Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Animating Larry David

Here in Korea it is exam season which means one thing for me…..ANIMATING TIME. I try to squeeze some animation in every week but the exams mean I have endless days to sit and animate.
This week I am returning to the first voice clip I ever animated. It is from the genius that is Larry David and it’s a great clip.
I have mentioned before about my love of animating dialog , especially clips that push emotions. This clip is a really dark comedic clip where Larry finds our his mother has died and no one told him.
The first time I animated it I didn’t know anything so I wanted to return to it, try and do a better job and see what I’ve learnt along the way.

We always get told that the first step when animating a clip is to get a firm idea of what is going on.
So I always start with a questionnaire.
There are lots of these online that other animators use so I try to mix it up so that I am always answering new questions about scenes. The one I used for this was from some of the animators that worked on Tangled:

Name: Larry (I don’t normally use the characters name from the live footage but I've grown attached to the idea of animating Larry for so many years that I've stuck it in here)
Age: 58
Occupation: Banker on Wall street
Personality Traits: Lives in his own mind.
Trait we want to be but forward: Confusion
What character discovers: He finds out that his mum has unexpectedly died.
Genre of the scene: Dark Comedy
What is driving character in the scene: Larry needs to understand what’s happened.
How the audience see’s his character: Larry is in the dark
Who is creating problems in the scene: Larry’s father.
What do you want the audience to do while watching this scene: Laugh

I also create a script and a thought script. This is literally what the character is thinking.
Before the scene thought process:

She is dead? No it can’t be….I talked to her just last week…

Larry: When…when did she die?
She can’t be dead.

Father: Let’s see the funeral was on Monday…
Maybe he’s wrong about this…..what did he say?

Larry: The What?...funeral? …Why wasn’t I……I’m not at the funeral , what do you mean Monday was the funeral?
She can’t have had her funeral… I have been gone a week….what is he on about?

Father: Monday was the funeral…..
What is he saying!!

Larry: Well why wasn't I at the funeral , why didn't you call me?
Why the hell didn't he call me!

Father: She told me not to bother you…
There is no reason he can possibly give me..

Larry: She told me not to bother me…what , what is that suppose to mean?
He’s a fricking idiot…this is insane…I will kill him!

Father: You were in New York, you were busy?
I can’t believe this is happening.

Larry: So what …. So what do you mean I was busy? You give me a call , you….you didn’t call me? You didn’t call me to tell me my mother died???
NO one is too busy for a funeral. NO ONE. I can’t believe….call me you idiot. She’s dead.

The next step is filming reference. I am not very good at this. I act too female but luckily this character is very Woody Allen-ish and has his power center in his head so my many hand actions apply here.
I filmed it about 4 times and then cut together two scenes that I liked.
From this I then make very rough thumbs. I’m not a 2d artist but this helps me just to help me with lines of action and the shoulder and hips. They aren’t pretty but I have always been adviced to do it.
Once I have all of these stages finished, I start animating.
I love blocking. I love it!
Blocking is the stage I adore.
So I set up cameras and then I do a very basic key pose block. Just the most important poses so that I know these are the poses to hit.
I am currently on my 3rd pass of blocking which is when I block every 3rd frame of the important movements.
I am going to do two more blocking passes so that the whole animation is on 3’s before I go to polish stage.
Wish me luck…
Animated hugs x

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