No personal blog crapola.
Just one guy's quest to unlock the mysterious art of storytelling on screen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ask Why


In every step of the production of your animation, the story, the design, the staging, the animation, the editing, the lighting, the sound, etc., ask yourself why? Why is this here? Does it further the story? Does it support the whole? To create successful animation, you must understand why an object moves before you can figure out how it should move. Character animation isn’t the fact that an object looks like a character or has a face or hands. Character animation is when an object moves like it is alive, when it looks like it is thinking and all of its movements are generated by its own thought process. It is the change of shape that shows that a character is thinking. It is the thinking that gives the illusion of life. It is the life that gives meaning to the expression. 3 As Saint-ExupĂ©ry wrote, “It’s not the eyes, but the glance - not the lips, but the smile...”  Every single movement of your character should be there for a purpose, to support the story and the personality of your character. It is animation after all and any kind of motion is possible, and in the world of your story any kind of rules can exist. But there must be rules for your world to be believable. For example, if a character in your story can’t fly and then all of a sudden he can fly for no reason, your world and story will lose credibility with your audience. The movement of your character and the world of your story should feel perfectly natural to the audience. As soon as something looks wrong or out of place, your audience will pop out of your story and think about how weird that looked and you’ve lost them. The goal is to create a personality of a character and a storyline that will suck your audience in and keep them entertained for the length of your film. When a film achieves this goal, the audience will lose track of time and forget about all their worldly cares. For all that any audience truly wants is to be entertained.
Ask Why

-- John Lasseter, "Principles of Traditional Animation Applied to 3D Computer Animation," SIGGRAPH ’87, Computer Graphics, Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 35-44, July, 1987