AM - Class 4 / Week 4 - Lecture

Secondary Action.

Some notes from this great lecture presented by Jason Schliefer.

When molding a piece of clay, usually you would start off by sculpting the basic large shapes to see how its going to form, then you get into the small details, same principle applies to character animation, you don't want to go into the little gestures and fine details in the shot unless you are totally satisfied with the main action.

Secondary action is not (as many might think) overlap, drag, or follow through; secondary action is the small actions the character dose to support the main action/purpose of the shot!   It helps defining who the character is.

Secondary action is important for:
- Making the characters more believable & making the audience believe that they are watching a living breathing thing.
- Enhancing character personality, if he is happy, sad, nerves.. etc.
- Breaking off repetitive timing to make something like a walk cycle much more interesting.

When people are talking to each other they will not be static, they'll be gesturing with there hands, or maybe scratching there head, or they'll do things that is some how related to the conversation they're having; in order to create a believable animation performance you'll need to add such gestures to your characters.

The surrounding environment around the character can play a big role in creating the secondary actions, use the props & environment around the characters to help selling the the fact that they do exist in that environment, & remember we're not animating characters in the middle of nowhere, make them touch things around them, pick things up, look around etc.  but remember not to over do it, because it could be distracting to the audience.

If you think about who your character is, & where they're coming from, & what there intention is, this will affect the types of acting choices that you make in terms of secondary actions; pay a close attention for the personality of your character and think about the subtle things that you can add to enhance what they're saying based on who they are & what they're talking about.

Try to stay away from over gestured performance; find the right subtle level that is not distracting the idea of the shot, and don't try to force any secondary action that dose not feel suitable, if you tried something that doesn't seem to work, DO NOT be afraid to just throw it away & try a new one.

Another thing to stay away from is Cliche ideas in character gesturing, like a character wiping his eyes while crying, or big smiley face when the character is happy; the point is to try new gestures unlike whatever you've seen before, and the best way to fish for new ideas for gesturing is to film yourself acting the shot, because you will do spontaneous gestures that 
you'll never be able to think about otherwise, and when you watch it playback you see that there are so many little things that you can add to your character performance.


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