Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Unfortunately, animation is a learning process. It's not like riding a roller coaster or eating a sandwich. But maybe it's kind of like eating a sandwich while riding a roller coaster. You always think you know how to do it, but some unseen problem comes up and the next thing you know your tomatoes are flying everywhere.

This time around, the bump that has sent my tomatoes flying is line thickness. If that's clear enough.

As I've mentioned before, Matt and I are using this system of head files, we create sets of heads for each character with movable and interchangeable mouths, eyes and eyebrows. It saves us the time of redrawing heads and mouths for each new shot, and for future shorts.

When we drew these heads, we drew them pretty big so that they could be used for close up shots and not look chunky. And for the close up's and medium shots, things have worked out pretty well.

The problem is, when they're used for wide shots, the facial details look noticeably thinner than the rest of the shot, exaggerating the pasted on quality that we're trying to hide.

In addition to that, some of the bodies were drawn really small. So when put against each other, they look vastly different, and messy.

I've tried to close the line thickness gap by adding a 5-9 pixel stroke outline to the heads, but that doesn't always cut it . The sad truth is, even though the computer allows you to paste any separate drawn elements together, if they were drawn on vastly different scales it's going to show.

In the future, we have to make sure that we're drawing these bodies as big as possible so that the line quality and thickness matches with the size of the heads, and that we're cleaning up these drawings with a finer line. If doing that doesn't fix the problem, I might consider duplicating the head files and making one set specifically for medium/wide shots by putting a stroke on the facial details of each component.

For now though, I'm going back and re-cleaning several of the shots. It seems ridiculous this late in the game, being that we're one night of work away from being picture locked. But hey, you can't spell "animator" without "anal".

Sphincter Tight & Robot Rights


:: smo :: said...

yeah man lineweight is the bane of my existence! even in flash i'll draw one part way zoomed in to get detail then pull out for a simpler part and the lineweight gets all wonky. then when i scale things it just messes up.

it's hard to track the size of things when you can be scaling stuff and whatnot! but it sounds like you've got some solid solutions in the works.

and that megabrain thing i was talking about on my blog was a forum i made a year ago. a bunch of my animator friends got together and we started collecting reference, and i was gearing up to get together exercises for us all to do but it kind of fell apart quick.

here's some of the stuff we collected:


there's a ton more i've got to add to it now too.

Stewart said...