Body Mechanics Studies

Posted by aleeCO on July 8, 2012 in References, Tid Bits |

The following tips are good for anyone currently working on body mechanics in animation:

For Class 2 (Psychology of Body Mechanics):

The following is an excerpt from Animation Mentor’s blog by Wayne Gilbert:

“When doing a body mechanics shot, your attention must be focused on the body and how it moves — don’t spend a lot of time on the acting. The audience must believe that the character decided to jump so there needs to be a tiny amount of acting such as a quick look in the direction of the jump to show that the character is aware of the situation. In each body mechanics shot there is a sequence of activity that runs from the character’s brain through its body and you must decide what that sequence is before starting to animate. Where and how does that sequence begin and eventually end? When the sequence is correct, the shot is successful; if it is entertaining that’s a bonus.”

In summary: this class will be to make sure you understand how the body moves, so the most successful shots will be simple ideas and straight forward actions. Keep in in mind as you go through your future assignments! Trust me! I myself had to learn how to simplify and in the long run, learned much more through simpler shots that focused on the foundations. (view body mechanics as a foundation to acting/story)


For Class 3 (Advanced Body Mechanics):

The following is another section by Wayne Gilbert:

“Personality is shown through posture. The first thing you have to break down is how the character stands. You must arrange body parts to describe inner life. How a character stands reveals emotional state, energy level and attentiveness. Everything that you do from there is a sequence of lead and follow that shows how that particular character moves. Nothing moves without a force either driving or pulling it.

define the broad descriptive forces creating a movement such as leg drive or body lean and arm pull, then show the subtle force options such as the turn of a knee, foot direction, head roll, a twist in the body and decide when each of these happens. What leads and what follows is the best starting point for understanding breakdowns. What moves first? Why? What moves next and continue through the sequence. Explore your options and decide why the character moves then how you are going to show that and decide before you start animating.”

I was drawn to this excerpt mainly for it’s commentary on force. The succession of motion in connected parts (such as a shoulder –> arm –> hand –> fingers) comes down to the initial force driving the action. Poses alone should depict driving forces in that they can help the viewer see what has just happened or what is going to happen in an action. In other words, a strong pose helps the viewer visualize the in-betweens of a particular motion.

Check out these tutorials by Keith Lango on creating good poses:

and some more… ;)

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