Time to Think

This is a great article from Spanish born Pixar animator Carlos Baena about using timing to imply that a character is thinking. Its one of a selection of Tricks and Tips to be found on his web site. Check out his Personal Work section too, where you will find some awesome showreel examples.


frank said...

Excellent more tips to consider. Please keep finding these Ian.

The eyebrows one reminds me of the Victor Navone tutorial on facial expression where he uses the example of animating Dash in 'The Incredibles' (are we back there again?).


I wonder, if they are read in tandem, if a creative animation explosion will occur in my right cerebrum?

frank said...

Speaking about facial expressions. Yesterday in class there was an interesting conversation about life drawing and drawing what we see rather than what we have learned.

You were talking about the top lip not cuving up in a smile but it getting closer to the nose.

But most of us draw a smile like a side on banana.

The key bit for me is: How do we animate a smile? Is a smile more than a mouth? Do we have to be bound by reality? Or can we just recognise that a real face doesn't work like that and still draw the banana?

Or "BANANA!" as Cory and Don Hertzfeldt might say.

Ian said...

The level of abstraction you choose is a creative decision you must make Frank. Its like that quote you put up a while back about rules not being there to stop us doing things, but to make us question if it’s the right time to break the rule before we do. If you plan to use abstraction the the key question is "why", if you have a personally satisfactory answer for that then go for it. (Hint: Because its easier to draw isn't usually a good enough answer,unless you have time restrictions)

Much of the smile happens in the eyes, you can see a bit more white around the top of the pupil, the bottom lid is pushed up by the cheeks, and the brows tend to go up. At Oska we took great pride in our animation, but because of the nature of the the way the product was marketed we often depended on a still image to get that initial interest. We had to smack the viewer with an image of the character doing a great smile.

We hadn’t ever struggled with this when we did 2D, but when the switch was made to 3D we were have trouble getting the same level of appeal in the face on the still marketing images. The solution was to make a blend shape that moved the mouth up on the face ever so slightly, making it closer to the nose. Do a test, put on a big smile and then poke the skin under your nose, it will be all stiff and tense. This tiny little change made a massive difference. That’s the thing about faces, we are all experts at interpreting them, spotting thousands of subtle changes and identifying their meaning. Our understanding of them is so intuitive that when we were drawing the images we would move the mouth up a pencil width or two without even thinking about it. When we made the change to 3D we were forced to grapple with it in a more logical and less intuitive way.

Alexandra Raineri said...

so ian with the mouth in 3D we don't have the same freedom to exagerate a smile?

Ian said...

That depends on the quality of your rig.

So far you have used easyman, but he is rigged to be simple. Some rigs allow for amazing face control.

Mr. Saeton said...

I for one simply love how in this series of examples there was very little 'physical acting' most of it was emotional. In the American Beauty clips Kevin Spacey barely moved, just turned his head. Through his expression and the timing behind them he allowed us to read what was on his mind. Just freakin beuatifull.

So once again there is a 'tips and tricks' guide telling us to get into the characters head, really focus on the acting and not so much the drawing. Something so simple yet somehow I allways forget. Keep these coming Ian, I may actually learn something!