Bobby 'BOOM' Beck (Animator Pixar Studios)
Moving holds, thoughts on the character to be animated, making subtle animation interesting, blocking, rhythm of dialogue:
" 1. Moving holds? advance techiques. In all the pixar stuff the moving hold are excellent what advance techiques do you use? do you have some sort of noise on the bones?
First off, Animation is observation. If you are doing a shot where you really want to drive home a single idea we sometimes push that moment into a "POSE." that pose then needs to stay alive and we call this a moving hold. A moving hold is just as hard as any other part of your animation, if not more!
Before actually getting into the computer and posing things out I have a 90% clear idea of what I want to do already. I do this by "PLANNING" in depth most EVERY scene I tackle. Why do I do this? It saves me tons of time and sometimes at work we dont' have a lot of time and we need to be clear, communitcate the main story points, and get it done in a timly manner. Planning is the backbone of animation (for me).
The Reason I say this is that when I get to a point where I'm blocking my scene out I will already know which parts of the body will "land" first and possibly overshoot and settle. What's happening in the eyes? They eyes are key in any medium to close up shot. Especially for keeping your character alive.
So for moving holds I'd say, in my planning a lot of that stuff becomes clear to me via video reference (What am I doing in this moment? A subtle head move? What are my eyes doing, what are my hips doing???) all these questions become clear with observation and study.
2. What is your thought process before you animate your character? I.e What set of questions do you ask your self before you start on a acting piece?
#1 is "WHO IS THIS CHARACTER?" You have to know who your charcter is. That's not just to say it and dismiss it. If you are trying to convince people that your character has ANY kind of personality you have to BELIEVE that this character exists. You create a back story. You give your character an Age, a history.
When I was developing Nemo's character I made a little web page for him and in one of those areas I had a "character description" section that went over how old Nemo was, what he thought about his father and himself, what is struggles were internally and how he would approach certain situations. This stuff is key for animators. You have to imagine your character as truly being.
In "Finding Nemo" I had a HUGE BOOOM revelation and I called this "Animating from the INSIDE out." My character is not just some spans of geometry. My character has a heart, has flesh, has a brain, thinks on their own, etc. AfterI would put my blocking in there shortly thereafter I would think, okay, this character has ALWAYS done this, they have always moved in this way, They are living this moment of their life RIGHT NOW. I think this kind of thinking has happened over many years of thinking and animating. But the sooner anyone can start thinking about Animation like this the sooner their animation willl become "ALIVE" and not just a series of movements.
3. How do you make Subtle animation Intesting?
You Observe. Subtle animation is VERY interesting. Most interesting in the study of the movement. I think the final result is largely subliminal (things like subtext, etc.) but it is in the study and the Intent behind the characters thoughts that bring about this "subtle acting."
4. Blocking? you block out in stepped right but how far do you let it go untill you start to convert the to smoothed curves? do you block out facial animation also? can you show us a good example of one of your block outs?
I keep things stepped for a long time. One animator put it really well (Quote of Mike Venturini)."As soon as I put things on smooth I'm letting the computer do things for me and I want to make sure I'm winning the battle." This is put super well. A lot of times I won't convert to smooth at all, I convert it to linear because I have a key on every frame. But as soona s I feel that all I need is a straight inbetween I will then convert that section to spline or linear. But sometimes due to time constraints I convert it too soon into spline because I have to get the shot out.
Facial animation I block out with Poses. I get the key poses in there and then I usually work that area more "Straight Ahead."
As for an example I am currently working on a web site that should have some good examples of this in my work.
5. In your dialougue acting pieces what techiques do you use to break down the audio into different beats? and as Keith reffers to as thematic moments?
Shawn Kelly is the master of this. There are so many ways to break down an audio track. But you must first ask yourself "Why does this shot exist?" "What is the point of this shot?" Once you know that it is key to listen to the track about 500 BILLION times and listen for key beats. Sometimes those beats are in the quiet moments. Those quiet moments can actually be the BREAD AND BUTTER of the whole scene. But it takes a kean ear to listen for those beats. Then, in the end it's all about the choices you make (Acting choices, posing choices, timing choices etc) Freaking Booom O matic!
Sure there are natural Peaks in the audio track. Those tend to be the places where we choose to put a "Drawing" or Image/Pose whatever. I call these Drawings. It is key to SIMPLIFY what you are hearing make it clear and easy to read. If you hit EVERY beat in a line you will kill the audience with too much information. This is a common tendency with new animators. Too much too complicated. Just keep it simple and clear and the audience will thank you for it! "