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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 we have the body animated, as well as the phonemes. So let's go ahead and take a look at where we're at right now. (Recording: I can't figure this out. I can't figure this out.) So as you can see, it's getting closer. We're doing this a layer at a time, but we still need to do secondary motion. Then also I want to do a little bit of eye direction. I want to do some blinks and also give a change in eye direction. So let's go ahead and do that first. I'm going to go ahead and scrub in here, and as you can see as he changes his pose from this through the shrug, I want to go ahead and do a change in eye direction, which means I want to go ahead and make him look up and away.
So right about here, I'm going to go ahead and change his pupils to move basically up. So he's going to be kind of looking almost to the sky, because he doesn't know. Now, let's go "I can't figure this..." Then as he comes back, I'm just going to go ahead and have them go back to my normal pose here. So I'm going to go ahead and move that eye back.
What was that? So now he's going... (Recording: I can't figure this out.) So I can't figure this out. So what I'm doing is I'm changing the direction of his eyes on each of the major points. That will help to sell the animation. But when I change eye direction, what else do I need to do? I need to add in a blink. So let's go ahead and do that. I'm going to go ahead to each eye and just add in a blink.
So as he comes in he blinks up, and then he opens his eyes again. Let's do the same for the other one. So as he changes his eye direction, I'm going to go ahead and add in a blink for each eye. So now he goes, "I can't figure this out." Very simple! So let's go ahead and scrub that against the track.
(Recording: I can't figure this out.) So that works pretty good. But I still need to do a little bit of secondary motion. The first place I'm going to concentrate on is the head. Now the head is going to move because of two reasons. One is it will have secondary motion. In other words, it will lag behind the motion of the body, because again the head wants to stay put. So it's going to try and stay where it is as the body moves. So it's going to drag behind the motion of the body.
But there is another reason why the head is going to move, and that is because when the mouth gets large, such as in A or I sounds, the head will tend to tilt back just a little bit to open the throat. So what we're going to do is as we get into our big sounds, we're going to bounce the head up and then we're going to combine that with secondary motion against the body. So right here, he goes into an I sound. So what I'm going to do is just take the head and just kind of drop it down a little bit and maybe rotate it.
Again, one of the things I'm going to do is rotate the head just a little bit. If I rotate his head like that, it gives a nicer line to the pose. So what I'm having him do is kind of just tilt over a little bit and then he goes "I". So, I'm going to pop the head up just a bit on that word I, and then he kind of comes down. So again, I'm giving a little bit of a contrast there, but then as he starts pushing up, I want to actually bring his head way down kind of into his shoulders.
We'll squash his head a little bit. Then as he gets into this other A sound, I want to pop the head up and maybe do a little bit of rotation. So now we've got, "I can't." So you can see how the body pushes and then that head pops up almost as emphasis and it actually tends to emphasize that word.
Then we can go ahead and settle that had back down. Let's go ahead and scrub this. (Recording: I can't...) See how that word can't is now super- emphasized, not just by the mouth, but by the body and the head. (Recording: I can't figure...) Figure. So what we need to do know is just start animating the head against these phonemes at this point. So I'm going to go ahead and drop the head down just a little bit, and then as he comes into that phoneme, I'm going to pop him up and again, drop him down.
Again, I may add a little bit of rotation just to add some variation, just to give it a little bit of life. Then again, we're coming up into another big motion here. So I'm going to go ahead and get this ready, anticipate it. As he's coming into this big move right here, I want to squash the head and then overshoot it and then settle back in.
So now we have something like this. I can't figure this out. I want to add one more little bit of secondary animation. That's on the arms. Now notice how the arms are actually fairly stiff when they move, particularly when they come down. So right about here, as they start coming back down, I want to actually add a little bit of drag into those lower arms. So at this point, as they come down, I'm going to take the left arm and I'm just going to rotate it out a little bit and do the same for the right arm.
Again, just put a little bit of a bend in that elbow and it will give it a much stronger sense of flexibility. It will actually make the character look a lot more realistic and flexible. So now if you look at the arms, you can see now how I'm kind of bending those, as he's coming down. In fact, I could probably do that a little bit more right there and there we go. That pretty much completes it. So let's go ahead and take a look at this final version of the animation.
(Recording: I can't figure this out. I can't figure this out.) So as you can see, we've done this animation in layers. We first blocked out the body motion, then we added in the phonemes, and then we did our fine-tuning. By doing it in this way, you get a really good animation. It's good to do it step-by-step, because that way you have a firm foundation on which to build the next step. So go ahead and continue to practice with your own characters and do some additional dialog animation.
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