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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Rusty works in the animation industry doing Storyboards, Timing, Animation and Directing. Recently he has worked at Disney TV Animation and Universal Animation Studios. He's best known for his Directing and Producing for Warner Bros. on "Animaniacs" and "Pinky and the Brain".

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Perfect Timing pt. 1

Last year I was one of several guest artists for 2 weeks at the Summer Arts festival held at Fresno State Univ. The animation students completed three short films, two in 3D and one of which was 2D that I directed called "Bass Akwards". The image above is the simple model sheet we used for the main character. These students were new to animation but did an amazing job on their films. While there I gave a lecture to the students about timing. So here is that the first part of that lecture.

Animation Timing
Most new animators always ask the question, "How do I know where to put the next pose or keyframe and how many frames apart they should be"? My answer to them is "you don't", until you have either experienced, observed, or experimented. Timing has the ability to create tension, humor, surprise, emotion, escentially it gives the sense of life. Without timing there would be no tension in the opening of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", Wiley Coyote falling off the cliff might be gruesome instead of funny and the scenes you animate might not read.
As a Producer and Director I spent a lot of time in editing retiming the animation by cutting out frames or adding frames. You don't want your director to have to retime your scenes in editing so take your chance now to get it right.

So back to the original question, "How do I know where to put the next pose or keyframe and how many frames apart they should be"? Use a stopwatch, act it out, have someone else act it out, sketch! observe! I always hear complaints about sitting behind a computer for hours. Get up, act it out create some video reference of your self or others. Discuss your scene with other animators, get their thoughts on your approach. If you truly feel it won't fit into the time allotted talk it over with the director or your supervising animator. Often you will find your approach is wrong. But sometimes you will find the director will open up the time for you.
You must be sure the timing you are putting on the character(s) you are animating matches the timing throughout the film. This doesn't mean they can't suddenly change due to circumstances in the story but it still needs to feel right to the character. That is how a character maintains their personality. Think of the timing of a walk and run on a particular character. Had it been different it would change the personality of the character.

Tomorrow I will continue with my notes from my timing lecture.


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