In which position to build characters?

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In which position to build characters?

Post by JoelMayer » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:11 pm

Hi there!

After a few much too ambitious first attempts in Anime Studio, i have now storyboarded a little 30 second short i want to make. I'm currently sketching out characters but i have a question:

I have one character that will probably just shown from the side view but i want to stay flexible and also allow myself to maybe turn his head here and there. Same with the other characters and the rest of the body.

Now, should i draw them in Anime Studio all from the Front first or from the side and then add Smartboney and move the points around? One character also has a pretty big nose which will be a challenge to turn in three dimensions i think.

What method do you prefer?

Thanks a lot and cheers!
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Re: In which position to build characters?

Post by heyvern » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:44 pm

If you have a storyboard and you are certain of how the final animation will be produced, it would make sense to do only just what you need for the project. If during animation and production of your animation you decide you need more, you could then add in a new pose or smart bone action for a character.

I have seen people using Anime Studio who actually model characters in the posed position of a specific scene. For example draw the character sitting in a chair, add bones to animate simple motion of arms and legs face etc but in that position. This can save a truck load of effort rigging. You don't have to create a fully posable character that can bend and sit down if you don't actually need it.

Imagine you have a single character and throughout the entire animation there are only a few very different angles or poses required for each scene. You could draw and rig those as separate versions. Rigging could be simplified and the work flow sped up on production.

Another thing that came up in another topic here are how few "head turn" positions you really need. Head turns are some sort of holy grail for many of us, but in reality full smooth turning is not needed. Watch many cartoons and animated commercials and you will see that head turns can be quick with very few inbetweens. This saves lots of time and if done correctly can still look really good and be effective.

Just some of my opinions.

I have this horrible condition... that compels me to create fully posable characters with no restrictions. I will draw and rig a character from the front view and then the rig will allow for full motion and posing. This is a result of my use of 3D and never wanting to be restricted in posing a character. It's a very time consuming way of working. ;)

In 2D, less is often better. If you watch a lot of "behind the scenes" for big animation projects, they often have very tight storyboards with guidelines for the characters position in the scene. This eliminates work that is never needed.
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Re: In which position to build characters?

Post by Danimal » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:22 pm

heyvern wrote:head turns can be quick with very few inbetweens.
They almost always are. People never slowly turn their head unless it's for some kind of dramatic effect.

I agree that if your character only faces the side, only draw and rig from the side. If you need further poses, add them in down the line. And if you do need to change character positons, please, I beg of you, please consider doing so with some kind of switch layer changes and not with smart bones. With very few exceptions, head and/or body turn rigs border on comical they look so unrealistic. Meanwhile a simple switch between two or three frames will convey the same motion in a way that's far easier on you and less distracting for the audience.
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Re: In which position to build characters?

Post by JoelMayer » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:36 pm

Thanks to both of you for your answers.

I'll definately think about Switch Layers instead of Smartbones exept for some Facial Stuff... I'm working on the character now and will post it as soon as i'm finished drawing it, maybe it will give you a better idea what kind of style is more suited ;) Thanks again!
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Re: In which position to build characters?

Post by Lostmymarbles » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:45 pm

I would probably recommend the 3/4 view adopted by Family Guy/ American dad etc. This is more ' in your face' than the traditional side.

Switches are ideal for head turns - but I would recommend not having the lips on a seperate switch layer to the face as a lot of users do because this causes glitches when mouths move during speech - for each mouth movement letter just have the whole face and lips in one switch layer ( check out some of the youtube videos The Whartleys and you'll see why having lips on a seperate layer to the rest of the face is not the best route )
Unless your hair on your character is long you should not have too much trouble.
I struggled quite a bit when I produced a daffy duck model in ANime Studio - the head turns looked a little jerky - but the simple solution was that a smooth head turn from front to side can have up to five frames of movement to look really smooth ( which is what Looney toons characters often have trust me on this ) - and when using switches for head turns it is best not to overcomplicate things with too many of them.
Look forward to seeing the result - can't wait for you to upload it !
Everybody shoot me ....
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