Join Andrew Gordon for an in-depth discussion in this video Over-gesticulation, part of Animation Foundations: Gesture.
- One of the things that is a common mistake in animation is the over-gesticulation of characters. When characters do too many gestures, that being a gesture on every single line of the dialogue, it gets to be too noisy and we can't understand what's going on. Especially in a scene where there's two characters, our eye doesn't know where to look. It's your job as an animator to really direct the eye of where you're supposed to be looking in a scene. Now let's take a look at a couple of our actors over-gesturing and you can see that it just doesn't really work.
There are things that do work and I'll point that out to you. Okay, you could see all the things that she's trying to describe, she's got a gesture on every single thing that she's doing. Then he's doing all his stuff while she is also gesturing. Again, your eye doesn't really know where to look right? There's an equal amount of motion between these two characters. If I were really wanting to make this work, I would really have to understand which part to focus on.
I do like a lot of the gestures that he's doing, it's just that it's the ability to edit out gestures and to throw away stuff we don't need. And also to quiet down a character so that I can look back to where I'm supposed to be looking. A lot of the times people also talk about what is called twinning gestures. That is symmetrical gestures right? The thing about twinning in animation is that you can't be afraid of never twinning, meaning that sometimes people do the twin gesture, but it's the ability to break up that gesture with from here to there, or from here to here, or arriving at a different time.
You can twin a gesture but make sure that you break it up with other types of gestures and how those gestures arrive. This is really important. The point is that you never want things to be perfectly symmetrical all the time. Does that make sense? Great. Okay, one more point that I like about this is that again, while he might be saying something on every line, the fact that she's quiet I could at least read his performance nicely.
Maybe it does work for that type of a scene. The point is to watch out for too many gestures, 90% of all animation just has too much stuff because the animator feels like they have to animate something for that part of a line or dialogue, or that part of the scene. Just be careful about that, know when to edit out, and don't over-gesture.
- What are gestures?
- Cliché and illustrative gestures
- Using reference for gestures
- Gesturing with other body parts
- Polish of gestures
- Facial gestures