Will Eisner passes away

http://www.willeisner.com/ Most awesome genius comic book artist Will Eisner has passed away. He leaves behind a treasure trove of graphic novels and learning materials for the world to enjoy. I found his book “Comics and Sequential Art” when I was a student and it influenced me strongly. I admire his approach and dedication to his art and credit him with creating the graphic novel as we know it today. Thank you Will Eisner.

happy accidents

I was talking to an animator at work, whose work I admire very much. She always manages bring appeal and charm to her shots. We were talking about happy accidents. Basically she told me in very clear terms that she does not accept happy accidents in her work. The animation has to turn out to be exactly what she had visualized, till such point she will continue to work on her shot. This topic came up because there was change up in her shot that I liked and she said she was going to change it because it did not come out the way she wanted it to be. It was an entertaining moment and she could have kept it and gone home but she wanted to get what she originally planned.

There have been times when I have pushed a curve this way or that and have liked the results and kept it. I think an accident should be just that, an accident. One should not go searching for it. 🙂 Experimentation is good and is a part of a lifelong process of learning. But as far as possible an animator should try and plan out as much appeal and charm he or she can before hand and then strive to execute that, rather than throw a bunch a curves together and hope something emerges from the chaos.


Eric Darnell ( co-director of Madagascar) was talking about commitment by an actor to a gesture. If the actor is not completely commited to a gesture it looks like – well just that – uncommited. As animators we have a pick a gesture an go with it. Every single attibute at our disposal – composition, squash, stretch, eyes, line of action, timing etc should go into reinforce that gesture. Commitment to communicate a specific idea and to do it in a specific way.

physics of emotion

In reality a ball takes a certain amount of time to fall from a certain height. This time is the same whether it is a tennis ball or a cannon ball. But do we really want this to be case? This is where emotional physics comes into place. What world do the chracters inhabit ? – the mental and physical world. Is this a character that will need a 4 frame recovery after a jump or a 9 frame recovery? This is a decision that I feel most animators make instinctively. OR they talk about it in terms of believability or acting. No matter what terms are used it is a decision that every animator has to make.

cutting on an action

Some tips I got when I was trying to continue an action between two shots. ( in my case turning)

It is OK to cheat.

Try and have similar silhouettes between the last and the first poses.

It is very important to follow the same arc of motion as the previous shot. Like say if an arm is awooping down in the previous shot have it swoop up continuing the arc on the next shot. ( this is where you’ll have to cheat.)

No need to be exact, have some purposeful mistakes. If it is too exact it might look like a pop.

On a side note: Unless a shot absolutly demands it, DO NOT have the character start and stop at the head and tail of shot. It looks very odd if all shots in a sequence are like that. And there is a tendency to do that in CG. Animate through the cut, it feels much better.

2d nature of things

Even tho we use 3d models to animate, the end result is flat. Even though the pose looks good in the regular 3d viewer, the animation is not strong till it looks good in the camera view. I have seen some animators really scale arms and legs many times over to get it to “look right” in the camera view. So tip of the the moment – camera is all that matters.

cutting tip

when u cut in between shots, it looks nice when u cut on an action. In animation there is a tendency to start motion at the first frame and end it at the last frame. So something to keep in mind when u animate a shot – unless it is required to start and stop, on a cut keep the motion alive. it add that extra bit of realism. Tip from rex.