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...
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.