Sunday, October 24, 2010

Staging and Poses - A Real World Example

I was doing a couple of animations this weekend, and one became a great example of how not to do staging/poses and how to do them right. In this one scene that I'm working on, I have my baby raptor, Roscoe Jr., running away and trying to hide from his ultimate enemy. Of course, he runs towards a ridiculous hiding spot: a huge, looming tree. In the beginning of the scene he slides in, does an anticipation, and then... GASP! Roscoe sees the tree in his path and is simultaneously in awe and panic.

First offense: he's off-model. Of course you don't know what the model sheets are, but I do, and Roscoe looks emaciated and... well, just plain ugly. Legs are spread too far apart, his tail is a bit too wide, crazy arm and eyebrow things going on: he looks like a mess. Second: both the tree and Roscoe are leaning in the same direction. It's a little more harmonic than I would have liked in a scene that's supposed to be really stressful. Roscoe should be staring up at the tree, not cowering before it. Here he looks like he'd be apologizing to the tree, not realizing that the tree is something that is pretty dang tall AND something that is not good to be faced with in his particular situation.

MUCH better! Roscoe's cute little body is on-model, and he's now looking up at the tree. Before this, Roscoe skids to a stop in front of the tree, and this pose is more like what would result from him bending forward and then bouncing back to a stop. His head is bent further up, creating a clear line from the top of his head up to the top of the tree. Beautiful! Glorious! This pose is a keeper. Applause all around!


  1. Hi Mary,

    I'm a 3rd year animation student @ SAIC, and I've been following your posts for a while.

    I think this example on staging is great. The way you resolved that problem was magnificent. It reminds me of J. Merideth's lessons on storyboarding and how important the psychology behing each shot is.

    Keep working hard, and I hope you finish your piece soon.


  2. Oh man, Juand, I totally didn't see your post until now! Blogger doesn't give me updates if someone comments, so I'm sorry that I didn't get to respond until today.

    Thanks so much for the kind words! Actually, most of what I wrote (and how I solved my problem) was exactly the kind of stuff that I learned in storyboarding class with Old Man Merideth.

    And thankfully I did get to finish my short. If you haven't seen it, you can look at my other blogger on here: I posted the video if you ever want to check it out. I'd love to hear what you think about it, too.

    I'll try to post more about animation on here more often. I've gotten carried away with all of the other blogs that I own and have been neglecting this one. That will be remedied (since I'm actually having trouble on some 11 Second Club stuff that I should be doing right now, haha).