Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Carbunkle 4 - Jasper - The Big Sleep - Bob

The system I designed in the 80s to try to improve limited TV animation was dependent upon having strong layout poses where we could control the visual acting of the characters. Before Ren and Stimpy, the overseas studios would take these poses and basically time them evenly from one to the next - which caused the poses to swim past each other, so then I started adding longer holds just so you could see each pose before registering the next one.
Layout pose above.

When we did the pilot for Ren and Stimpy we animated the whole thing in North America - between Spumco and Carbunkle, which gave us more control over the timing of the poses. This scene was animated by Bob Jaques and he used a variety of timing techniques to emphasize the layouts and the story. First, Ren turns his head fairly evenly as he starts talking. There is no formulaic antic/overshoot because it is a slow move and doesn't require one.

Here's another layout pose below. Ren is calmly speaking.

"Hey Jasper, where's Phil?"When Jasper starts speaking, the only action is his dialogue mouths. His head is held. "I told ya, they put him to..."
Then he pops into this Kirk Douglas expression...
"Sleep!"
When he pops back to the first pose, his head squashes for a frame and his nose and ears drag.
Back to the layout.

Now Ren speaks again, only this time with more energy, so he does a slight antic first.
From there he goes up into an extreme past the pose where he will settle into. "Soo...
and then his hand does a semi-circle action as it settles into ...Wake him up!"
...the final pose
Now Jasper leans forward softly to tell something to Ren.


"You don't wake up..."
Ren's head pans to the left slowly...
Jasper's eyes accent, looking at camera.
He pops to another pose and continues dialogue...
Then into another key layout pose "From the...""
Bob continued the action by having Jasper turn his head slightly away from camera... "Big"
Then he animates into this throbbing skull pose.and continues down very slightly in a moving hold... "Sleep"
and snaps back to the first pose...

His tongue comes out after the pop, which smoothes out the action.

Having all this variety of timing makes the scene seem more alive than if the same timing formula was used to connect each successive pose. These variations aren't at random either. You can tell that Bob really planned out the whole scene and customized each action to make the points of the story and the characters' emotions come across.

http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/spumco/RenStimpy/1BHB/BobJasperBigSleep.mov

23 comments:

Alex I.R., Esq. said...

so, how would you know how many inbetweens would you know to put in, if starting a scene like this new?
It's hard for me to time animation; it will either go too fast or too choppy.

JohnK said...

You can count them in the quicktime clips.

SimonB said...

Hey John how much do you plan your layouts to the music you are going to use? Do you know what music you are going to use before you start layouts or do you fit the music to the final animation timing? Thanks

JohnK said...

some of both.

SimonB said...

Thanks for the constantly inspirational posts I greatly appreciate them!You are providing an awesome service for the animation community.

Trevor Thompson said...

How would you do this differently today?

- trevor.

Shawn Dickinson said...

Love it!

Niki said...

Man, you really know how to get people excited to work!

Ryan G. said...

This is great.

drawingtherightway said...

When you were figuring out the timing of this scene, did you have to use a metronome or did you use a different method? I'm not even sure what a metronome is or how it's used, I've only heard that they are used for animation.

JohnK said...

I would do rough timing on the storyboard, but Bob did the detailed timing that I'm talking about in the post.

Chip Butty said...

Contrasting the dramatic acting poses and the Milt Gross expression within a few seconds is so funny!

Alex I.R., Esq. said...

OK: Richard William's Survival Guide not-withstanding, what is a good source for one to go and learn the ways to time out animation for photography-readiness?

tobor68 said...

hi john,

is there a dope sheet for this animation-either yours or bob's?

also, i find i can't access the cartoonthrills.org links. i get a page load error.

keep up the good work.

Ahahnah said...

I like the longer holds on each of the poses, the clear silhouettes, the abstract background that moves the eye into the composition, the unsettling music, the voice acting, and the characters reactions to each other. Jaspers reactions are hilarious. You can really see him react and then contemplate Ren's cluelessness. Jasper is contemplating the "big sleep" inside his head when he says it.

electrohermit said...

JohnK -- I'd love to know/steal how you work lines and layers in flash. Have you posted about this before? I digged around, didn't see much.

btw... As my first post I feel compelled to let you know -- way back about 1992 with a college roomy -- I was laughing so hard at "In the Army" I literally crawled out of the room on my stomach in tears gasping desperately for air. I've never laughed so hard before or since and I'm sure R&S has had an effect on my being a cartoonist/animator today. Just a little nostalgic cheese for ya...

Owen said...

Great stuff John!

I love looking at these frame by frame!

Dunka!

Paul B said...

GREAT POST JOHN!

I have a little off topic question

what do you think about the work of Tom Richmond? Specially his caricatures

i've seen a manual of him in Shane Glines Blog

PAul.

Michelle Klein-Hass said...

Have you heard from Jim Smith lately? He's sort of dropped off the face of the Earth and I'm worried.

Professor_chai said...

That sideways mouth is the best! What a terrible subject matter for dogs to discuss! The poor lil' fellas.

Rick Roberts said...

I like how Jasper just reverts back to his retarted Milt Gross look after talking with Ren.

Sven Hoek said...

Limited animation?!?! Geez that's a lot of work.

I cannot imagine how much work it would take to bring full animation to your style. Wow, imagine that. All done in north america too.

Could you fathom how much it would ocst to do full animation here now. Yikes.

Does anyone do full animation in the US these days? When was the last time?

I bet it would cost a fortune.

Sven Hoek said...

Oh my god electrohermit, I did the exact same thing when I saw Space Madness and Fire Dogs. Its the only time in my life I have fallen to the floor laughting at anything.

Hey, I always meant to thank you for that John K. No one else has ever made me laugh as hard as you have.