Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week 5: Antics, Squash, and Stretch

So far I think I can say Animation Mentor weeks are nuts in every good way possible, without fear of being rebutted anytime soon. They're also challenging, and exhausting---particularly this week.

The focus was on the importance of anticipation, and applying squash and stretch. Shawn hosted the lecture. It truly is amazing how much more complex than what I thought these principles are. Anticipation has always been a no-brainer for me. It is the mechanical buildup of force, and it doesn't make sense to omit antics, unless, of course, you do so with intent and for comedic purpose(or anything). A human jumping, for example, will squash down to anticipate the jump: he will build up the energy required to fire himself up in the air.

But anticipation can be so much more than a boxer winding back for a punch. In the lecture, they talked about how even a blink can anticipate an action. We have at our disposal a tool that can be so powerful in its subtlety.

Look at this example I came accross this week:
This is part of a bunch of marketing videos for Disney's "Tangled" (which looks unbelievable, really pushing 3D animation!).  
At the very end of the clip, Rapunzel's hair falls on Flynn, and the horse laughs. Look closely, if you can, at what happens before the laugh. The horse has a very subtle, sudden shrug before bursting into a laugh. That's what gets us laughing. The punchline is being built up by the shrug, which tells us it's gonna be one hell of laugh before we know it.

An example I hadn't thought of, and proof of just how complex this stuff is, is anticipation in walks. If we look at what happens with the waist, it's incredible how this principle applies to everything. When a person steps into the next foot, his waist will move back and twist in the opposite direction just before lifting the foot of that leg, and then travel along with it as we expect. This blew me away. There's an explanation for it too. Locomotion requires weight shifts. The waist pulls and twists back to peel weight off the planted foot, kind of like pulling on it. Once that happens, the foot is triggered to lift, and the waist can now move forward. So, we can think of the waist as a  sort of pulley.

The lecture was also about Squash and Stretch, because it relates to Anticipation. We learned about creating different compression zones in the body, like expanding and compressing the legs. This is considered squashing and stretching. It's really everywhere! We can use the line of action and silhouette to convey SS.

Finally, they left us with an amazing tip, which I used a lot in my latest assignment. It is much easier to push an action too far at first, and then tone it down. If you end up deciding later that you want a bigger action, but you've been animating small actions, you'll end up with too much counter-animating and graph cleaning to do.

Royce gave us a great Q/A. He spent a lot of time answering questions, much to our delight, about what it is like to work at Pixar. He also went through some shots he did and showed us his ways of applying squash and stretch, and the importance of rythm.


My approach was to great a strong sense of rythm and beat to the animation. I spent a lot of time working out the spacing and the timing, as well as the squashing of the ball. Planning this shot was hell! I had writers block, so to speak. 

This is my posing homework. We had to portray "Devastation"

Here is my revision for last weeks assignment.

Maybe I wrote a bit too much this time around!  Thanks for reading, and I'll post my revisions for the week after word from my mentor.



  1. Great stuff, and I certainly don't think you wrote too much :)

  2. Hi Nich. Hahahah, I´m agree with you, this week was ver dificult, I don´t know why, hahahah. Let´s see how is the next assigment!!!

  3. fun stuff! oh the memories of AM.... Best of luck to you