Friday, March 21, 2008

Video Reference II

Kevin writes:.

... If you’re shooting reference to copy from, rather than to learn from, then you won’t advance as an animator. Just copying will help you produce a particular shot with more nuance and better biomechanics, but you risk becoming an overfed mo-cap machine. In fact, one of the things that makes most mo-cap look unsatisfactory is that there’s no discrimination to what’s captured. A mo-cap system captures as much data as it can, without judgment. The key, distinctive elements of a behavior are given the same weight as random, irrelevant movements (while some key information is completely missed).

As an animator using any kind of reference, we have to have the intelligence and artistic judgment to edit out the ‘noise’ and exaggerate the good stuff. Ah, yes, exaggeration. One of Frank and Ollie’s 12 principles, and one which many people consider the very soul of animation ...

We want to go far beyond any form of rotoscoping or roto-lite. As I’ve said, I’m a crap actor. The last thing I want is animation that’s a little bit better than what I can do as an actual actor. I want animation that’s a million times more interesting than any performance I could ever do.

So, should we avoid shooting our own reference if we aren’t great actors? I don’t think so. Reference is a chance to go beyond the ‘rules of thumb’ that have been handed down. It’s a chance to avoid using the lore we’ve learned from other animators, and observe for ourselves how something really works ... .


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