Friday, 8 July 2016

Don’t Hate, Anticipate

While we animators dream of getting to work on a big budget Disney or Pixar film, many of us find ourselves starting out on smaller scale projects. This can prove discouraging to early animators since the tight budgets and quick turnaround rates constrain us from putting our heart and soul into each and every frame like we did with our college theses. Small-scale character animation projects are rare and when they do arise, we find ourselves having to minimalize poses and cut corners to stay in budget. However, this doesn’t mean we have to throw out the textbook completely. There are ways to incorporate the techniques we were conditioned so well on in order to give even the most simplistic of sequences the heart and feel that we all strive for. The quickest and easiest way that I’ve found to achieve this is through anticipation.

Yes, there’s that word again. The word we animators have heard so many times from tutorials, seminars, books and documentaries. There’s a good reason for that, though, because anticipation (Ah! There it is again!) can immediately boost a sequence’s value. Think about it, if a viewer sees a character anticipating, what are they going to do? Anticipate with it!

But it doesn’t always have to be a big wind up like you’d see in a Warner Brothers cartoon. It can range from a long, exaggerated build-up…
…to just eight or so frames of moving in the opposite direction.
It can even be applied to motion graphics. Again, it doesn’t have to be super elaborate, even the most subtle usage can bring a whole new feel to your work.
Here’s the same sequence without anticipation:
So, while you’re reprioritizing and fast tracking in order to compensate the tight deadlines, don’t be afraid to pull this out of your tool kit. Even if the end user doesn’t see it, they’ll definitely feel it. So if you find yourself working on small scale projects, don’t hate, anticipate.

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