This time I will talk about one of the most important techniques of a good character animation.
Whenever you watch animations from Disney and Pixar, whether they be 2D or 3D, you notice that all the characters move quite differently from what humans in real life do. They move in curves, which gives the characters a lot more... character, you might say.
It creates a dynamic motion that makes it appealing for the audience to watch, grabbing the eyes to focus on the characters body language. It is difficult to master, and I've seen people with years of experience not fully utilizing the technique to its perfection, but ones you got it, your on the road to mastery.
I will use a fellow character animator as an example on how to do an excellent character animation using curves. Kristin Müller is an animator over at Blue-Zoo Animation in London, and she recently finished a personal animated short titled “I'm Going On A Date?!”. I definitely recommend giving it a watch.
Notice that even when she is idle, the character's head will make a slight curve as she tilts her head from position to position, and then curve her entire body into a surprised stance as she hears the news.
Curves are very important to show a good flow in the characters motions as it shows an interesting dynamic that catches the eyes of the audience, and it connects with how you as a person reacts to exagerrated body language. Unless you're animating a robot, you should never keep the motion stiff.
Even outside of animations everyone moves in curves.
An extremly helpful tool to help you achieve the results I am talking about, if you are animating in 3D, is using the graph editor. Most 3D and Composition programs has a graph editor that allows you to manipulate the motion between keyframes if you want a deep curved motion, multiple curved motions, or just a straight line.
If you want you could animate an entire scene just using the graph editor, but that's for another tutorial.
I hope this very short tutorial has been helpful.
Feel free to contact me for questions, or even suggestions for future tutorials.
Go check out Kristin Müller's stuff over at Vimeo.
Part 3: Poses
My name is Patrick Høiseth. I am an Animator who mainly work in CG productions, but also have experience with Flash/2D animation.