Join Dermot O' Connor for an in-depth discussion in this video Loosen the joints, part of 2D Animation: Tips & Tricks.
- [Voiceover] In this lesson I'll show you some of the techniques that I use to loosen up animation. How to stop it from feeling mechanical or limited. On the left you can see a basic pointing action created with two key frames. All the in-betweens are smooth, there's nothing interesting happening. On the right is the final, loosened animation. And as you can see, it's a lot better. It's starting to get that classic look of character animation from the 1940s and 50s. So let's see how this was done. So here's the first key pose, then the halfway point or breakdown.
And finally, the end pose, pointing up to the top corner. Now if we overlay these images, just to keep things clear I'll use green as an overlay color for the first, blue for the last, and then red for the breakdown, the halfway point between them. As you can see, it's perfectly half. There's nothing really interesting happening. That's the result when it's all smoothed out. It's smooth, but dull. It's not jerky, it's smooth, but bland. So let's make some changes to break this thing up, and let's keep the start and the stop keys.
I'm not gonna change the beginning or the end, I'm only going to change the breakdown, and that's the halfway point. I'm gonna smash that elbow, make it bend right here, so we're leading with the elbow. That area right there, it's like there's a magnetic field pulling the elbow up in this direction. Then we work into the pointing pose as before. And if you overlay them, now you can see where the leading action is from here. Also concentrates the hand frames a little lower so we have more hand frames in this space, and then a much snappier move into the pointing gesture.
So it gives us texture in spacing. So now we get the breaking of the joint, and the leading action. And here it is without the red. So using these two techniques, the leading action, pulling the elbow forward, and also the breaking of joints, like bending the joints, these are a huge first step towards loosening up any animation that you've got. So you're probably wondering why does it still not look like the preview that I gave you at the beginning of the movie.
In the next movie we're going to really start pushing these methods and these techniques to a whole new level, and at that point you're gonna see how the whole process comes together to give us the classic 1940s animation flexibility.