Currently browsing Posts Tagged “animation”

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I’m Always Turning Heads

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Going back to some basic animation concepts here; although I feel like I learned something from the 11-second animation contest, I also threw a lot of these basics out the window–I was in a hurry, and I was anxious to see my characters move.

This picture illustrates basic timing and spacing. If I wanted to have Kerkel angrily react to something by turning his head, and have the action take 16 frames from start to finish, I’d begin by drawing the two “extremes,” as indicated in black. Then I’d figure out where I wanted his head to be at the apex of the move, aka the “breakdown,” and draw that next, as indicated in red. Then I’d draw successive inbetweens, as indicated in blue.

The chart at the bottom, as well as the way I’ve arranged the drawings, indicates the “spacing”–how far the character has moved in that particular period of time. Most actions “ease” in and out, which is why the drawings at the beginning and end of the move are closer together, indicating that the move speeds up as it approaches the breakdown, then slows down.

Once I get comfortable with this concept, I can add some realism by using different spacing for different body parts. His ears could take a little longer to settle than his head, for instance.

Good Night Butterball!

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

I’m setting a dangerous precedent by not posting my own work here, but some days I find myself doing more observing than drawing. Today I was going through some Looney Tunes, trying to analyze the action, when I stumbled across this moment in “Kitty Kornered.” I think this has to be the greatest cartoon “take” ever. The screenshots above are only a handful of the poses.

I realize I should be studying Disney first, to figure out the “right” way to animate, but I can’t resist this stuff.

Bubb Rubb’s Revenge

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

I made a little test animation tonight. It’s a guy pulling a chain and shouting “whoo whoo!” It’s not supposed to make sense. I just wanted to see what it would be like to do the initial animation on paper, then the inbetweens on the computer.

I love my Cintiq tablet, but when I was doing the 11 Second contest, I noticed that the small screen and bulky stylus didn’t lend themselves to loose gesture drawing–you know, the kind you put your whole arm into. Of course, the computer is invaluable for cleaning up artwork, and saving drawing time on static elements.

As I suspected, I kind of like this process; I think I animated a little faster, in spite of the awkwardness of pulling pieces of paper on and off a peg bar, over a light table.

Being the Apple geek I am, my method for digitizing the pencil drawings was an iPhone app called iMotion HD, with my iPhone stationed on a Tripod. iMotion has a companion iPad app that allows you to trigger the shutter without touching the phone. Then I was able to sit down at my computer, pull all the frames directly to my hard drive via wifi, and get back to work.


Nothing beats using cutting edge technology to do old-fashioned work!


Whiz Grownup

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Hey look! Spurred on by my apparent love of prize-free online competitions, and possible creeping dementia, I drew several hundred pictures to create the fleeting illusion of motion.

Actually, I’ll spare you the usual self-effacing stuff. I impressed myself over the past couple of weeks by finally finding the patience to accomplish something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. I learned a lot, and started to grasp some concepts that seemed amorphous on the printed pages of my animation how-to books. I have a long way to go, but I’ve crossed an important threshold: I now realize that animating, mad as it is, is not superhuman task. It’s just something that will require a huge amount of practice and patience.

You can check out the contest here; as of this writing it hasn’t started yet, but maybe it will have by the time you click. And luckily, this contest doesn’t stretch for 10 weeks; I believe the voting is over in less than a week.

Edit: I’m amazed that out of 347 frames, the Posterous video player’s holding frame is the exact same drawing I posted yesterday!

Get Ready, Get Set…

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Another thrilling frame from the animation I’ll submit tomorrow. Continuing a tradition I started in college, I’ll finish it up in the morning.

She’s Alive!

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

And now she just needs someone to talk to. You’d think I’d have started on character #2 by now, but hey, I was having fun getting the Poehler stand-in just about right. Every time something felt a little stiff, I referred to my trusty Animator’s Survival Kit and found ways to make her more dynamic. Not saying I got everything right, but I’m really happy with the way it evolved.

4 days left, so I’ll start the exasperated husband just in the nick of time. Luckily he won’t also be moving like a hummingbird on crack. He’s onscreen for three more seconds than she is, so it’ll be interesting to see how the time spent animating compares.

Frame O’ The Day

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

God I love 2D animation. Frozen in time, this looks like Angela Lansbury after a date with a steamroller. At 24 frames per second, it provides a barely perceptible indication of speed.

Back in the `30s when animators started studying live-action films, they noticed that fast motion resulted in a lot of blurred, smeared frames. If you study Warner Bros.cartoons frame-by-frame, you’ll see how they applied the concept to animation. “The Dover Boys” is a film that used it especially liberally.


I didn’t have high hopes when I tried it with my own animation, and was ecstatic to find that it actually works really really well.

Wrangling Scribbles

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Slooow-goin’ over here. I didn’t really want to post the animation at such a nascent stage, but I didn’t have anything else to post tonight. So gather `round, kids, and witness how the sausage is made.

This month the contest is using a clip from Parks and Recreation, featuring the obnoxious Amy Poehler. I decided to make my animation about an 1890s couple having a quiet Sunday at home, until the wife gets all Poehler-y.

The first two seconds of her character are close to finished; you’ll see how the remainder of the animation is a choppy roadmap of “extreme” frames, waiting to be fleshed out.

You’ll also see, in red, my very rough sketches of the husband, who although silent, is actually onscreen longer than the wife. He spends most of the clip trying to retrieve his newspaper and hat after the wife obliviously knocks them to the floor.

I’m not sure if the husband will be easier or harder to animate. Probably easier, since his movements will be much more deliberate and he’ll just have a couple of slow-burn facial expressions.

Anyway, hope seeing this sloppy mess today will make the finished product seem freakin’ amazing next week.

A Peek Inside the Drawing Room

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Hey, it’s contest season, everyone! As I may have mentioned, I’m following up January’s comic strip contest with a shot at February’s 11 Second Animation contest. The basic concept is, you’re provided an 11-second audio clip from a movie or TV show, and your job is to add visuals in the form of character animation.

Between my tendency to procrastinate, and my lack of experience, I wasn’t too sure I’d be able to get through this one. But this weekend I whittled my idea into something within reach of my current abilities. ┬áToday I finished a rough, scribbly animatic, which means the whole thing is mapped out. Now it’s just a matter of spending all of my free time over the next 8 days drawing furiously.

As happy as I am with my progress, it’s still a bit of a mess to anyone looking over my shoulder. However, in a few days I’ll probably feel comfortable posting some rough draft videos here.

Of Corset I Procrastinated

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


Toying with some conceptual artwork for a February animation project; naturally February is already half-over.