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.

1MIDDLE...2DOWN - "AWWWWWW" 3 "IT'S 1 "MY" 2"JOB"
(This file is large, so it'll take a couple minutes for it to load - sorry.Technical problems)
http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/HB/Flintstones/itsMyJob.mov


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.

http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/HB/Flintstones/FredSickTired.mov

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:
http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/HB/Yogi/EdLove/RangerBobsLOve.mov



http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/HB/Yogi/EdLove/YogiBobsLove.mov


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

16 comments:

Wes Riojas said...

Awesome lesson. Thank you John.

:: smo :: said...

Hey John,

This is a really good post, thank you!

One of the things that gets people a little tripped up in flash vs [let's just call it...] cel is the concept that the head is an actual symbol that can be physically moved. so instead of drawing that squash/tilt and animator would be more prone to physically rotate the head symbol [i get caught in this too, bad habits] and it looks less natural. the design often lends itself to this too.

I'm a firm believer that with the right character design you could do an early 50's HB style cartoon in flash just like the examples you posted without too much trouble.

Fred and Yogi built for this sort of thing. Looking at Yogi, his collar and tie separate his head from his body so the body can remain still, then on the head turns the tie moves to add that much more depth. but it's just a simple overlay and a couple drawings.

Fred and even Ranger Smith have similar functional designs. i love how the Flintstones deal with walking, with the feet under the loincloth. simple as these cartoons seem a lot of thought was taken not just to make the design appealing but how it would work.

lots of the characters i'm handed to deal with on flash cartoons aren't easy to rotate in space, their elements aren't built thinking about the animation, they're there to look flashy or whatever. the head is thought of as the definitive character head and is generally not to be redrawn. when i get something that allows a bit more leeway i run with it, but I'd really like to shift gears to design and plan a project like these HB cartoons from the get go.

Even between the 2 posts here the Love examples are so much stronger. You can see through his animation that he thought of the head tilt as emphasis and not just "keeping the character alive" so much, and it comes out a lot stronger than the previous example and adds to the expression of the character.

[sorry long comment!]

Chris_Garrison said...

That second Fred clip is a bad link. But it works If you take that period out of the beginning.

I love this lesson on limited animation! I'm excited to see the next post.

Some people really need this. I've been hired by folks in the past who were so thankful for somebody who could limit the number of drawings and work clean, to crank the stuff out. At the time, they were going crazy, because they were surrounded by Disney animators who only knew how to take a few weeks doing a zillion drawings, which all needed to be redrawn, in-betweened, and cleaned up. Everybody should be able to split up the levels and go Yogi, when the situation calls for it. Or when they just want to.

JohnK said...

I fixed the link. Thanks Chris!

Frank Macchia said...

great analysis of this stuff john.
thanks.

i like the emphasis on "squash and stretch keeps it alive"...a lot of flash cartoons DO use the head bob...but its just the same symbol tilting around...without the squash and stretch it looks so robotic.

Wes Riojas said...

I really can't wait to learn how you've adapted this technique John.

I bought season one of the Flinstones several months back for study.

Your post on the head bob is a great catalyst for studying good limited animation. John, I would like to know the top 5 things animators should be studying when watching early HB. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thanks again.

Caleb said...

These lessons are great. Limited animation doesn’t mean they have to talk like sock puppets. Most 3d movies have those sort of stiff but hyper movements that seem to always have the same amount of inbetweens and pose time(not to mention the boring but hyper camera movement). Cartoon directors should understand that there is a level of creativity in the timing that no other medium has. Thanks John.

PCUnfunny said...

This is like a quarter of Ed Love's talent compared to his work for Tex Avery during the forties but still, he put alot into so little. I think limited animation like this once again proves that animation is not alot of drawings, it's humanity. A majority the fully animated Disney movies in the 90's can't compare to this Love scene, that stuff is just stock movement.

Cartoon Crank said...

Why are you glorifying crappy animation? Why study the cartoons that single-handedly ruined animation in this country?

Pete Emslie said...

What's crazy is that it only takes a small amount of time and effort to draw these few head positions from scratch, with squash and stretch to keep it organic. This is why I personally hate Flash TV animation, with the static "symbols". And when they do try to add squash and stretch, it's done by just distorting the damn thing either vertically or horizontally. Don't animators get to DRAW anymore?!! Sheesh!

introvert said...

Another great thought-provoking post.

It shows that quality isn't always about how much work is put into something. It's all about how much thought is put towards the end result.
Putting more work into it just means there is that much more opportunity to put extra thought into the final result, but the work in of itself isn't what produces the quality. It's how and what the work is used to express, that's where the enjoyment comes from. It's the thought that counts.

I could go on forever about how computers fit into all of this, but I'm confident this next sentence will sum it up. Computers are stupid. Just understand this simple truth, and you have a much better chance of giving a computer the kind of work it's best suited at (giving you the time to do the work that requires actual thought).

pappy d said...

caleb:

Do you mean to imply that you prefer this stuff to sock puppets?

Daryl T said...

I have a question. I'm making a studnet film and I have about 20 weeks to produce a 2 minute film from pre to post production. I'm basically doing it myself and I want to do it in traditional 2D. Is it possible and if so how.

Thanks.

Caleb said...

Pappy:

Yes. I'm also implying that sock puppets are better than a lot of modern cartoons with no visual acting. There has been a trend of minimal animation for awhile, which makes HB stuff look amazing. I guess it depends on whose hand is in the sock.

Grant said...

This is such a intresting and detailed post. The amount of little details in these cartoons is incredible, and when it moves it comes alive. This is why I like classic animation so much! I

It's magic!

rodineisilveira said...

Johnny K.,

There are four Yogi Bear episodes avaliable on YouTube (http://youtube.com), which bring the Ed Love's animation. They're the following:

- Spy Guy (http://youtube.com/watch?v=deL5MzkjS1Q)
- Nowhere Bear (http://youtube.com/watch?v=obVBKCF5gXY)
- Yogi in the City (http://youtube.com/watch?v=j-i2BkagAzU)
- Ice Box Raider (http://youtube.com/watch?v=Jpjbkl489yb0)

In all of them you can feel the Ed Love's brilliant animation style, which you admires very much.
Well, that's it!
So long!