12 Principles: Top Ten Advanced Performance Tips for Animators

Introduction -Tips for Animators

Clarity is key to animated films. This allows the audience to understand the story and engage with the animators. Our job is to make the audience feel at ease and entertain them. To make the audience feel connected to the characters, they must believe in them. They need to seem alive and able to think for themselves, be able to react quickly, communicate clearly, and be charming. To entertain the audience, the shots should be visually appealing in terms of composition, rhythm, rhythm, and phrasing. Also, they must have fresh acting choices. When it comes to the planning and execution of a shot, the animator is faced with a lot of challenges.

Simplify: Reduce the complexity of your shots to make them appear more natural.

Too much information is crammed into a single shot. This makes the animation feel sloppy and sloppy, which can lead to a loss of authenticity. Don’t allow yourself to be compelled to make your character move. Moments of stillness, in contrast to the movement, are what make the shot flow. Don’t allow yourself to be compelled to always make the character move. The moments of stillness that are juxtaposed with the movement really make the shot flow. It is important not to make the shot feel fake or forced. The scene above is an example of two key acting techniques: Simply and Act within a Pose.

Keep your poses simple and keep it real. Tips for Animators

Identify the character’s emotional state in the shot. This state can change and, if so how quickly. These emotional/mental states should be your character’s ONLY MAIN POOSE CHANGES. Change poses only because of a change in emphasis in dialogue. Dialogue does not drive action. THOUGHT DRIVES A CHARACTER. Change poses only because of a change in emphasis in the dialogue. Above, you can see that Ratatouille’s character uses only two poses. The two main emotional driving forces are external (how did YOU make this?!) Where he looks into the jar with his back to the wall, and where he is hunched forward. Where he grips the jar tightly to his chest and stands taller and more rigid. The rest of the performance is filled with secondary gestures to emphasize the main emotions. The main poses change in intensity only throughout the scene. They can either lean into or push themselves out of the pose, depending on how intense their emotions are. You can choose to use a few key poses to communicate your character’s emotion, and then make adjustments to each pose. You don’t have to create a new pose for every emotion they show.

Layers: Layer animation techniques to create believable performances. Tips for Animators

A performance is like an onion. There are layers to it.

Consider your character’s performance to be a song. You can layer rhythms on top of one another to create texture and timing within your animation. These rhythms can support your acting choices and enhance the performance.

This concept is extremely important when it comes to ‘acting in poses’.

Let’s suppose that your animation’s rhythm and texture are choreography set against a musical score. A full composition requires a variety of elements. These include notes (low, hi), tempo (adagio), and volume (pianoforte, etc. These are the elements.

This is how the notes might look in this example.

Bass notes, i.e. Cello (main positions): This is the foundation of the shot.

Middle notes, i.e. Viola (overlapping actions leading to and out of main poses, weight shifts, and support gestures) : This allows for a more seamless flow between the slow bass notes and the faster higher notes.

High notes (i.e. 1st and second violins (quick staccato gestures with the head, shoulders, neck, and eyes) ): The main melody and countermelody of the shot that keeps the audience interested in the character’s performance. This is where emotion comes out.

Remember to keep the dialogue/audio in mind. Both the physical movements and the music need to be danced around. Moments of silence create punctuation during the performance.

Emotional hangover: Give your emotions time to pass. Tips for Animators

This idea can be best illustrated by the old bouncing balls. When one force (bounce Energy) is exhausted and another force is taking over, there is a time of hang time. We can then see the changeover of forces take place.

Emotionally speaking, if a character feels one emotion and something happens in the shot to make them feel something else, they must have a thought processing moment before the emotional shift can occur. This moment is crucial to make acting appear natural and credible.

Emotionally speaking a character should have a moment to think about what it means to feel one emotion while another happens.

In order to show that the character is mentally processing and absorbing the events, it is important to incorporate beats into your animation. These are Micro pauses (TM). Micropauses can be very quick, the mind can process them very quickly. But they must be readable.

Watch Chef Skinner quickly change emotion between one and the other in this video (from 2;09). There’s a little stillness in between each change that shows his thought processing moments.

The neutral pose: Do not start animating using a rig’s neutral pose. Create your own.

This is NOT a neutral position: It is the default one used for rigging! This pose is not a good place to start animating. It makes the character look very static and generic. You should identify the key traits of your character. Create a neutral position for how the character might stand or lie while doing nothing. You can then create the scene by incorporating the emotions of the character. That way, you can capture the character’s personality faster and more easily.

As an example, I might have guessed that this character was nervous and shy. His neutral pose could be something like this. If he were a more patient type of guy, the neutral position might look like this. Start animating a shot by starting from a neutral pose that is IN CHARACTER. This will allow you to get a better sense of your character’s personality in the movement and help you stay focused on the performance.

Your character’s movement style:

You can draw on specific inspiration to help your character develop their neutral pose.

As each person enters the room, they do the same thing. The personality of each character will determine how they react to situations and what actions to take.

One example of a great dance style is the one above. Buzz Light-year is caught in “Spanish mode” here. Flamenco, a form of dance, inspired Buzz Light-year’s character. This had an impact on both the poses and the style of the character’s movement.

To find the right physicality or movement style for you, there are many avenues and inspirations. Pixar’s short film “Presto”, which focuses on how posture and movement style can highlight a character, is a wonderful film to look at. We see a lot of contrast between the characters and can get a sense of their individual personalities by watching their movements and poses.

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