Saturday, April 29, 2017

Just Keep Going!

This kind of thing happens to me once in a while (and it just did again):

Before animating a new scene I plan out the staging and acting of the character(s) in thumbnail form.
Once I feel that this is probably the best way of doing it, I start roughing out my first pass on animation paper. I think I got this under control, when suddenly I loose confidence in the way the rough pass is coming along. The poses look funky, and flipping what I have done so far doesn't encourage me to keep going.
Early on in my career I would throw everything out and start over again, without even pencil testing anything. The stuff just felt like it was going nowhere.
What I've learned over the years, when this kind of a situation occurs, is to stay with the scene and FINISH the rough pass anyway. BECAUSE:
Even if parts of the scene don't work for me, there is always some part that does. And based on that, I can now rework the scene so that everything works as a whole.

And a good attitude to have is this: let me do the fixes right now, not later or tomorrow, right now when everything is fresh in my mind. So by the end of the day you know you solved the problem.
The next day when I start tying down the drawings I feel confident again, because I know that the bare bones of the scene are working.

There are even times like this: I am thinking the scene is going downhill, but I stay with it and finish the first rough pass. I pencil test it, and by golly, it doesn't look so bad after all.

Yet again, there are occasions when the whole thing has to be thrown out, because the acting idea is wrong. This happened to me while animating Mickey on The Prince and the Pauper. 
Pauper Mickey is walking through the Prince's palace, when he discovers his mirror image on the shiny floor. The storyboard suggested that he is delighted and does something fun to acknowledge the smooth floor.
So I posed out something like an ice skating scene. Way too broad! I started over with a different idea, where Mickey does a little dance with his own mirror image, before crashing into some armor.
I kept the dance subtle while the crash was broad. To this day I think this became one of my better scenes.


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11 comments:

  1. Excellent advice .... too much help, Thank you so much !!! I'm getting better!!!!

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  2. great advice. I still throw a lot of stuff out, either because the overall motion isn't working, the timing stinks, or often my lead animator will tell me to delete some keys and keep my scenes clear

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  3. Just watched the scene three times in slo-mo; it's so smooth. and the way he slips on the floor is so nicely done. Did you animate all the mickey shots in this one?

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    1. I animated this section when the two Mickeys meet, as well as a few other moments in the film, but not all of the Mickeys.

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  4. So you're saying I shouldn't feel confident to animate my acting ideas for my characters to move on paper? I'm only confident to speak my mind when asking about animation history, like what is the story behind the names of Sebastian the crab and Ursula the sea witch in The Little Mermaid?

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  5. Really great advice, not just within the realm of animation, but even with other callings in life! Even if something isn't turning out the way you want it to, stick with it! It won't be so bad in the end! AND what can you learn from your mistakes? Seriously, GOLD! Thanks Andreas for always inspiring.

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  6. Thanks so much. I really needed this encouragement from you today.

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  7. Hi Andreas. This is one my favorite Mickey shorts. I remember this scene and it is great to hear your story. Over the years I have picked a couple is cel setups in sequence from the scene and now I know the reason why I was subconsciously attracted too it!

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  8. I just came across a similar notion in a quote from Leonard Cohen who said “The cutting of the gem has to be finished before you can see whether it shines.” He was specifically talking about finishing a verse of a song, or the song itself, but to let a clunky phrase (or pose) halt the creative process is to deny the gemstone light. Get it down, finish, and then go back, don't give up!! Thanks Andreas!

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