Join Dermot O' Connor for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding silhouette, part of 2D Animation Principles.
- View Offline
In this section, I'm going to show you the principles of the silhouette, and why it's very important to keep a simple outline for your character. So I've made this animation in Flash. And here's the Flash file, if you have access to Flash. If you don't, not a problem. Because I've rendered it out as a scene here. And it's just a regular F file. It should play in whatever media player you have. Here you can see the animation and I think it's pretty clear that if we pause at any point, and I'm just going to randomly tap the space bar, it's quite clear what we're seeing. This is a man shoveling rocks.
It's really that simple, that's the principle. You wouldn't want to have any pause where you weren't entirely sure what's going on. I don't expect every single frame to be a pristine, beautiful silhouette, but you get the idea. The main key pauses such as this one are very, very easy to read. Let's play it a little bit more. And I think you get the idea from that. So let's close that out. And this time I'll show you a static image. And this is a scene showing some poses of walk cycles from a recent project I've been working on.
And this is a very easy principle to demonstrate. As you can see, each of the three characters is in the typical contact pose with their front leg contacting the ground. And if you look at the bottom frame, obviously you can tell that they're walking, but you can also tell even purely in their outline form. There's no mistaking what's happening here. In addition to that, there's no mistaking the emotional stride. These are very confident walk cycles. And if you look at negative spaces, for example, this area here, it's large, clean, easy to read. Even the, the spaces in here between the cape.
The cape isn't cluttered up. And that essentially is the principle of silhouette. So, watch out for your drawings. Think of your drawings as pure black filled areas. And try to keep them strong and and like I said, easy to read.
These lessons are designed with Flash in mind, but work just as well with any other 2D animation program.
- 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