Ian's Rambles - Line of Action (LOA)

Was that a groan I herd from all the Southbank second year animation students? The newer first years students haven't been subjected to it YET, but I talk about LOA a lot, often, repeatedly, even continuously. But its really important people!

So I thought I'd do a tutorial about one of the many ways you can use line of action to give yourself extra insight into how your character is posed. Specifically how you can control the level of tension in a pose by thinking about the relationship between the characters extremities and the LOA.

Using Line of Action to add or decrease tension in a pose from laceyi on Vimeo.

For our current first year students this can serve as a preview of what the weeks ahead hold for you.

Second year students may be tempted to think you have herd it all before, but maybe you could do with a reminder. You're working with new mediums a lot this year, the temptation can be to let the new way of animating be a distraction from the fundamentals. The obvious example is 3D, but as I wandered around the stop mo class the other day and I couldn't help but notice that many of the characters you were making and posing were kind of stiff and straight. Aardmans stop mo character Gromit is one of the best possible examples of how much emotion you can convey with the LOA, a simple slump of the shoulders with the head tipping forward and you can't help but get a lump in your throat. Its universal.

I continued on with the poses a bit after recording so you can hopefully see the kind of progression achievable if you keep refining a pose this way.


Alonso said...

Interesting idea: flow WITH vs. Crossing Against, Y or T. Thanks for sharing that (especially since I'm around the world from you and probably not going to be in your class ;)

Makes me think of this post http://sevencamels.blogspot.com/2006/11/things-they-dont-teach-in-art-school-4.html on Mark Kennedy's blog, about really letting the line of action be super clear on 1 part of the body, and then using the other half to make it feel like a volumetric body.

Also makes me think of http://www.jasonryananimation.com/JRA_index.php because all of his free rampup tutorials (email him if you aren't on the mailing list) he always tends to start with a stick figure so he can focus on line of action to solve the performance.

Anyway, thanks.

Chetan Trivedi said...

hey .. awesome blog u hav here Ian.. m just a student..learnin animation thru the internet n guys like jason ryan n keith...
loved ur overlap tutorial wit hibiscus (although i cudnt see the flipbook video, :( for some strange reason it wudnt buffer..)
nice stuff.. thanks for this.. something ild like to ask you though, i remember in Keith VTS on poses.. he brings up some old disney cells (mostly gleane keane sketches if not all) .. in which he shows that everythin flows towards a point where the animator wants the eyes to go to.. u made a T shape with the shoulder to create tension.. n it worked too.. now if uld see that VTS from keith or sketch of the Beast from Beauty n the Beast, keith points out how the limbs work wit the flow n namke an arc..
wud like ur word on this..
thanx .. i hope u keep doin more tutorials n goodies..

Ian said...

Hi Chetan Trivedi

Sorry if its taken me a while to answer.

I would say the key thing here is context. Many of those Glen Keane drawing (man they are good) are individual sketches, set up to show off how good the character can look. In that case you want everything to flow so it makes sense. Most illustrations (still single images) are about cool looking characters that flow, and so is a lot of animation, but because animation needs to change over time in order to create drama you need to contrast

In animation you need to be mindful of how things will change over time. So lets say that you wanted to show a character becoming more relaxed. If you make sure the relaxed key flows then go back and make sure the previous key frame does not (maybe with a T shape) then the change in the characters attitude will be stronger. How much change there is (and how fast it happens) will influence the amount of impact. When teaching I use the expression Change=Impact all the time.

In my opinion this is where the real creativity and fun is in animation. Animation principles are pretty much rules, you get em right or not and I guess you get a chance to break them very very rarely. But considering how you are going to use the tools to affect the audience with change is where you can make it different every time.

I think of it like being the conductor of an orchestra, two different conductors can and probably will make the same piece of music sound quite different because they choose when it is loud, soft, fast or slow (using change). Just the same you could give two animators the same storyboard but get two very different scenes back from them.

hope this helps :)

Chetan Trivedi said...

Hi Ian
Thanx for the mail and the encouragement.
Its good that u took your time to reply, because i probably wouldnt hav got it into my head had u replied back then.

Now after reading your reply i can totally see what you mean.
Thanx alot for the video, i almost forgot abt it.
Happy New Year