Sunday, August 05, 2007

Animation Course Level 1, Lesson 1 - The Beat - Kali Does Bosko

Did you ever wonder how animators got this good in such a short time? This is 1942. only a few years later than rubber hose animation. Who wouldn't love to be able to do this?

Coal Black, Bicycle

Great animators started simple
40s animators were so great because they learned to animate like this below. They started with really simple character designs and animated to musical beats.
Bosko Dance

Early sound cartoons moved to musical beats. Here Bosko is bouncing up and down on a 12X beat.

Every 12 x, he squashes down. The lowest position - with his knees bent- happening on the beats. That means he bounces twice every second. A second is 24 film frames.
This is a 24x cycle. He is waving his arms left and right. Each wave is 12x to go with the beat.

I'm convinced that the quickest way to learn the basics of animation is to start by animating fundamental animation techniques using rubber hose designs. I mean Hell, it worked for all the greatest animators in our history. It could work for you too and you the advantage because you have their stuff to study. They didn't have any reference. They were making it up from scratch through trial and error.

But they were very logical and methodical about it too.

1) Animate Simple Characters - why?

If you are teaching yourself to animate and you start with hard to draw characters, you are obviously going to slow your learning curve.

The more details your characters have the longer it takes to draw them, and the harder it is to control the details in motion.

Tall characters with long legs are much harder to animate than short characters with small proportions.

You want to learn basic motion when you are starting out, so keep your characters very simple (and rounded) and you will learn much faster and better.

2) Animate to beats

Animating to a regular beat teaches you:

Rhythmic timing: it feels better- imagine a song with no beat, it wouldn't be much fun. It would meander.

General timing - you get used to what different amounts of frames feel like - what 12x feels like as opposed to 8x.

Classic animators and directors were like drummers. They automatically thought of their scenes as rhythms and that helped make their timing so crisp.

Kali's First Bosko StudyIf you wanna learn animation fundamentals, you can copy these animated cycles and shoot them, like Kali is doing.
As you copy them, analyze what you are doing, so that you can apply general techniques to other scenes. Count how many frames it takes to do each action.
Note the wave action that the arms are doing. This concept can be used in infinite variety.
Note in these bounces, that there are less drawings going down into the accent, and more coming up. That is what gives the beats a noticeable accent. If the timing was even, it would just seem to float up and down. It would be mushy.

Kali animating:

Compare the Bosko animation to the McKimson animation from Coal Black. The fundamentals are the same.This is animated on an 8x beat-the music is faster than the Bosko scene. The accents are stronger too.
Every second beat is accented stronger. 8,8,8,8 etc.
Her right foot moves down faster than her left foot (the one closest to us). That foot moves at a more evenly spaced timing as it circles the pedals.

This scene is way more layered than the Bosko animation, but it's based on the exact same concepts. Learn your fundamentals and soon you will be able to apply them to more complex scenes.


Learn to animate to beats using simple cycles and simple circular characters. This is a good first step towards understanding motion and rhythms.

Scenes like this are the foundations of the American style of animation. Snow White, Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Gerald McBoingBoing... all these different styles are built upon the same foundations.

There are 3 cycles in the Bosko clip we put up. Copy them all and stick with this free course and you will see yourself advance past your more stubborn peers in no time.

If you post your tests on your sites, I'll link to them in another post.

Once I have 20 people who have copied this Bosko animation, I will post lesson 2. Rubber Hose Walks.

What basic concepts you learned from this lesson:




Wave actions