2D Animation Principles
Illustration by John Hersey

Demonstrating lighting


2D Animation Principles

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Demonstrating lighting

A few years ago I began to really take an And here we have a similar use of the same technique.
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  1. 1m 42s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 18m 9s
    1. Understanding appeal and design
      4m 3s
    2. Comparing body types
      6m 27s
    3. Understanding silhouette
      1m 52s
    4. Creating gesture drawings
      2m 50s
    5. Tying down the drawing
      2m 57s
  3. 18m 10s
    1. Comparing storyboard styles
      5m 8s
    2. Understanding shot composition
      4m 36s
    3. Demonstrating lighting
      4m 8s
    4. Understanding the 180-degree line
      4m 18s
  4. 13m 8s
    1. Understanding X-sheets (dope sheets)
      3m 25s
    2. Comparing frame rates
      4m 39s
    3. Creating sweatbox notes and preparation
      5m 4s
  5. 18m 42s
    1. Understanding arcs
      7m 38s
    2. Squash, stretch, and volume
      4m 59s
    3. Comparing timing and spacing
      6m 5s
  6. 10m 4s
    1. Using anticipation, overshoot, and settle
      4m 2s
    2. Breaking and loosening joints
      2m 43s
    3. Leading action
      3m 19s
  7. 19m 51s
    1. Understanding primary and secondary action
      4m 14s
    2. Using overlap and follow-through
      6m 0s
    3. Applying lines of action, reversals, and S-curves
      4m 34s
    4. Moving holds and idles
      5m 3s
  8. 15m 52s
    1. Understanding walk and run cycles
      5m 24s
    2. Creating eccentric walks
      6m 50s
    3. Animal locomotion
      3m 38s
  9. 14m 31s
    1. Finding dialogue accents
      2m 42s
    2. Creating dialogue through body movement
      2m 46s
    3. Creating stock mouth shapes
      5m 4s
    4. Using complementary shapes
      3m 59s
  10. 13m 8s
    1. Creating thumbnails
      4m 31s
    2. Comparing straight-ahead and pose-to-pose animation
      4m 37s
    3. Adding breakdowns for looseness
      4m 0s
  11. 2m 9s
    1. Next steps
      2m 9s

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Watch the Online Video Course 2D Animation Principles
2h 25m Beginner Apr 11, 2014

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Bring a cast of characters to life. By following the basics principles of animation, you can build characters that interact naturally with their environments, convey realistic emotion, and talk and walk convincingly. In this course, Dermot O' Connor shows how to design a solid character and stage and storyboard your animation before you begin. He'll examine principles like anticipation and squash and stretch, which provide characters with a sense of weight and flexibility, and show you how to animate walk cycles and dialogue. Finally, learn how to thumbnail scenes from start to finish, so you can sketch out the action before you commit to fully rendering it.

These lessons are designed with Flash in mind, but work just as well with any other 2D animation program.

Topics include:
  • Creating gesture drawings
  • Comparing storyboard styles
  • Squash, stretch, and volume
  • Comparing timing and spacing
  • Using anticipation, overshoot, settle, overlap, and follow-through
  • Creating eccentric walks
  • Building stock mouth shapes for dialogue
  • Creating thumbnails
3D + Animation
Flash Professional
Dermot O' Connor

Demonstrating lighting

A few years ago I began to really take an interest in doing a better job of lighting my shots. And one of the tricks I began to use was to create this dark area, which you can see here, and here, and here, around the perimeters of the screen, to create this internal area of light that focuses your eye. Obviously you can't do this for every shot, or it'll look a little bit stilted. But many times for something like this, it really is ideal. And I'll show you another example.

Also very justified by the time period, where we have the medieval philosopher who's studying his strange books lit by candlelights. And clearly here also, you do want the light to drop off. Well I, I began to wonder, maybe I'm taking this a little too far, maybe I'm overdoing it. And I, I found out afterwards that this is a technique that the old Disney background painters called the Bowl Of Light effect. You find the spot in your shot and you just light it as if it's just been hit by an imaginary spotlight. So this is a good technique to use to really accentuate the areas inside of your shot, and to move things out of the direct area, and focus the eye where it really belongs, and that is on the character and the, the core elements of the scene.

Now here is an example of how you can use light to tell you something about the character and to tell you something about the story. This particular shot represents the Greek philosopher Pythagoras. And in this part of the story on this project that I'm currently working on, the idea of Pythagoras was that true knowledge comes from thought alone, and that your senses, your, your sight, and sound, and taste simply couldn't be trusted. And so I wanted to use a visual technique to really, really convey that to the viewer, that this man really wasn't interested in the world of the senses, which you see symbolized by his left hand in the light.

He really, really, really only trusts the world of his imagination, and entering into that kind of a mental, not a darkness is unfair to say, but a world purely of the mind. And here we have a similar use of the same technique. Once established I saw no reason to not use it again, so it works again to really reinforce this theme. And one more shot of Pythagoras, and in this shot we have him posed a little bit like a James Bond supervillain. And again the lighting has been used for dramatic effect, but also it's telling you a little something about this character, that he, he might be the kind of person that you don't want to mess with.

Now that I've shown you these static examples of what the Bowl of Light and different lighting effects look like, let's take an animated example and see how it applies to this. On the left side is my original shot, and this has no lighting whatsoever. This is the kind of thing you see a lot if you look at kids' TV, many, many shots just with one light source. On the right side, what I wanted to do was to focus the viewers eye on this character here as he walks into this spot. And you'll see this area right here, that's where the, the brightest little area is.

So let's have a look at the left and the right and I'll try to play them roughly at the same time. Now, I'm going to pause it close to the end, so let's have a look at how these shots look when they conclude. Now, at this point, you'll be able to see that we have a much more interesting shot on the right side. The character really stands out against that degraded looking background, that even feels a little dirtier, and the fellows that are walking off on the right side, they're disappearing into the gloom. This naturally focuses your eye away from them and where I want it to be.

I want your focus to be here on this man's face. So this is a great example of how you can use lighting to push the viewer's eye to the exact point where you want it. What you need to take away from this is that lighting isn't a peripheral part of the process. How you light a scene or a sequence can be critical in conveying the essence of the characters, their motivations, their thinking processes, as well as the dramatic tone of the shot.

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