Monday 13 November 2006

Animation Lecture by Shawn Kelly + Delio Tramontozzi

Shawn Kelly + Delio Tramontozzi Animation Lecture:

at Ringling School of Art + Design on April 9th, 2004 (Transcribed by: Jeremy Collins)

-Carefully choose gestures.
-Gestures should hit on vowels.
-Choose 1 or 2 of the most important poses and make sure they carry emotion and read.
-Avoid clich├ęs at all costs. (i.e. using the first pose that comes to mind.)
-Watch out for “showing” in your animations instead of “doing”.
-Use gestures from NOW, not 1950.


-Essential but commonly overlooked in animation.
-They have a wide range of motion and “emotion” in them.
-The shoulders often lead many actions.
-When your arm is completely extended your shoulders touch your ears. Their range is very wide.


-Computers inbetween with math, not with the principals of animation.
-Specify exactly what the pose needs.
-You must define the timing from ears to toes in your animation.
-“The computer is the dumbest inbetweener there is”.
-Watch for twinning in your poses.
-Try working with curves other than the default splines to develop your inbetweening.
-Spend the most time on the first post. It is the most telling in your whole animation.
-Use all of the controllers provided. There should be animation on every possible curve.
-Nothing truly is ever at rest.


-The ocular muscles usually move before anything else. Brows lead the action and the mouth typically comes last.
-Avoid changing facial expressions in the middle of big movements. Do it before or after.
-There shouldn’t be any expression changes at all in the first or last 6 frames of an animation.


-Start with the core of the motion and move outward from there.
-Arms and often legs move in figure 8 patterns.
-When in FK, do the arms last. The motion of the arms is almost always dictated by the torso.
-Be aware of the orientation of the wrist to the elbow.
-Apply the waves principal (add overlap to all joints.)


-Plan when and why your characters eyes dart.
-Too many eye darts = spastic characters.
-Allow the eyes time to focus on the objects they’re pointing at.
-Unanimated eyes = doll eyes.
-The eyes always convey the emotion and truth of a character’s performance.


-Blinks are never random.
-Plan when and why your character is blinking.
Convey a shift in thought.
Sell the emotional state of a character.
We blink to change a shift in thought or emotion.
When we blink we are “cutting the film of life”. Our eyes are the cameras.
Blinks always occur on quick head turns.


-The jaw doesn’t always open on every syllable or word.
-Get a mirror and keep it by your desk. Place your hand in a stationary position under your jaw and feel how many times it opens and closes per line of dialogue.

Feature Animation Demo Reel Tips:

  1. Keep it under 2.5 minutes.

  2. LABELS!

  3. Always use a NEW VHS tape. (Always label the spine!)

  4. Include a log sheet (breakdown sheet). Show thumbnails of the shot on the log and mention what you contributed to each shot.

  5. Include a resume and cover letter. Always spell check these two docs.

  6. Only use your best stuff.

  7. Short film? Show your best shots first. Include the full film at the end.

  8. Tailor your reel to the studio and position your applying for.

  9. No offensive content.

  10. Avoid cycles in your reel.

  11. Reel Order:

-Second best shot – FIRST.
-Weakest shot (but still good work) – MIDDLE
-Best shot – LAST
-Full short film (if applicable) – at the end.

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