Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Cycles - Research

In animation, cycles tend to be associated mostly with walk and run-cycles, but they are used for other movements as well. A cycle is a certain movement that is repeated many times, with the last image looping back to the first, to give the impression of a continuous movement. The repeat pattern can be linear, i.e 1-2-3-1-2-3, etc, or reversed, i.e 1-2-3-2-1, etc. The use of cycles is very important in "limited animation," which is animation that makes use of various stylised elements to lower production time and cost, in comparison with more keyframe-heavy animation (for example Walt Disney's short cartoons from the 1930s and 40s) The reduced number of inbetweens means the animators have less to draw. Overall, use of cycles and other limited animation techniques reduces cost and time to create what can still be seen as high-quality animation.

Below is an example of some character movement cycles, taken from "Animation 1: Learn to Animate Cartoons Step by Step (Cartooning, Book 1)" by Preston J. Blair:

Use of cycles, amongst other time-saving techniques of limited animation, does not necessarily reduce the overall quality of the finished animation. Aesthetically, it merely adds a different stylised element to an animation than there would be with a more time consuming approach.

Take the below video for example, a Max Fleischer Popeye cartoon from the 1930s - a lot of use of animation cycles can be seen in this (for example the snoring scenes at the beginning, the sleepwalking movement and various elements from the fighting scene) But the quality of animation is still high and it is still entertaining and interesting to watch:

Further examples of use of cycles, this time in a more modern animation:


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Principle Examples

Here is an animated music video I found, which I think uses a lot of animation principles in a really simple but effective way. In this animation I can see examples of follow-through and overlapping action, slow in and slow out, arcs,  secondary action, exaggeration, solid drawing and timing...So I thought it would be useful to share on this principles blog!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Squash and Stretch - Initial Research

Examples of squash and stretch:

Here I have compiled a few examples of how squash and stretch can work to help create the illusion of reality, a slightly exaggerated effect that helps to create much more vibrant and believable animation. It can also be used, especially in shows such as Ren and Stimpy for comic effect, to help exaggerate the physical punchline of a gag.





Examples of how a lack of squash and stretch creates flat and more rigid animation:


Hanna Barbera's The Flintstones uses a limited animation technique that lacks the squash and stretch of other cartoons of the time, and Hanna and Barbera's early work on Tom and Jerry. This creates much more rigid and less believable animation, however still suits the stylised, graphic approach.

 Family Guy uses a similar limited approach to animation, and even here, with a long action sequence, the lack of squash and stretch is very evident. In terms of the action, the lack of squash and stretch results in a less engaging fight sequence, as the effect of acts such as punches seem to pull less weight and feel much less powerful.


Exaggeration is one of my favourite principles of animation as i believe that it adds more personality to the characters and makes them more interesting to watch.

Exaggeration, in a classical 'Disney' sense is the over emphasis of certain actions to give a greater impact whilst still keeping them realistic.

Disney's Monty from 'The Country Cousin' (1936)
This example is very effective in helping us empathise with the characters, making them more realistic and human like. However exaggeration in animation has been over-exaggerated itself and characters can be distorted along with the storyline, making the whole product more surreal.

A good example of this is John Kricfalusi's Ren and Stimpy, where a lot of the characters are broken and stretched beyond belief along with the surreal and exaggerated stories. Personally I find this type of exaggeration is the most playful and intriguing.

I decided to sketch out a couple of my own examples that show my use of this principle. They are only basic sketches and I would like to continue my own exploration into this principle further.