Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Zen of 2D

Taking advantage of the term break I went ahead and did this 2D exercise in FlipBook to satisfy my animation itch. I realized something while animating in the old fashioned art of frame by frame, that there is a sense of zen that takes over while I laboriously tried to stay conscious of not repeating the previous drawing (a very easy trap to fall into I found). The realization that I will have to create the next frame from scratch, without even a hint of reference. I mean recreate the model from head to toe, recreate the props in their entirety even though they're not doing much of movement. Just the elation and horror of anticipating a blank page in the next frame is an experience only a 2D animator can appreciate. Flipping back and forth between the blank page and the previous frame just to stay in the flow of the movement, flow of life, the whole experience just forces me completely, my entire body and mind, to surrender to the task at hand. Taking a stretch break from the hand cramp, stiff neck, tight back, all become a hindrance because I did not want to get out of that zen mode. The moment of feeling completely alive while shutting the rest of the world completely out.

In 3D, the environment (props) aren't going anywhere, especially when they're constrained. You don't even have to create the model again. All you're doing is posing the model (puppet) at the established keyframes then tweaking the splines of inbetweens. A moving hold was not a term I recall existed when animating in 2D, but it is absolutely necessary in 3D to cover up the "deadness" ofthe medium.

One last thing this 2D work has done (only 83 frames), is it made me appreciate the amazing draftsmanship of the 2D animators of the past who made the drawings flow so smoothly from frame to frame.

Now, in this particular quick sketch, I took the idea from Disney Animation "The Illusion of Life" where at the top corner of the book is a series of flipbook (not the registered trade mark) drawings of some clips from Disney animation films that I thought would make a good exercise. I realized also that flip book animations do not go by the standard 24fps that film does. 16 frames in a flip book is enough to give an illusion of life. But it took me 83 frames just to make it register in a movie and even then I had to look twice to see what the character had done. It needs a lot of clean up, but it sure taught me a valuable lesson about timing, squash & stretch and spacing.


Heather said...

Hey Dhar,
I have a question... I'm a little confused on how the registration process is suppose to work for Maya Springboard students. I logged into the AM site and read all of the orientation pages...and all I found out was that the first day of class was on Monday.
Do you sign up for class Q and A hours then or before?
Heather Kilber
Thanks a ton!

Dhar said...

You don't sign up for the Q&A, it will show up in the Q&A tab, it'll say something like Q&A scheduled tonight at blah, blah, blah. There will be a button that says "Join chat". About a half hour before the schedule, go to the Q&A tab, perform a camera test and then join the chat. You'll hopefully see a couple students there that you can chat with until the mentor shows up.

Heather said...

Thanks Dhar... this helps!

andrewcg said...

That looks fantastic Dhar! If only I could do that. Oh, I'm apprentice from Hash forum btw. Keep up the good work! :)

Robert said...

Cute clip! Animated characters should not be allowed to have umbellas. They just get into trouble with them!

Good luck with Q1!