Sunday, 27 February 2022

Why Using Live Action Reference Can Lead to Floaty Animation - And How to Fix It

Leopard Animation by Daniel Amor
The use of live action reference to create great animation is one of the key techniques that students learn at BNU. But one of the dangers of using live action is that, if you follow it too closely, the animation can seem floaty and weightless.

Live action reference helps animators to create believable, realistic animation. Once you have done that, push it further. Go beyond the live action, push the poses, make the transitions snappier. Give the audience a reason to watch your work - give a performance

The Live Action Behind the Animation
Eilin Berrio Pena - Live Action and Animation
When you go and watch a Pixar or Disney movie, you are watching (obviously) animation, not live action. But there is plenty of live action there - it's just behind the scenes. 

Animators typically film themselves acting out their shot, and then use that reference to create the beautiful animation that you see on the screen.

Make it Snappier
Bear animation by Amanda Costa
If you follow the live action very closely, your animation will be fluid, but also floaty and potentially weightless. To solve this, you need to exaggerate the poses, and make the timing snappier.  

Spend longer in the key poses, pull out in-betweens so that you get from one pose to another faster. If you have a character walking, exaggerate the ups and downs so that the character has more weight. The trick is to go beyond the live action - create a performance.

How To Use Live Action Reference
Get Yourself a Tripod
To see how to use live action reference to create animation in Maya, read this blog post. All you really need to begin is a tripod and a smart phone.  To get started, find a quiet spot (your bedroom will do), close your bedroom door and do multiple takes of your shot until you feel comfortable.  Delete the bad takes, import the best take into Premiere, sync it with your audio, and then export the footage into Maya.  Now you have a basis on which to start planning your animation.

Using Live Action Reference in Animation
For more information on how to use live action reference for animation, follow the links below:
Planning Animation
MoCap cleanup and performance by Steven Lall
To see some examples of how to plan animation (including how to use thumbnail sketches and live action), follow these links:

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