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Using complementary shapes

From: 2D Animation Principles

Video: Using complementary shapes

In the previous section, I showed you how to create a So here we have a happy sequence of static mouths.

Using complementary shapes

In the previous section, I showed you how to create a library of six mouth shapes, and then to blend between them. And using a system like that, it's kind of hard to go wrong. Where you can get into a little more trouble is when you start creating custom shapes on top of that, and then really interchanging between radically different shapes. So one way to stay out of trouble is to group your mouth shapes into roughly similar graphical families. So at the top level, you see happy mouth shapes. And if you notice the outline, the silhouettes of these shapes, you'll see that they actually make a reasonably clean transition, one into the other.

Look at the second row, the same principle applies, the angry shapes. They all, more or less, have the same abstract shape. Let's look at them just in outline mode. So, again, on the top, it's very hard to imagine any transition from any one of these six shapes. Now I could make 20 shapes if I wanted to, but six for purposes of demonstration. It's very hard to see any bad transitions between these. I could move from this shape, to this shape, to this shape. And I think that would all look reasonably smooth. And the same for the second row. What happens if we mix and match? What happens if we go from this kind of mouth shape to this kind of mouth shape, to this one, to that one? We get something like you see on the bottom row.

Look at the corner of the mouth in particular, and the curvature of the upper lip. It's really all over the place. So let me lay down some of these on the timeline, and let's see what this looks like when you actually begin to move these. So here we have a happy sequence of static mouths. And I've just taken that upper row of happy mouths and just put them down at random. It's animating about a, every key frame is held for one, two, three, four frames. So obviously it's not smooth, not smooth at the in-betweens. So what I did was I just made some basic shape tweens so we can see.

Imagine that, that's like a fully 30 frame per second or 24 frame per second animation. Looks all right. And here's the angry sequence. Same principle. Now were I to hand draw tweens between these, they would smooth it out. But we can deal with, just with simple shape tweens and see what that would feel like. I think that's pretty decent. Now let's show what happens when you mix and match. It doesn't even look real anymore. The, the corner of the mouth, follow that. There's no way any character's mouth should be doing that. That would, that would break your jaw. So this is something to watch out for. Not to say that you can't go from a happy sequence into an angry sequence but it'll probably only happen occasionally.

If I'm speaking happily and then I switch to an angry voice like that then of course you go from the happy mouth shape to the angry mouth shape. But you don't go back and forth every four frames because that's just not going to be believable. And now a quick word on eye blinks. And they're usually fairly straightforward. Here we have the typical eye blink pattern from the traditional era. What we would do would be wide open mouth, and then for two frames you would see the 1 3rd closed. Two frames on the closed position, and again if you held that for one you probably wouldn't even see them as being closed, so hold them for at least two frames maybe even three if you're on 30 frames per second.

1/3 open and open that's the classic golden era eye blink pattern. So let's see what that looks like with the generic flash character. Now I have actually shaped between this so he is moving on one. So you still see that's a very nice little natural eye blink. And of course in actual performance you can push this a little more and in this case I have actually moved the head to follow with the blink, bringing the eye brows down and the entire eye mask area compresses. So it's a little more dramatic. This is more of a reaction-take shot where the character's looking at us, very briefly, and then he's looking at the top screen right.

So I really wanted to flag it. Don't have to do this with every eye blink. It would probably look a little awkward, but certainly keep this in mind when you want to a little bit of extra business to it. So it's good to have little muscular eye blinks, but also if you're doing a lot of it, then there's nothing wrong either with a static one like this.

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This video is part of

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2D Animation Principles

35 video lessons · 9984 viewers

Dermot O' Connor

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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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