Pushing It

I'm teaching my first 100% online class at the moment which is interesting, and means that the issue of teaching timing has come around again a bit sooner than usual. Also first year students are animating a character dancing and 1 or 2 second year students have started moving things around in 3D.

The thing I have been musing about is the idea of pushing the timing to see what you can get away with. Its funny but most students have a tendency to be conservative when it comes to timing. Id like to try and introduce the idea of BREAKING THE SCENE.

As a student you're in a unique position where its OK to fail (at first anyway). Some big budget studios manage a work place where you're encouraged to experiment, but the sad truth is that in most commercial situations people will just want what you know will work straight away. So why not push the timing in the scene to breaking point while its OK to do so, make it faster in the fast bits and slower in the slow bits and see how far you can go before the scene won't read any more. Then just come back a little and find that line.
Get outside of your comfort zone, go where its scary (or where you are scared what people will think when they see the test). Here is the great thing, the same principle can be applied to all aspects of the animation process, push that pose, that expression, that line of action, PUSH IT ALLL!

I dare ya!

By way of an example I offer this frame by frame breakdown of Hammy from Over The Hedge, and he just happens to be running around on a big grid patters so we can track his movement from frame to frame. Weather you liked the movie or not, you would have to admit Hammy was a pretty entertaining character, the extreme way he moved was a big part of that. I bet when they were animating him there were lots of discussions about how fast they could get away with moving him. Its a perfect example

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