Animation prep process!

bridgioto:

I thought it might be interesting, if anyone was curious, to post some of the process that went into the short animation project I did at the Gobelins summer program! Apologies for the photos of stuff, the animation paper was a bit big to fit in my scanner u___u

We started off with an assignment: “someone, a coffee, and Paris.” We all had to choose a character and execute a short, 5-second scene around that theme, ideally expressing a bit about the character of the people of Paris.

The very very first step, after picking my character, was to do lots of studies of existing drawings! Roger was a Milt Kahl character, and copying his drawings was an education in itself. One thing helpful at this stage was to be looking for the volumes in the drawings - rather than copying the final contour, trying to reconstruct the process by which that final contour was found, building up from a rough sketch of the volumes.image

Around this time, I filmed a bunch of reference of myself. I had a general idea of the sort of posing and feeling I wanted - Roger is the perfect distracted musician, and I wanted to play around with some moody and introspective stuff, especially anything that would provide fun hand poses. After taking reference, I started sketching some studies of the poses I saw in the video, seeing if a Parisian story could arise from any of them:

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I started to find some concrete little stories, and explored them with some thumbnails. One that I liked was a very focused Roger getting pulled out of his work by a passing sunbeam, and stopping to enjoy the moment. This would’ve been a much longer and slower scene though, and I traded it out for a shorter and simpler one where Roger, absorbed in a book, misses the table when he puts down his coffee, breaking the cup and ending up a bit embarrassed:

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Once I had that, I went back and filmed more reference based on that second set of thumbnails! From that reference, I did further studies of poses, especially working out how the hand would pose and flow, and feeling out the rhythm of the scene:image

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This next bit actually came after I’d done some early key pose pencil tests. Those tests didn’t feel as good as I wanted, so I broke everything back down to stick figures and tried to work out the poses again:

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Around this time I also did a layout sketch with a rough background, just to make sure I had a good grasp on where the character was in space:

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Throughout this whole process, I got a lot of really valuable feedback from the workshop teachers. Their critique and advice helped me push the whole scene to a readable place. You can see in a lot of the thumbnails that my poses were just halfway there - especially the coffee sip pose, where I actually had the coffee cup lost in the silhouette of Roger’s head. Thanks to the teachers, the poses I ended up with had much clearer silhouettes. If you look in the stick figure thumbnails, the coffee sip by then had the cup of coffee framed in silhouette with the head in profile - much better! This is how it turned out:

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Overall, it was a great learning experience, and animating on paper again was amaaaazing :D I hope that sharing this stuff is helpful to anyone out there!

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