View Full Version : Independent Study: Emotion

06 June 2004, 06:17 PM
Hello all,

This past quarter at SCAD I spent some of my spare time working on getting emotion across in my animation. I figured I knew fairly well how to move a character, but the emotion wasn't there. I realized what animation was all about, and it was about acting. I feel I am finally starting to see the true side and more importantly have more fun with animating. So with that in mind I persued an independent study on my own. most of these animations took me about 10-15 hours each with the exception of the last animation of Jason Osipa's face rig, which took me about 2 hours.

Click here to visit my Independent Study:web site (

I felt the quarter was successful and that I achieved a certain level of emotion and acting, however small of a level it was. My final project 1 class yeilded the fruits of this labor and many of you have seen the film but if not click here for Quark (23mb) (

What I would like to know is if anyone else thinks I was somewhat successful at portraying emotion, possible improvements to work on next time, maybe even a common theme that I seem to be getting wrong or right in all of my stuff. Any kind of crit really would be good. I just need an outside opinion.

thank you. //benno

p.s. i want to thank Jason Osipa for a kick a** facial rig. i am using your awesome example in my next character animation. my character is a mix of the Pakage Man body rig with your facial set-up.

06 June 2004, 05:32 PM
I think you're on the right track.

There are, however, some fundamental problems with some of your animations, in terms of communication and weight.

I like the humble one the best. You're not trying to do too much here, and I think that's one thing that's hurting your other animations. Good poses, nice fluid motion...humble is definitely my fav.

So, without further ado, here's your critique.


This is an interesting study in moving sliders around, but I'm not getting much else out of it. It's great that you understand how this face rig works, and I think I know what you are going want to show emotion change through the course of an animation. The problem is, you give no reason for why his emotion is changing. At the beginning, he's a ranting lunatic, near the end, he is a calmer character who can't seem to fully smile.
I guess that's another thing about this one that bothers seems that the face is fluctuating too much with seemingly random motivation.

So, to me, this looks like a rig test. As a rig test, it certainly shows that you know how to use Osipa's methods, but as an animation, it doesn't do anything for me.


Right off the bat...the mechanics of this animation are seriously lacking. I know you're concentrating on acting here, but the walk he does is seriously lacking. His hips should be rotating alot more, and his spine should be rotating to counter the hips, etc.
His hips should be rising and falling with each step. In short, he has no weight.

The arms during the walk seem very floaty. It looks like you are using IK here, but setting as few keys as possible to achieve what you are looking for. The transition into his "stealth" pose needs more overlapping action, it's very very stiff and unnatural right now.

The character does not settle well at the end of the animation, the arms seem to move abrubtly right before it cuts. When I animate, and I know that I'm going to end the shot (with no following shot) I try to aboid having my characters do abrupt moves before the cut. Try to have him settle more right at the end

Acting wise, it's ok, you're getting kind of cliche with his reaction to the plunger hit.


Good stuff here. Not much to critique, a bit of floatiness here and there, but I like this overall. However, your hips COMPLETELY stop moving at around the 5 second mark. This is bad. Watch it and you'll see what I mean, it seems like he "pops" up and freezes at his root.

I like how he's thinking and doing small things with his hands. Good internalization here, he seems slightly uncomfortable with his surroundings, and this works well with the humble theme. Maybe a better name for it would be shy.


This one is nice too, but again, it ends oddly. You don't give him enought time to settle after those last hand gestures. Iron that out a bit and it will be good.

Nice acting, could use a bit more refinement in the face area.
I like his bounciness in his movements, they play well to his confident attitude.


Of this piece, I enjoyed the first shot the most. After that, I don't really understand what he is trying to do. Is he trying to rip open a can of tuna fish? If he is, you might want to consider changing the prop, because the believability of that is zero. Staging wise, a bottle would work much better, as we've all been in that situation before, and you'll be able to pose him in ways that communicate that more effectively. Opening a can like that just doesn't do it for me. If he is trying to open a can of tuna, would he try to pull the top off? Probably not, I'd imagine him trying to bite into it or smash through it.

Anyway, aside from that, you have some floatiness in the hands that could be cleaned up. This would actually help sell this animation a bit better.

During your second shot, your hips once again come to a deadlock. You need to fix this.

So there ya have it, my 2 cents. I think you're on the right track, but it's hard to judge an emotional animation when there is no visible cause for that animaton. The frustration piece comes close to solving this, as you give him motivation for his anger.

Now...the mechanics. Good acting is not going to be noticed if your hips lock halfway through an animation. Keep in mind that the people who view reels are looking for things wrong with your work. They are going to dig for imperfections when the watch it.

Use that martial arts knowledge of yours to clean up some of those mechanical problems. I did martial arts for 7 years, played ice hockey and soccer, and dabbled in gymnastics in college, all of which helped me understand how a character needs to move in order to look believable. Not realistic, mind you...but believable. Pixar characters don't move realistically all of the time, but they move in a way that's believable.

Keep at it, you're getting better.



06 June 2004, 10:02 PM

much love! thank you. I think some of the things you picked up on, especially in the frustration piece, were because I was running out of time. h aha. I HATE that frustration piece! ironic huh. I totally agree with you crits. I didn't even notice the hips "freezing" here and there.

The reason I animated the cartoon one the way I did was because I wanted to animate in a way that I hadn't before. I was trying to get it across as cartoony. I think you are right that it turns out looking stiff and akward. I guess I should have known that cartoony can still be believable.

I agree also with the last one. I think I have too much movement in it. not a lot of motivation either.

also thanks for the input of how I end my pieces. i shall try to not end them so weirdly or abruptly. i guess i know what i'm doing put that doesn't mean my viewer knows.

i think quark was much better.

thank you again!!


06 June 2004, 04:16 PM
FRUSTRATION: I perfectly agree with greg and there isn't much I can add except for the en of the frustration pieve. The position of the hands is awkward. His hands seem to be stuck and I get the feeling that he's not comfortable with his right hand.
Also he bounces a little bit too much after throwing the can of whatever he was holding

COCKY: The first time he points out is very short, it feels like a half action movement.

LOW ESTEEM: In my opinion, the low esteem animation is the hardest to critique here because of the lack of story. This emotion is very hard to picture because there are so many possibilities depending on the senario. is he afraid to talk to a girl? afraid to jump off a plane? get into a public speech? etc.

CARTOON: Nothing to add to greg's comment.

PIXARISH: Again a very fast change of mood and expression. I would take my time in expressing one emotion with slight variations rather than putting a series of emotion. A small story would help too, and if possible, a body. There's SO MUCH going on with the body in every emotion that it would be a pity not to have one.

Other than that, very nice animation.

06 June 2004, 11:55 PM
thanks rony for your crits and your time! I know there were a few clips. crits registered. again thank you much!


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