2. Animation


Of all the fields in question, animation clearly has the most history and development in the importance of the spaces in between. While the key frames are important, it is in the actions between the keyframes, the tweens, that really give the animation personality, character and a sense of life. The animator must consider a wide range of variables aside from merely the path a character takes from point A to point B. The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation is a classic which establishes 12 basic principles of animation. These include squash & stretch, anticipation, staging, straight ahead and pose to pose animation, follow through and overlapping action, slow-out and slow-in, arcs, secondary action, timing, exaggeration, solid drawing, and appeal (Lightfoot, “12 Principles).

Of these twelve steps its important to note that only the last two out of the twelve, solid drawing and appeal, relate specifically to the the aesthetic visual and technical representation of a character. Many people think that character design is the most important aspect of a cartoon. But in reality it’s the sense of life that comes from the way the character gets from one point to the next (in addition to the story). This explains why the first 10 principles relate to the details of movement and timing which are all about giving the character a unique personality when getting from one point to the next (see Fig. 2).Without considering these details the animation would be lifeless.

Walk Cycle

Fig. 2. Williams, Richard. The Animator's Survival Kit.

Animation’s fundamental principle of the nuanced tween can extend to 3D, non-linear, and tangible systems as a way to fully appreciate the potential for life in the in between space. But animation itself is still quite passive, one sided, and allows the viewer to only observe a preset narrative from a screen. While there is life, it is still heavily scripted. There is little room for interaction, improvisation or interpretation.


§ 5 Responses to 2. Animation"

  • Jayne says:

    There are examples of some animators beginning to open up their work and releasing to the world, I think as an attempt to free the animation from it’s traditionally preset form and begin to allow for improvisation by other people.

    Beeple makes all of his Cinema 4D project files available for download, increasing the pool of resources for others to learn from and interact with in a completely different way than just watching the compete video.

    Nina Paley Released her animated film Sita Sings the Blues under a Creative Commons license, giving people legal permission to reuse and remix her work.

    Of course there are also people who don’t wait for permission. Pogo became a YouTube star for his Alice remix. Though it’s clear that in some of his more recent work, such as Upular, his remix is being adopted by the company as viral marketing.

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