This is the first part of my ongoing Character Animation Tutorial series.
I will be covering all the aspects of a good character animation as I go over topics such as Acting, Animation Principles, Expectations, Facial Animation, Polish, and Software.
Note: My examples will only cover CG animation, as it is my strongest discipline, but much of what I am to cover can easily be translated into 2D and Stop-Motion animation.
In this first part we will be talking about the basic principles of acting in your character animation.
Creating a believable and living character is always a difficult task.
It is a genuine skill to make the audience feel empathy and relation with the animated characters on screen by your talents as an animator, but it is a difficult thing to pick up if you know very little about body language.
Body language is when you communicate your emotional state via how your body behaves or reacts to external stimulation or internal thoughts. Meaning that your body basically does a huge chunk of the talking alongside your verbal communication.
This is where we come to the part of “Knowing Your Actors”.
Each character you animate has a specific personality. The character you animate might have a brazen attitude, a flirty demeanor, or a negative outlook. The script will tell what personality it has, but it is up to you to properly emote the character so that it becomes clear to the audience.
Not everyone has the ability to perfectly read and interpret people's body language, but it is no hinder for those to wants to perfect the arts. A very good trick is to go out and socialize. Go to a pub or social gathering, and watch how people move, talk, and gesture. Generally just watch how people behave.
An even better option is to watch movies.
I myself find particular inspiration from the old masters; Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
They were the artisans of physical acting in the days of silent film, as there was no sound to help.
It is the perfect reference material for up-and-coming character animators who wants something to chew the fat on for their first showreel.
This is just a starter, as I have more technical material in mind, but stick around for the next part in which I will talk about “curves”.
Have a nice day.
My name is Patrick Høiseth. I am an Animator who mainly work in CG productions, but also have experience with Flash/2D animation.