Category: 2D Animation

Camera Angles

I drew some pictures for representing the camera angles.

close up:

4.pidc

flash:

5.pic

extreme close up:3.pic

establishing shot:2.pic

cameo shot:

1.pic

Camera Angles

The relationship between the camera and the object being photographed (ie the ANGLE) gives emotional information to an audience, and guides their judgment about the character or object in shot. The more extreme the angle (ie the further away it is from eye left), the more symbolic and heavily-loaded the shot.

 

The Bird’s-Eye view

This shows a scene from directly overhead, a very unnatural and strange angle. Familiar objects viewed from this angle might seem totally unrecognisable at first (umbrellas in a crowd, dancers’ legs). This shot does, however, put the audience in a godlike position, looking down on the action. People can be made to look insignificant, ant-like, part of a wider scheme of things. Hitchcock (and his admirers, like Brian de Palma) is fond of this style of shot.

High Angle

Not so extreme as a bird’s eye view. The camera is elevated above the action using a crane to give a general overview. High angles make the object photographed seem smaller, and less significant (or scary). The object or character often gets swallowed up by their setting – they become part of a wider picture.

 

Eye Level

A fairly neutral shot; the camera is positioned as though it is a human actually observing a scene, so that eg actors’ heads are on a level with the focus. The camera will be placed approximately five to six feet from the ground.

 

Low Angle

These increase height (useful for short actors like Tom Cruise or James McAvoy) and give a sense of speeded motion. Low angles help give a sense of confusion to a viewer, of powerlessness within the action of a scene. The background of a low angle shot will tend to be just sky or ceiling, the lack of detail about the setting adding to the disorientation of the viewer. The added height of the object may make it inspire fear and insecurity in the viewer, who is psychologically dominated by the figure on the screen.

 

Oblique/Canted Angle

Sometimes the camera is tilted (ie is not placed horizontal to floor level), to suggest imbalance, transition and instability (very popular in horror movies). This technique is used to suggest POINT-OF-View shots (ie when the camera becomes the ‘eyes’ of one particular character, seeing what they see — a hand held camera is often used for this.

Extreme long shot

This can be taken from as much as a quarter of a mile away, and is generally used as a scene-setting, establishing shot. It normally shows an EXTERIOR, eg the outside of a building, or a landscape, and is often used to show scenes of thrilling action eg in a war film or disaster movie. There will be very little detail visible in the shot, it’s meant to give a general impression rather than specific information.

The extreme long shot on the left is taken from a distance, but denotes a precise location – it might even connote all of the entertainment industry if used as the opening shot in a news story.

 

Long Shot

This is the most difficult to categorise precisely, but is generally one which shows the image as approximately “life” size ie corresponding to the real distance between the audience and the screen in a cinema (the figure of a man would appear as six feet tall). This category includes the FULL SHOT showing the entire human body, with the head near the top of the frame and the feet near the bottom. While the focus is on characters, plenty of background detail still emerges: we can tell the coffins on the right are in a Western-style setting, for instance.

Medium Shot

Contains a figure from the knees/waist up and is normally used for dialogue scenes, or to show some detail of action. Variations on this include the TWO SHOT (containing two figures from the waist up) and the THREE SHOT (contains 3 figures…). NB. Any more than three figures and the shot tends to become a long shot. Background detail is minimal, probably because location has been established earlier in the scene – the audience already know where they are and now want to focus on dialogue and character interation. Another variation in this category is the OVER-THE-SHOULDER-SHOT, which positions the camera behind one figure, revealing the other figure, and part of the first figure’s back, head and shoulder.

 

Close-Up

This shows very little background, and concentrates on either a face, or a specific detail of mise en scène. Everything else is just a blur in the background. This shot magnifies the object (think of how big it looks on a cinema screen) and shows the importance of things, be it words written on paper, or the expression on someone’s face. The close-up takes us into the mind of a character. In reality, we only let people that we really trust get THAT close to our face – mothers, children and lovers, usually – so a close up of a face is a very intimate shot. A film-maker may use this to make us feel extra comfortable or extremely uncomfortable about a character, and usually uses a zoom lens in order to get the required framing.

Extreme Close-Up

As its name suggests, an extreme version of the close up, generally magnifying beyond what the human eye would experience in reality. An extreme close-up of a face, for instance, would show only the mouth or eyes, with no background detail whatsoever. This is a very artificial shot, and can be used for dramatic effect. The tight focus required means that extra care must be taken when setting up and lighting the shot – the slightest camera shake or error in focal length is very noticeable.

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12 Principles of Animation

Squash and stretch

The most important principle is “squash and stretch”, the purpose of which is to give a sense of weight and flexibility to drawn objects. It can be applied to simple objects, like a bouncing ball, or more complex constructions, like the musculature of a human face. Taken to an extreme point, a figure stretched or squashed to an exaggerated degree can have a comical effect. In realistic animation, however, the most important aspect of this principle is the fact that an object’s volume does not change when squashed or stretched. If the length of a ball is stretched vertically, its width (in three dimensions, also its depth) needs to contract correspondingly horizontally.

Anticipation

Anticipation is used to prepare the audience for an action, and to make the action appear more realistic. A dancer jumping off the floor has to bend his knees first; a golfer making a swing has to swing the club back first. The technique can also be used for less physical actions, such as a character looking off-screen to anticipate someone’s arrival, or attention focusing on an object that a character is about to pick up.

Staging

This principle is akin to staging, as it is known in theatre and film.  Its purpose is to direct the audience’s attention, and make it clear what is of greatest importance in a scene; Johnston and Thomas defined it as “the presentation of any idea so that it is completely and unmistakably clear”, whether that idea is an action, a personality, an expression, or a mood. This can be done by various means, such as the placement of a character in the frame, the use of light and shadow, or the angle and position of the camera. The essence of this principle is keeping focus on what is relevant, and avoiding unnecessary detail.

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Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose

These are two different approaches to the actual drawing process. “Straight ahead action” means drawing out a scene frame by frame from beginning to end, while “pose to pose” involves starting with drawing a few key frames, and then filling in the intervals later. “Straight ahead action” creates a more fluid, dynamic illusion of movement, and is better for producing realistic action sequences. On the other hand, it is hard to maintain proportions, and to create exact, convincing poses along the way. “Pose to pose” works better for dramatic or emotional scenes, where composition and relation to the surroundings are of greater importance. A combination of the two techniques is often used.

Computer animation removes the problems of proportion related to “straight ahead action” drawing; however, “pose to pose” is still used for computer animation, because of the advantages it brings in composition. The use of computers facilitates this method, and can fill in the missing sequences in between poses automatically. It is, however, still important to oversee this process and apply the other principles discussed.

Follow Through and Overlapping Action

Follow through and overlapping action is a general heading for two closely related techniques which help to render movement more realistically, and help to give the impression that characters follow the laws of physics, including the principle of inertia. “Follow through” means that loosely tied parts of a body should continue moving after the character has stopped and the parts should keep moving beyond the point where the character stopped to be “pulled back” only subsequently towards the center of mass and/or exhibiting various degrees of oscillation damping. “Overlapping action” is the tendency for parts of the body to move at different rates (an arm will move on different timing of the head and so on). A third, related technique is “drag”, where a character starts to move and parts of him take a few frames to catch up. These parts can be inanimate objects like clothing or the antenna on a car, or parts of the body, such as arms or hair. On the human body, the torso is the core, with arms, legs, head and hair appendices that normally follow the torso’s movement. Body parts with much tissue, such as large stomachs and breasts, or the loose skin on a dog, are more prone to independent movement than bonier body parts.Again, exaggerated use of the technique can produce a comical effect, while more realistic animation must time the actions exactly, to produce a convincing result.

The “moving hold” animates between similar key frames, even characters sitting still can display some sort of movement, such as the torso moving in and out with breathing.

Slow In and Slow Out

The movement of the human body, and most other objects, needs time to accelerate and slow down. For this reason, animation looks more realistic if it has more drawings near the beginning and end of an action, emphasizing the extreme poses, and fewer in the middle. This principle goes for characters moving between two extreme poses, such as sitting down and standing up, but also for inanimate, moving objects, like the bouncing ball in the above illustration.

Arc

Most natural action tends to follow an arched trajectory, and animation should adhere to this principle by following implied “arcs” for greater realism. This technique can be applied to a moving limb by rotating a joint, or a thrown object moving along a parabolic trajectory. The exception is mechanical movement, which typically moves in straight lines.

As an object’s speed or momentum increases, arcs tend to flatten out in moving ahead and broaden in turns. In baseball, a fastball would tend to move in a straighter line than other pitches; while a figure skater moving at top speed would be unable to turn as sharply as a slower skater, and would need to cover more ground to complete the turn.

An object in motion that moves out of its natural arc for no apparent reason will appear erratic rather than fluid. For example, when animating a pointing finger, the animator should be certain that in all drawings in between the two extreme poses, the fingertip follows a logical arc from one extreme to the next. Traditional animators tend to draw the arc in lightly on the paper for reference, to be erased later.

Secondary Action

Adding secondary actions to the main action gives a scene more life, and can help to support the main action. A person walking can simultaneously swing his arms or keep them in his pockets, speak or whistle, or express emotions through facial expressions. The important thing about secondary actions is that they emphasize, rather than take attention away from, the main action. If the latter is the case, those actions are better left out. For example, during a dramatic movement, facial expressions will often go unnoticed. In these cases it is better to include them at the beginning and the end of the movement, rather than during.

Timing

Timing refers to the number of drawings or frames for a given action, which translates to the speed of the action on film.  On a purely physical level, correct timing makes objects appear to obey the laws of physics; for instance, an object’s weight determines how it reacts to an impetus, like a push. Timing is critical for establishing a character’s mood, emotion, and reaction. It can also be a device to communicate aspects of a character’s personality.

Exaggeration

Exaggeration is an effect especially useful for animation, as perfect imitation of reality can look static and dull in cartoons. The level of exaggeration depends on whether one seeks realism or a particular style, like a caricature or the style of a specific artist. The classical definition of exaggeration, employed by Disney, was to remain true to reality, just presenting it in a wilder, more extreme form. Other forms of exaggeration can involve the supernatural or surreal, alterations in the physical features of a character; or elements in the storyline itself.  It is important to employ a certain level of restraint when using exaggeration. If a scene contains several elements, there should be a balance in how those elements are exaggerated in relation to each other, to avoid confusing or overawing the viewer.

Solid drawing

The principle of solid drawing means taking into account forms in three-dimensional space, or giving them volume and weight. The animator needs to be a skilled draughtsman and has to understand the basics of three-dimensional shapes, anatomy, weight, balance, light and shadow, etc. For the classical animator, this involved taking art classes and doing sketches from life. One thing in particular that Johnston and Thomas warned against was creating “twins”: characters whose left and right sides mirrored each other, and looked lifeless.  Modern-day computer animators draw less because of the facilities computers give them, yet their work benefits greatly from a basic understanding of animation principles, and their additions to basic computer animation.

Appeal

Appeal in a cartoon character corresponds to what would be called charisma in an actor. A character who is appealing is not necessarily sympathetic – villains or monsters can also be appealing – the important thing is that the viewer feels the character is real and interesting. There are several tricks for making a character connect better with the audience; for likable characters a symmetrical or particularly baby-like face tends to be effective.  A complicated or hard to read face will lack appeal, it may more accurately be described as ‘captivation’ in the composition of the pose, or the character design.

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Stop Motion

I did a stop motion with my classmates and lecturers’ helping.

This stop motion talks about a backpack which can move automatically.

We took 56 photos and combine them into a video.

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Movement of cat running

Because it is difficult to record a cat running movement, so I found this video on YouTube and followed the movement to draw my cat.

There are some frame pictures that I drew.

cat4 cat3 cat2 cat1 cat5

I also use Final Cut Pro to do the composition.

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Background of animation

I use the environment design to do both diorama and the animation.

I need to make the background and some objects layer by layer to do the animation. (For example the well and the grass, they need to be in different layers with the background.)

beijing diorama 2back1 diorama 2back well grass

Dialogue design

Because there is no any audio in the animation except the background music, so I need to write the dialogue.

I also used Photoshop and Wacom Intos to do this frame by frame.

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Process of tracing

I use Photoshop and Wacom Intos to do the tracing.

Put the photo on a layer and drew the characters with those positions frame by frame.

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Put all the pictures which a drew position by position in different folders.

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Videos for capture and tracing

My friend Sabirin and a lecturer’s bodies just look like the characters of my story, so i asked them to help me to record these videos.

The position and movement include walking, running, moving something etc.

There are two examples:

Then I made them into pictures frame by frame to prepare the tracing.

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