AM - Class 3 / Week12- Lecture

A review of the Advanced Body Mechanics Class.

- Clarity in staging, camera angles/moves, posing, props, all should be serving the aim of the shot.
- Clean arcs & path of action, some times simple, sometimes complex, but always clean & properly tracked.
- Animation is about communication, and Phrasing is a great way to create a clear communication with the audience.
- Analyze the center of gravity 'Fulcrum' in your character while animating to create a believable performance.
- The importance of planing, shooting reference, and taking notes, always show your work to others for feedback.
- Breaking down the overlapping action, and the relation of the legs, spine, arms, and head, the lead & follow principal.
- You can prepare the audience that an action is about to happen by adding anticipation.
- Clarity in ideas, clarity in poses, clarity in movement.
- Creating different timing for actions to add texture to the animation, so it will feel more dynamic.
- Spacing makes the character alive.

AM - Class 3 / Week11- Lecture

Design Applied to Animation.

This was more of a philosophical / scientific lecture by Mark Oftedal.
Marks says: Everyone in the audience has a certain pleasure buttons in there brains, & our job as animators is to 
find these buttons and try to press them!! Very intriguing!

Few notes:

- One pleasure buttons is in appealing staging, Staging as defined in The Illusion of Life "The presentation of an idea so that its completely & unmistakably clear"

- Neural scientist believes that the human visual system depends -while looking at any image- on the group of things and the edges of things in that image for the brain to process, that's why animators always talk about the importance of silhouette.

- Mark showed a simple illustration of a large empty square with a small triangle inside it, and just by changing the position of that triangle inside the square you'll get different emotions like: loneliness, danger, balance.. etc.. it was pretty amazing actually!   Depending on where you place elements on the screen it will trigger certain emotions, Further on; shapes placement on screen will direct the audience eyes to a certain direction, for instance, a circular shape contains the viewers eyes inside that shape, triangular shape drives the viewers eyes to the direction the triangle is pointing to.
So keep in mind using the graphic design elements in the scene & the silhouette of the characters to support the 
idea and drive the eye direction of the viewer to the places you want them to look at.

- Eric Goldberg says " Round shapes and pear shapes are comfortable to look at, while angular shapes are more difficult to look at & perceived as more sophisticated"

- Exaggeration is very important in animation because it will get a greater response from the audience, but it works the best when finding what's the essence of the scene, and exaggerate that, its all about making the right decision 
on which part of the scene you should exaggerate.

- Appeal dose not necessary means pretty, appeal means interesting to look at, so the opposite of appealing in not ugly, its boring, somethings could be very ugly yet has appeal to it.
Appeal is a broad subject, there are lots of visual element that could be appealing and presses our pleasure buttons, like: Straights & Angles, Repetition & Variations, Symmetry & Balance.

Focus on applying these principles into your animation to make it better, so when people watch your work they will fall in love with it!! without knowing what exactly made them to!!

AM - Class 3 / Week10- Lecture

Advanced Timing and Spacing.

A traditional cell animation lecture By the famous Eric Goldberg.  Eric showed us how he handles a 2D animated 
shot from start to finish, its kind of a 'Blocking to Final' lecture, but in 2D. 
Eric draws the storytelling poses (key poses) without worrying about timing, then he draws his secondary keys, 
times everything out, then he starts drawing the breakown poses & the inbetweens.

In description of the difference between a key pose & a breakdown, He said: If 'Key Poses' are what the character 
is doing, 'Breakdowns' are how the character dose it.


AM - Class 3 / Week 9 - Lecture

Blocking to Final.

This time by Jason Ryan.  For those of you who don't already know Jason, he is a supervising animator at DreamWorks, and recently established his own animation school iAnimate.

Jason is very famous for planing his 3D animation in 2D using Flipbook before jumping into Maya, check out his website 
for some animation demos.


AM - Class 3 / Week 8 - Lecture

Clarity and Overlapping Ideas.

As animators, we tend to over complicate things because we have so many ideas on our mind & we want to get all 
of them on screen - That totally describes my situation.
In this lecture Bobby explains how we can keep our ideas clear and easy to read by the audience.

Clarity of ideas is one of the skills that is not very easy grasp in animation.  When talking about clarity in animation we're talking about : clarity in 'Posing' and clarity in 'Movement'.  We cant have a clarity in movement without having a clear poses, clear posing comes with clear silhouette,   clarity in movement comes with:
- Simplicity in the movement.
- Exaggerating certain gestures to help making the action more clear.
- Careful acting choice, and keeping your character opened to camera so the audience will have a clear view of the character.
- Showing your shot to others to see what's there immediate reaction.

There are some common mistakes that animators fall into while animating, stuff like :
- Having too many ideas in a shot to a degree that it becomes very complicated ( I'm suffering from that in my shots )
- Having too much movement or what we call over animating which is confusing to the audience ( I do have that as well )
- Putting details in the wrong place, you should concentrate on the main core of the shot & spend most of the time getting 
that right, then start adding small details where it matters the most.
- Forgetting about the basic animation principles while animating.
- Letting Maya do the inbetweens for you ( lazy animator )

Overlapping Ideas: if you lay down your ideas in a scene without overlap it will look very lame, when you overlap ideas they become alive and interesting, but some times beginner animators overlap ideas to a degree that it will become very confusing to the viewer, and that's when 'Holds' become handy, holding a pose on screen for some time will help clarifying that pose;  Its just a matter of keeping balance between overlapping ideas & holding poses for some time on screen.  

Subconsciously, we tend to over animate a shot because we see lots of opportunities to add overlapping action, and we get carried away to a degree that we forget the main purpose of that shot, To prevent that from happening we need to know what is the point of that scene & focus everything around it, planing, posing, acting, and keep it as clear & readable as possible, & always show your work to your peers to know if you are going on the right track.


Snapshots I took few years ago during a shooting trip in Sudan.
Hope you like it :)

AM - Class 3 / Week 7 - Lecture


What is Phrasing?? Well.. phrasing its defining the beat & rhythm in a shot, each time you hit a pose in a character it creates a beat or what is called a 'Phrase'
Phrasing helps you clarify the ideas your trying to tell in a scene by breaking it up into beats, so you're telling the audience one thing at a time, sometimes you'll need to combine beats in a shot in order to make it more interesting, and that's what is called 'Overlapping Ideas'

Texture in animation is creating some contrast & variation in the timing so it will not feel linear, we can achieve that by having slow animation in some parts, followed by fast movement in others; the main thing is that you don't want your 'phrases' to have a unified tempo, slow settle movement against fast broad movements creates a very nice texture in a shot.

ALL ACTIONS ARE DRIVEN BY THOUGHTS, this is what we called before in the 'Force' lecture 'Internal Force'
A nice tip we got from the lecture which was: in order to show that separate actions of a character are motivated by a single thought in that character's head, just simply overlap these actions to connect them together.

Phrasing should be as clear as possible and easy to read by the audience, that can be achieved mainly by having a clear posing, without too many poses to express a single attitude or phrase.  Ollie Johnston once said ' each scene should be able to be expressed with only two or three drawings'  this might not be the case with scenes are more complex now a days, but it certainly something worth exploring in order to keep phrasing as simple as possible.

When phrasing a shot with a dialog, try using the holds in the dialog to create the phrases, but that's not always the case, some times phrases could overlap with each other to support a certain emotion.

At the end.. Phrasing is all about clarity in communication, & that is what's animation is all about.. Clarity of Communication!

AM - Class 3 / Week 6 - Lecture

Advanced Overlap & Anticipation.

Quick notes :

- Just a reminder! overlapping action is breaking of movement so it dose not feel mechanical or fake.

- The 'Lead & Follow  Principal ' and 'Reversals Principal' gives a very interesting fluid feel to the animation. 

- Anticipation before movement leads the eyes of the audience to the next action & prepares them that something is about 
to happen.

- Anticipation is related to the action follows, settle anticipation for settle movement, big anticipation for broad movements.

- Anticipation should not always be big & noticeable, it could be something as simple as an eye dart before speaking, or 
pushing the hip an inch to the right before a walk to the left.

- Don't always choose a cliche anticipation, try experimenting with something new.

A great advice we got from Bobby during this lecture, He said : If you just animate.. that is great! but if you want to push your work forward you need to look for references, or shoot your own reference, and while you are animating show the stages to others to get feedback.. and that what will make your work becomes better & better!

I always keep reminding myself about references because, even now.. I still sometimes get carried away & start animating without doing my reference homework.