the nice references (links) for one and all:
28 principles : Tricks of Anim : Principles : John Lasseter paper at ACM portal : Disney Principles, The Illusion of Life : Keith Lango Checklist : CGS Feature

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I then compiled, from a fractured set of notes, the following enhanced checklist. It is really my take on things to check when animating and is part of this first main assignment. It isn't yet informed by massive amounts of experience - but it is already helpful to me. It includes my reminders and also the links to the more famous checklists as well - no shortage of advice and things to watch for. I have a nice PDF version of the following with a few images to brighten things up like this one of Wall-E - awesome character in the little bot.

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G’s Animation Checklist v1
My take on some seriously fine principles – things that help me see more:

Personality [emphasise character traits and motivations, actions reinforce identity]
Thoughts [derive actions from the mind first – convey emotion and thought]
Keys & Patience [take time to build enough keys to communicate the beats of action]
Moving Holds [hold the action to reveal it and strengthen it]
Fluidity [keep everything flowing without the underwater ballet feel]
Weight and Drive [what is driving and how much weight is there in it and what follows]
Pace Timing [vary action speed and keep transitions from fast/slow natural]
Arcs and Following [build in the arcs and the follow through together – more flow]
Asymmetry [poses with interesting shapes, avoids twinning and builds nicer lines]
Lines of Passion [check body and parts emphasise arcs and motion – make it strong]
Principles [work through the classic and expanded lists below – good stuff in there]
Bigger Picture [find a way to look at the whole, be less analytical about the details]

Viewpoint [look at the animation with a different eye – look for other interpretations]
Reference [check out video of similar actions, character actors, cartoons, esp 3D CG]
Inspiration [watch cool animated work, observe quality, see another way]

The classic 11 (Disney & Pixar)
1. Squash & Stretch
2. Timing
3. Anticipation
4. Staging
5. Follow Through and Overlapping Action
6. Straight Ahead and Pose-To-Pose Action
7. Slow In and Out
8. Arcs
9. Exaggeration
10. Secondary Action
11. Appeal

Expanded 28 (via Disney again)
1. Pose and Mood
2. Shape and Form
3. Anatomy
4. Model or Character
5. Weight
6. Line and Silhouette
7. Action and Reaction
8. Perspective
9. Direction
10. Tension
11. Planes
12. Solidity
13. Arcs
14. Squash and Stretch
15. Beat and Rhythm
16. Depth and Volume
17. Overlap and followthru
18. Timing
19. Working from extreme to extreme
20. Straights and Curves
21. Primary and secondary action
22. Staging and composition
23. Anticipation
24. Caricature
25. Details
26. Texture
27. Simplification
28. Positive and negative shapes

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