20110201

Inspiration/Influence: Richard Williams

I've been tackling a couple of title sequences right at the outset, and I'm reminded of something Richard Williams says time and again. "Sophisticated use of the basics." An important phrase for an animator that isn't doing Tex Avery style BOINGS or hard takes, but must instead focus on subtle anticipation and soft accents. Knowing the basics and how to apply them in a sophisticated way is one of the most effective methods to keep things organized while retaining a working sense of freedom.

Since my lead character weighs a couple of tons (his head alone could be up to 800 lbs.,) I'm going to execute a traditional human walk cycle separately just to cut my teeth again. Steps on 12 and 24, passing position at 6 and 18 all on ones, loop. Totally basic. Timing and spacing is paramount for mobility and believability in action. The only reason I even know the true difference between timing and spacing is Richard Williams. Everyone knows the man- he's responsible for integrating cartoons with live action in Roger Rabbit, (part 2, part 3,) the famous Pink Panther introductions, thousands of commercials, and the mostly completed 24-year endeavor Thief and the Cobbler (or The Princess and the Cobbler, or The Cobbler and the Thief, depending on the cut you get.) I could go on for pages about the man and how much he's helped me understand the art of animation. Animation at its simplest is translational math without numbers. Even more though, it's performance. Animation is acting. Richard Williams can cite Art Babbit (one of Disney's "9 old men" responsible for the Queen in Snow White) and Ken Harris (the classic Warner animator known for the Coyote) as masters, employees, and friends. He remains one of the only comprehensive encyclopedias of traditional animation technique on the planet. Any animator will point you to his book, The Animator's Survival Kit. There also exists a 16 DVD set called the Animator's Survival Kit: Animated, which is a lecture series compiled with over 400 animated exercises and illustrations of the most common animation techniques and mistakes. If you lack a mentor as most of us seem to, I can honestly say both of these are invaluable resources. If you can somehow get your hands on it, the animated lectures are fantastic.

Don't overthink. Anticipation. Action. Reaction. Work it until it works.

1 comment:

John Chappelear said...

What a great thought.
I really appreciate your perspective.
John Chappelear
http://johnchappelear.com