Once a week I will recommend an animated short on my blog that I enjoyed watching.
This week I will showcase Centopeia, a French CG animated short in which a singer becomes an icon
for a revolution, whether he likes it or not.
If you enjoyed the short, share the video or this blog to your friends.
Have a good day!
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
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.
Working as an animator is one of the best things in life, but that is just my opinion.
Having an occupation where you can entertain and influence other people while doing something you find fulfilling is a rare thing to find. Especially if you have the mindset to only chase safe jobs devoid of surprises or challenges.
Another great perk of being an animator is the option to work remotely.
Despite applying for many on-site jobs, I have only worked from home in these last two years.
Mainly due to me often being employed by studios who just wants me to work on a quick job, or hire me on to save a project from the horrors of deadlines.
I do still chase the on-site jobs, where I can work side-by-side with fellow animators and artists, but I do still love the comfort of sitting on my big recliner chair, with a big cup of coffee at my side, and my custom-built PC in front of me.
I can give a couple of tips on how to be a stay-at-home animator.
One of the more important things of working from home is being able to communicate. Very often you'll be bombarded with e-mails from your employer with new assignments, new directions, and new critiques.
Having a trustworthy internet connection is then key. I often struggle with my internet in my area, so often that in my current house hunting I am only considering areas with great connection. Be sure you have a great provider.
When you are working from home, just like in any other offices, you need a work horse. A beast that can handle almost every task. This is especially important if you work in CG animation, as I often do. Make sure to research properly and extensively for that one computer you need, and never overpay. It might be tempting to get the £1000 PC that promises to do everything you cannot do, but often time it is better to shop smart. Find the one that suits your requirements more, rather then adding stuff you don't really need.
Lastly, be comfortable. One of the chief perks of working from home is the relaxed environment. Invest in a proper chair, a nice desk, and a good coffee machine. Spruce up your office with decorations, entertainment, and motivations. Your work output will increase dramatically if you make the effort to make yourself feel relaxed at work.
My apology for this week's blog post being so short.
I am currently working on two huge projects and I'm gearing up for some major job interviews.
Not sure what I'll post next week, but I'm planning a small character animation tutorial in the near future.
Thank you for reading, and have a good week.
Welcome to the first proper blog post of this site.
I thought I could start it off by divulging in information about where I come from, where I went, and what I am planning for the future.
I am a Norwegian and I was raised in a small town called Skjetten in Eastern-Norway, not far from Oslo. Nothing hugely exciting about this town unless you are really into football. Which I wasn't.
Skjetten is a great place to grow up in, but it didn't have much for me to want to stick around. My first proper taste of independence came when I was 19 and started at the Folkehøgskolen in Fana, near Bergen.
For those unaware of this chiefly Scandinavian practice, a Folkehøgskole is a private school where students live and study for a year doing pretty much whatever they wish. A good place for anyone wanting to try out on their own in a safe environment.
In Fana I studied Cinematography. My first step into the world of film, as I had set my eyes on becoming a Film Director. A lofty dream considering I was heavily introverted at the time and had problems communicating with other people, but I stuck with my ambitions none the less. At least I made very good friends, who I still keep in touch with to this day.
Afterwards I started studying Film History and Theory in Lillehammer University College, which I hoped was a clever academic move towards getting accepted into the film school. It didn't come to pass, but it was a important life lesson none the less for me to set my goals more straight.
While studying Illustration at the Telemark University College I was largely feeling unsure about what I wanted in life. I felt pretty pointless at that stage. However, it was at this point that I got more interested in the art and mechanics of animation. This set my eyes on the prospects of studying animation abroad, as animation studies in Norway was still quite limited and very hard to apply for.
Then things changed. The next year I was accepted into the Animation & VFX course at Falmouth University and was now suddenly on my way to England. From Heathrow I took a coach that was provided by the school, and I remember looking out the window as we crossed the Tamar Bridge and entered Cornwall that I found this region to be rather peculiar. Palm Trees in England? Bizarre. Warm sunny weather? Even more bizarre.
I enjoyed myself immensely in Cornwall, and studying at the Falmouth University was an absolute treat as I got to experience an education system that actually paid attention to your progress and did its best to make you succeed, while at the same time letting you do whatever you want to reach your goals.
Three years flew past as I got to enjoy the Cornish weather, make more friends, achieve a degree, and gain a career that I could call my true purpose.
I moved north to Scotland so that I could live with my girlfriend, who I have been in a relationship with for six years and counting. Things got difficult at this point, I got to admit. Jobs were few and far between as I didn't have much job experience and a fairly weak showreel. I did manage to get enough to keep myself afloat, but I continued to chase the big ones.
At the beginning of this year that big one finally arrived. Will Adams, the co-founder of Once Were Farmers in Glasgow, was generous enough to offer me a job on a project for BBC. We had met before, but I was always worried that I hadn't made much of an impression for him to keep me in mind for future jobs. Thankfully he did, and I got to work on the Bitesize Maths series. It was a lot of fun, and under the directions of Rory Lowe I learned so much about animation production that I didn't learn from the University.
Thanks to this job opportunity I was shortly afterwards offered a job at the Cornish studio Spider-Eye Animation by Erica Darby, where I got to work on a massive project for Turner Broadcasting called The Happos Family.
It was an insane amount of fun, and I am glad I got to experience it all after such a long time of uncertainty that I would even make it as an animator.
Animation is my passion and I love every frame of it. My goals is so much clearer after I've discovered my enthusiasm for the art, and I've set my mind on working hard to achieve even more from this.
I want to work on more children animation, I want to use my skills to teach people, and one day I wish to write and direct my own animated short. Ten years ago I would have considered this all lofty goals, but now it seems a lot more clearer and reachable.
Thank you for reading, and have a good week.
- Patrick Høiseth
All the photos you see above are available for purchase on my Artflakes profile.
I've just recently decided to put up a blog on my website. I decided to wait until I had more experience in the animation industry before I started writing about them, and I feel now is the right time.
I will post at least once a week where I will write my personal experiences, show off any new projects I am currently working on, and occasionally post animation tutorials.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comment section.
Have a good day,
My name is Patrick Høiseth. I am an Animator who mainly work in CG productions, but also have experience with Flash/2D animation.