Wednesday, 12 May 2010
When I went back to my dancer to improve her spinning, I discovered that I had somehow well and truly made a mess of her. I don't know how sleep deprived I was when I originally animated this, but the upon closer inspection of each frame its clear I wasn't focusing properly. In order to show the differences between the original and the revised version (as they are rather subtle) I have pasted each individual drawing next to each other, and as you can see above, she somehow swaps the leg she's standing on in the fourth and fifth drawings and then swaps back again. It seems I managed to get away with this last time due to the stick-man/silhouette nature of the characters, as it can be difficult for the eyes to distinguish which limbs are in front and which are behind when they move quickly. But the fact remains that this was a glaring error on my part which needed to fixed, and that is exactly what I have done.
First I fixed the drawings where the legs were opposite of what they should be, then I altered a second set of the original ten frames so the alternative leg is in front, thus allowing the girl to change the leg she's spinning on after one twirl. I made sure to vary some of the poses in the second set so they weren't identical to the first; making it easier for the eye to read the difference in the movement and define which leg is in front and which is behind (advice often given by Richard Williams in The Animator's Survival Kit). I changed the eighth and ninth frames in each set to make it look like she's putting the leg currently in the air down while hopping up with the other one (and so changing legs). Lastly I positioned the tenth frame of the first set slightly to the left (and all the frames following it in the second set), and the tenth frame of the second set slightly to the right (so it falls back in line with the first frame of the first set when it loops), again to help the eye follow the slight change in action when the legs switch. Plus it is unlikely that anyone spinning at a fast speed will hop into exactly the same spot when they change legs.
Admittedly even now you can't see a great deal of difference between this and the original version due to how fast she spins, but I still think it looks a little better than my first attempt and I'm glad I went back to fix it. If she was larger I think the error would have been a lot more obvious. I've decided to keep just the two of them (the dancer and the guy waving his arms) in the full scene simply because they fill the space quite nicely as they are. I tried drawing a third person into the background of one frame but it just looked too crowded, and the third person was lost amidst the action of the other two, so I think I will leave it as it is for now.