Class 1 - Week 9 - Animated Silhouettes

As you may recall, a few weeks ago I talked about silhouettes in poses,
and how having a clear silhouette will make your pose read better to the
viewer and also make it stronger overall. This principle doesn't change
when you go into animating characters, even ones as simple as Ballie.

Just as I mentioned in week 5 for your Stu poses, you have the same types
of things to keep an eye out for in your animated silhouettes:

Make sure to have clear shapes in all your poses, from the contacts, to
passing positions, and even the extreme ups and downs in your walk cycle.
All your key poses need to be read clearly, or you'll end up with odd
pops and muddy looking motions. Avoid overlapping limbs and joints, and
foreshortening in the limbs that cause body parts to look either shorter,
longer, or non-existent.

However, because the silhouette is constantly moving, there are a few
extra things to watch out for.

Probably one of the most common issues you might encounter while you
animate is loosing track of which limb is which, for example in a walk.
What that means is that as the free leg moves forward and passes the
supporting leg, it almost feels like the legs are switching, so that the
supporting leg is now moving forward while the moving leg looks like the
support. They don't actually switch places, but it causes an illusion
that makes it feel like they do. This happens when the silhouette of the
passing leg lines up almost perfectly with the silhouette of the
supporting leg, causing the viewer to lose track of which leg is which.
You can avoid having this happen by simply making sure that the crossing
limbs don't line up too closely.

The next issue is popping in the silhouettes. There are two ways this can
commonly be caused. The first way is actually almost exactly like the
previous issue. When limbs, like legs, pass over each other too closely,
sometimes instead of looking like a switch, it can look like a pop, even
if your curves are perfectly smooth. The reason for this is because for
those 1-2 frames where the limbs overlap, the viewer's eyes register that
as a lack of movement, causing it to look like a pop as the limbs separate.

The second way to get a pop is from two limbs moving and either one or
both of them "swapping places". For example, let's say that you have two
hands moving. As the right hand moves through the shot, the left hand
moves into where the right one was, causing the hands to "swap" so that
it looks like the right hand hasn't moved at all. This is again similar
to the first issue, but the difference is that the limbs don't have to
cross over each other, but are instead moving into the others place.

The best way to avoid either of these is to make sure that when your
limbs are moving, one or both don't end up in the others previous
position within a span of a few frames.

That's about all I have for this week. Thank you for taking the time
to read my post. I hope it's been helpful, and as always, if you have any
comments, questions or suggestions, you're more than welcome to send
either Beau or me a message on AM.

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