I have been teaching the “Advanced Acting” class for animationmentor.com this semester. There have been a lot of requests from students regarding my work-flow, so I figured the best way to teach them is to show them.
My process begins with a rough 2D blocking pass. The quick turn-around of 2D sketches help me figure out the staging of the characters in the shot, nail down the major storytelling poses and play with the timing of the transitions between the poses in less than half the time it would take with a 3D model.
Given the time constraints of the Q&A session, I had to find a quick piece of dialogue that:
– tells a story
– has context
– has clear “subtext” (what is the character really saying/thinking??)
I found a charming little piece of dialogue from Wallace & Gromit’s “A Grand Day Out”. I always tell, my students NOT to work with dialogue from an animated feature because the voices are usually very recognizable. This could cause the audience to think of the original performance rather than the one you’ve created. Since this was meant to be a work-flow demonstration, I made an exception. This was created with the “Pencil” App for the Mac. It doesn’t have the greatest drawing utility, but it gets the job done. This is how I pitch my ideas to the directors before animating anything on the model:
Now I’ll explain my thought process behind the acting choices. It seems as though the character is having somewhat of an “AHA” moment. I could have simply started with the pose I used on “everybody”, but there would be no contrast to help sell the “AHA”. I figured the best way to push the contrast in that moment is to start the character deep in thought and not overdo the “AHA”, but push it enough to where you see a clear change in his attitude. After the “AHA” moment, I wanted him to become lost in deep thought while gazing up at the moon. The subtext I used to help me come up with this acting choice was; “I wonder if the moon REALLY IS made of cheese?”.
That’s all for now. I will be taking this through to completion, so I’ll be posting the results of each step as I go.