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All animators must learn to walk before they can run. In 2D Character Animation, industry expert George Maestri teaches the basic principles every animator must know to build a foundation for more complex work. These principles are relevant regardless of software used or animation style. George explains how good animation depends on a firm knowledge of the laws of motion, which inform the principles of animation. He teaches the basics of creating characters, squash and stretch, pose-to-pose animation, walking and running, track reading, and dialogue animation. He also shows how to use After Effects and Flash to apply the tools learned in the course. Exercise files accompany this course.
Now many times you would want to change the direction of your character's gaze. Now when doing this, a blink will really help the process. Now I've already animated this character looking in different directions, but without blinks. So let me show you what that looks like. As you can see the eyes look a little bit floaty and when you animate the eyes like this without a blink, they look kind of almost like they are staring in space or the character's a little bit spacey. The better way to do is to cover that motion with a blink.
So let's go ahead and take a look at this same character and now I have added in a blink to cover the change in eye direction. As you can see it looks much more crisp and also what it does is the blink draws the audience's attention to the eyes. By blinking the eyes, it's almost like a semaphore that tells the audience, something is happening here. And when you change a character's eye direction, you are changing the focus of that character.
She is looking to her right at something and now she is looking to her left at something, and there is something important to her left that she is looking at. So let's guide the audiences' eye, so let's go ahead and signal to the audience that those eyes are moving. Another really important thing when changing eye direction is making sure that your eyes are focused on the right thing. So for example here, I have the eyes blinking and she is going from left to right. But we also have these green sphere in the scene, but you can tell very clearly that she is not looking at this green sphere.
Only after she changes eye direction slightly, do we know that now she is looking directly at this sphere and really this is only a fraction of the size of the eyes that these are moving. So from here to here, just completely changes the way that the audience sees this. In fact, let's go ahead and take a look at this a little bit more succinctly. So that's what she is looking at. When we go back she is looking that way and the audiences' attention is driven that way.
So you can see how when a character blinks, you've got different eye directions and they will mean different things. They will also guide your audience's directions to wherever those eyes are looking. So pay attention to how your characters move their eyes, cover those eye movements with blinks to give them more crispness and also pay attention to how the eyes are focused, so you can draw attention to certain things in your scenes.
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