AM - Class 5 / Week 3 - Lecture

Multiple Characters.

In this lecture Jason talks about the things we need to keep in mind while animating a shot with multiple characters, and
how to get a good relation in between characters to keep them connected.

He started off by labeling the types of multi-character shots :
Over the shoulder, characters facing camera, one character in focus & the others are around it, two characters having a conversation with a character off screen, & last, an Action shot. The list could go on & on but these are the famous ones.

Be a ware of the relationship the characters has in the shot, for instance, if you have shot with two characters & they know each other well they would stand close and more facing towards each other, if they are strangers they would keep some distance.  So just based on the character's position in frame will let us determine there relation & intimacy. 

Secondary or background characters are active participants in the shot, position them in a way that is related to the main character, background characters position reveals something about there relationship to the main character, adjust there head to be facing the main character, this will direct the audience eyes towards what they're looking at which is in this case the hero character, don't just make them standing there doing nothing, add eye-darts, breathing, & some subtle facial expression to keep them live, but remember not to over animate them because it will get distracting.

Here is Jason's workflow when working on a multi-character shot:
Study the intention of the shot, then setup an initial staging of the shot with rough poses; submit your work to the director/supervisor for approval If it gets approved then you can move to the blocking stage.
When blocking keyframe all characters at the same frame, this will make things easier for you later, & don't worry bout all the technical stuff like constraints & parenting, keep all that for later, while blocking try to make the rhythm of the shot feeling good, get the director's approval, then move to the first animation pass.  At this stage you can work on the main characters first then jump to the secondary ones. As for polishing, you should focus on finessing each of the characters as if you're working on a single character shot.

Quick notes:
- When animating a shot with a group of characters (three or a above)  you would need to control the actions of these character so it will not be a chaos, and use them to drive the eyes of the audience to where you want them to look at.
- When ever a character is talking in a shot, the other character's performance is tuned down.
- When animating multiple characters in a shot, make sure that each one of them has an individual purpose & state of mind, and also they have to work well together to serve the purpose of the shot.
- Secondary character's gestures should support the actions of the main character.
- Contrast in action draws the viewer attention to what ever is different, whether its a slow character in a fast moving crowds, or a fast character is moving a slow crowds.
- Always let the first character finish its action first, then let the other character start its action.


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