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Texture in animation

Posted on February 24, 2020  Leave a Comment
Filed under Animation, Education

The most important concept in animation to me is “Contrast”. Contrast can be applied to anything in animation. Contrast is what separate two characters when we talk about acting, contrast is what will make the difference between two styles of animation when we talk about posing, so what about timing?

When it comes to timing, contrast will be your strongest ally to generate excitement, especially for pantomime and body mechanics shots.

When it comes to timing, contrast will be your strongest ally to generate excitement, especially for pantomime and body mechanics shots.

Dialogues are pretty straightforward to handle as you already have an audio to base your performance of. With pantomime, approaching timing is frightening if you don’t have a method to approach it.

Texture is, the way you organise your contrast, texture is how you manage your timing.

Personally, what I always try to do, is to create “texture” in my performance. What the hell is texture you might ask. Texture is, the way you organise your contrast, texture is how you manage your timing. Think about a music score or picture a drummer performing!

If you were to create a performance where all the beats fell at the same pace, you would undoubtedly create a monotonous boring piece. If instead, you give contrast to the beats, alternating slow downs and accelerations, you will create much more exciting shots. In music, you could refer to legato and staccato.

But wouldn’t this feel too forced and unnatural?

Well, this is where we getting to the meat of this article!

I like to watch people falling on their ass

I am obsessed by body mechanics and can’t help looping videos of controlled and uncontrolled motion. Basically, I like to watch people falling on their ass or their face as long as they don’t die! This curious habit started when I worked in VFX.

In VFX, animators will often be questioned about the physicality of their animation by people who don’t study motion so it is a great practice to bookmark such videos as they will come very handy, if you need references for a specific stunt.

So where was I…. Ah yes! This morning, a friend posted what appeared to be simple fun gag which I started looping few times until I realised how perfectly timed the piece was! Not only does it start and ends with a decisive walk on twos but it also features an amazing arrhythmic section in the middle with sudden accelerations and pauses, all that at 110 bpm. If I were to recreate this in animation, people would say it is totally artificial but there it is!

Just to make the texture clearer, I overlayed a drum box with musical annotations from quarter to sixteenth, mixing notes and rest values. Even if you are not musician this should make sense.

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