Monday, November 03, 2008

Head Bobs Using 3 Key Poses

Ed Love usually uses 3 rather than 2 poses for his head bobs. One in the middle, another tilted down and one tilted up and back.
He uses the same basic principle as in the last post. He hits the different poses on accents in the dialogue. The goal is the same in limited animation as in full animation - to use poses to help accentuate the meaning in the dialogue track. Sometimes Ed uses more than 3 key poses. You can use as many as you have time and money for. In limited animation the idea is to use a few poses and animate in and out of them while varying the timings between the poses.The first thing an animator should do - whether he is doing limited or full animation - is to listen very carefully to the dialogue track. Close your eyes and hear the accents and timing. Then customize your drawings and timing to match what the actor gave you.

Don't rely on some abstract formula for timing. Use what the actor gave you - then be creative on top of it.

In the clip, Fred says:

"Awwww It's My job."

In this sentence, Ed doesn't use any inbetweens. He just pops to different keys on each word, while animating the mouths to the dialogue. This gives the accents in the dialogue some punch.

(This file is large, so it'll take a couple minutes for it to load - sorry.Technical problems)

Squash and Stretch your keys to make the action have life.

One way Ed makes his head bobs look smoother and "fuller" than some of the other animators, is by squashing and stretching the different head poses.

When tilting the head up, he stretches the front of the face up, and squashes the back of the head and neck down.

He does the opposite for the tilting the head down pose.

Changing the shape of Fred's head logically makes it not look like a cut out of one head position rotating up and down (like most Flash and TV animation today.)

Here is a longer sentence. Ed uses the same key poses, but also an inbetween this time going in and out of the poses.

He varies how long it takes to get to each pose according to how the dialogue sounds. If he used the same amount of inbetweens each time, or held the keys the same amount each time it would get monotonous really quick.

In all he probably only has 5 total head drawings in there, 3 keys 2 inbetweens. Sometimes he uses more.

Like I said, you can use as many keys as you want or can afford. The more poses you use, the more full it will be. The main thing is to make them fit the sound of the dialogue. Follow the natural accents. Draw what your ear tells you to, not what the animation formula does.

Here are a couple more Ed Love scenes:

Next post, I'll show you my variations of Ed's technique.