Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Exercise 2: Chorus Line
Hash, Inc. Forums > Technical Direction and Development (Learning Animation:Master) > The Art of Animation:Master (TaoA:M) < New Users Start Here! > TaoA:M and the A:M Technical Reference
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Note: Users of A:M 2006 (Yeti CD) please read information at this link for more on troubleshooting a problem with the Knight's knees. Read about it HERE .

The Art of Animation Master Part I: Animation

1 - You're the Director
2 - A Chorus Line
3 - Move It
4 - It's a Pitch
5 - Take a Walk
6 - The Door's Stuck
7 - Can You Say That?
The Art of Animation:Master
Exercise 2: Chorus Line

Image courtesy Dan Roberts

Approx. time to complete: 20 Minutes
This exercise is a quick one! It is comprised of an introduction to the basic concepts of Populating, Lighting, Actions, and Rendering.

Turn to page 21 in The Art of Animation:Master and begin...

Web/Online ( 5MB )
Download Zip ( 4.5MB )

Additional Information
Immediately following Exercise 2 is a discussion about Animation.
This discussion begins on page 27 and ends on page 36.

Topics discussed:
Talent Pool
Keys to Animating
The 10 Animation Ingredients (updated for computers)
-Pose to Pose
-Anticipation and Overshoot
-Follow through
-Balance and Weight
-Secondary Action
-Squash and Stretch

Before we delve deeper, check out the excellent presentation on The History of Animation by Hash Inc's very own Ken Baer!


Anticipation and Overshoot
If the viewer is watching another part of the screen, it takes about a fifth of a second (6 frames) after a new object moves before the viewer can refocus on that movement. Essentially, the viewer misses the beginning of the movement, so you, as the animator, should make a preliminary movement before the main movement (called "anticipation") to attract the viewer's attention. An example of anticipation is drawing back a character's foot before a big kick; by the time the viewer is watching, the leg will begin its swing. Movement that is important to the narrative especially requires anticipation, however if the viewer is expecting the next action then the anticipating movement can be shortened.

For emphasis of important action (action critical to the narrative), the movement should "overshoot". An example of overshoot is an arm stretching too far while pointing a finger, then snapping back.

Follow Through (Secondary Action)
We see the results of dynamics all around us in our everyday life. Secondary action due to dynamics is called "follow through" in animator parlance. For example, a character's hair whipping around when it turns its head quickly is follow through. A rabbit's ears, coat tails, hat plumes, cigarette smoke, etc., all require follow through. These parts of the character specifically cannot use the same keyframes as the rest of the character they must be delayed several frames depending on the amount of follow through required.

Balance and Weight
As humans, we immediately recognize if someone loses their balance and is about to fall over. We intuitively know what is "balanced". One of the things that makes animation funny is when it violates these balance expectations BUT, other than a storyline gag, characters MUST remain balanced! If a character appears off-balance, yet never falls down, the narrative is ruined because you have confused the viewer's senses. Because of our expectations of what happens when something is out of balance, balance hints of upcoming action. If a character's pelvis is shifted to the right, then its shoulders surely must be shifted to the left to maintain balance. If the character leans forward and points, he certainly should stretch his other arm behind him to even things up. You should exaggerate weight shifts to accentuate it.

A "balance" line is an imaginary vertical line that bisects the character between the two furthest spaced points of support. If the mass of the character is not evenly distributed on both sides of the line the character appears unbalanced.

Traditional animators stress weight above all other aspects. Does the movement look as if it's controlled by gravity? Is there appropriate follow through animation? Ease certainly contributes to the feeling of weight, but weight must be considered for each keyframe whether anything is moving or not.

The character must be balanced before holding.
A "look" off screen needs a half second of hold (15 frames) before cutting to what the character sees.
Allow two thirds of a second (20 frames) for each word of a title card for reading time.
The "freeze" position at the end of a fast throw is held for half a second (15 frames).
After a character stands up quickly, the pose is held for a third of a second (10 frames) before the next movement.

Avoid having all parts of a character start or stop at the same time.

Further Reading
For an exhausting explanation on the topic of timing, read:
"Timing for Animation" by Harold Whitaker and John Halas
(FOCAL PRESS LTD. ISBN 0 240 50871 8).
"How To Draw Animation" by Christopher Hart
(WATSON-GUPTILL PUB. ISBM 0 8230 2365 6)
Name: Den Dotson

Exercises Completed: Two am I on a roll or what?
Date Completed: Saturday March 12, 2005

Instructor: Rodney (we like to call him "the man") and that guy on the web tutorials

Remarks/Suggestions for Improvement: Loving it!

What a guy won't do for a FREE certificate. I LOVE FREE STUFF!

Here is a link to the second completed exercise:

Thanks Rodney,
Here's my completed assignment for Exercise 2. I hope I didn't go to Vegas on ya.

Name: Chris Thom

Exercises Completed: 2

Date Completed: Apr 9, 05

Instructor: Rodney

Remarks/Suggestions for Improvement: This is fun going back to the basics. I find myself taking some of this stuff for granted.
Lookout Den and Dhar... He's gaining on ya! blink.gif

This is fun going back to the basics.

I agree... I was amazed with how much fun... and what I learned when I started going through TAoA:M again last year.

Please write down things that spring to your attention as you go through the exercises and we'll add them in to the 'Additional Information/Extra Credit' areas after the exercises.

Nice lighting/spotlight effect Chris!

I'm working on tweaking mine right now, and was trying (with some difficulty) to figure out how to put spot lights on the characters, since they are "on stage."

Now I see that Chris was thinking along the same lines.

Hey, how did you get those lights to have such a nice defined edge like that?

Right now, mine are indistinct at best, and I have my intensity set to something like 340% just to get it visible at all. I'm definitely open to suggestions from anyone here!

Here's my work-in-progress so you can see what I mean about my stationary spotlight:

Hopefully Chris will reveal his secrets.

If I had to guess (which I do) I'd say he enclosed his scene in a box to limit the light and added his personal touches from there.


You're lighting is definitely different... more moody I'd say. smile.gif

exercise 2

On to exercise 3!

No direct relationship to Cindy (PixelDust).


Well, here's my exercise 2! Poor Shaggy is a clutz in mine I'm afraid.

# Completed: 2!

Instructor: the manual, Rodney and pretty much everyone else here. smile.gif

Comments: Lovin' it so far, ready to take on #3.

Link to vid:
My cancan avi.

Good work.

Love Shaggy's fall.
Hee hee. smile.gif

Kim and Steve,

Watching both your animations in order brings a new sense and perspective to the storyline (Can Can Review) that viewing them apart cannot.

Seeing Kim's round and round by itself can make you dizzy...
No wonder Steve's Shaggy was falling down. tongue.gif

Great job Kim and Steve! smile.gif
Name: Tenez Waggoner

Exercises Completed: 2, Chorus Line

Date Completed: May 12, 2005

Instructor: None

Remarks/Suggestions for Improvement: None that I can think of at the moment

Until I get some webspace. You'll just have to look at a screenshot
If you can keep the file size under 1Meg, you can upload your movies straight to the forum. Another handy feature of this place. smile.gif
Thanks Rodney, for your kind comments about ex nr 1! It made me work harder with the next excersice and here is the result for now.

I have an avi file, size 880 kb, but the file is not accepted by the forum? What is wrong?
Unless mistaken, the AVI file format is not an accepted format for uploading to the forum. There are several workarounds:

- Upload the file to another webspace and link to it from the forum.
- Use a program such as Winzip to compress the file into the .ZIP format. Then upload it to the forum.
- Use a program/utility to convert the AVI to an animated .GIF image. Then upload it to the forum.

I believe the forum will accept .MOV files as well but I don't think I've ever tried it.

Thanks for the help - so many things to learn... so until I have got some webspace, here comes my rarfile.

Great thing this forum!
Very nicely done. Pretty too.

It doesn't do your lighting justice but I wanted to post your animation for others to see. They've slowed down a bit in the conversion to gif. My apologies for the small size too.

Great job.
I'm happy you liked it! Thank you.

Here's the next one in the line. I am loving the simplicity and ease of this program. I have used many 3d packages in the past and by far like this one the most.

Name: Leo Mitchell

Exercise # 2

Completed: 25 May 2005

Instructor: Web tuts and manual

I like the idea of being able to create actions and then drag them onto other characters as well as save them for future use. It makes animating even easier.

Reusable action... oh yeah! smile.gif

Great job Leo.

As time allows everyone should definitely check out The Reusable Motion Forum moderated by Michael Fitzgerald. In that area of the forum they expand a lot on ways to get the most out of actions in A:M.

I've learned a lot there.
Name: Robert Harris

Exercise: Chorus Line.

Date Completed: May 27th, 2005

Am learning alot from these....

Thanks for the kind words Rod.....
Name: Paula Waslen

Exercise: 2

Completed: 27 May 2005

This one took me time to get it small enough to post, so I guess I learned a little bit about different render settings.
Apologies Robert and Paula! I'm falling behind on my responses.

As has been said above the lessons here about reusability definitely come in handy.
Whether using specific actions created for character rigs such as in this exercise or creating your own setups for models of any sort reusablility can save you lots of time.

Good job on the can can (both of you).

Exercise 2

Completed: 30/5/2005

Name: Doug Fall

Exercises Completed: #2

Date Completed: May 30, 2005

Instructor: Rodney

Remarks/Suggestions for Improvement: Why can't a rabbit be taller than a knight in full armor?

Neil and Doug,
Good job.

Doug... that is one small knight... or really large rabbit and Shaggy. wink.gif
Is it fine if I just render a shaded mode for these? I love doing these excersises!
I'm sorry I don't have much complex action here..all I did was do as the instructor said in the video and rendered it out smile.gif

Name: Jacob R.

Completed: #1, #2

Date: 6/08/05

Is it fine if I just render a shaded mode for these?

It is more than fine. Having different views of the same exercise keeps me interested.

Good job on this one! A:M's Shaded view is pretty darn good lookin'. smile.gif
Name: Paul Mcgrade

Exercise Completed: Exercise 2: Chorus Line

Date Completed: June 10th, 2005

Instructor: None
Looks like you are on the move Paul.
Nice Can Can. smile.gif
Here's my contribution. As you can see, I decided after frame 45 that I really didn't want to wait for 8 hours, so I cancelled the render and restarted it from that point but not multipass (before I was doing 16 with motion blur). The low quality compression gives some interesting effects with the stripes on the curtain. I thought I'd mess with the lights a bit too.

Name: Zev Eisenberg
Exercise Completed: Exercise 2 "Chorus Line"
Date Competed: 20 June 2005
Remarks/Suggestions: This one allows for a lot of variation and originality.

Fun camera zooming there.

The only big difference I saw was on Rabbit's shadow.
About 1/3 of the way into the animation it suddenly sharpens.
The other two shadows don't seem to change much.

Yeah, I had started with multipass, and I had made the shadow softer for some reason. Then I switched back to singles pass and the rest, as they say, is history. I almost like the sharper shadow better. I just thought of another way to present this: At 00:00 we see the shadows dancing in equal circles of light, the rabbit dwarfing the other two. Then the camera moves back revealing the rabbit to be much smaller... Maybe not original on the grand scale of things, but I might try it. Thanks for the feedback.
Name: Kenneth Wong

Exercises Completed: Exercise 2: Chorus Line

Date Completed: 23rd June 2005 at 00:13 blink.gif

Instructor: Just the book

Remarks/Suggestions for Improvement: None

Things get a bit more difficult after this rolleyes.gif


Things get a bit more difficult after this

Good job on this one Ken.
While the exercises do get progressively more difficult as they go on it is safe to say they get a lot more fun too! smile.gif
Name: John Bauer

Exercises Completed: Exercise 2: Chorus Line
Date Completed: June 21

Instructor: Den Dotson
Looks like we could only afford the cheap tickets and sit in the back row. - Rodney biggrin.gif
Linda Bridges
Chorus Line
Completed: June 21, 2005
Instructor: Den Dotson
Name: Daniel Koroby
Exercise Completed: Ex 2: Chorus Line
Date Completed: June 21
Instructor: Den Dotson

I'm thinking maybe Den Dotson is your instructor here. He is quite a talent.
You (Linda and Daniel) look like you are in the same class together.

If that is the case... more power to you. It's always more fun to learn with someone else. smile.gif
Doug Wills
Finished Exercise 2 on 6/6/05
Using manual and tutorial video

Including a 3D still because the video is too big.

I did notice something interesting. When rendering (or previewing in shaded mode) the Knight character starts off with one foot slightly kicked up. In addition to that, the rabbit character has a wicked twist to his foot about 3/4 of the way through the can can cycle.

I thought that maybe I did something wrong (like move the foot or mistakenly add an odd key frame) but I started over 5 times and always got the same results. In fact, if you look at many of the samples in this forum, it appears others are having the same problem, at least with the rabbits foot. Just step through frame-by-frame to see what I mean.

Is there a fix to these issues? Or should I just not worry about it (I don't see me using the can can too often anyway.) Interestingly, it doesn't appear to effect Shaggy.

OK, I definitely have something going on that is strange. It seems that when I add the Knight, most of the time he starts off with one of his two feet slightly cocked up and to the side. It is usually his left foot, but I did get his right foot like this twice. Only one foot at a time is messed up like this. After playing around with the scene in a new project, adding the characters in different orders, I actually got one time where the knight was fine, but the rabbit started with one foot cocked like this. I have been unable to duplicate the problem with the rabbit, but the knight problem happened every time but the once. In all my tests, I can't get shaggy to mess up like this. This problem also occurs whether the stage is loaded or not, or whether you add more or fewer characters.

The twisting in the rabbits foot happens every time, and can usually be found in his left foot, but occassionally it appears to effect his right foot. Very strange. I am a little concerned. If this is a character issue, I won't worry too much, but f this is a software issue, I don't know what is causing it or where it might show up.

As the guy on laugh-in used to say - "VEEERRRYYY Interesting!"
Name: Josh Ellis
Exercise: Ex 2 Chorus Line
Date Completed: July 7, 2005
Instructor: The book

I can tell I'm in for a struggle with this if I had trouble with this one. My original render had the knight's head cut off. I've only owned the software a couple hours, so I guess I should give myself a break. Anyway, went small to save rendering time since this animation is nothing special.
Name: Cheryl McKinney

Exercises Completed: Ex2. Chorusline
Date Completed: June 21, 2005

Instructor: Den Dotson
name: Linda Hill ex completed: ex 2 chorus line date completed: June 21, 2005 instructor: Den Dotson
Name: Charlie Dyer
Exercises Completed: 2
Date Completed: 08/11/ 05
Instructor: Rodney
excercise 2: chorus line

Doing the excercises plain and simple "by the book" til I get better acquainted with the "new surroundings." I guess I did move the camera for this one and set the "broke foot knight" back from Shag and Rabbit to better compose the setting.

A question: ~13 Min render time low res... is that normal for a 3.4 GhZ P4 with: 1 GB ram, 200 GB HDD, and Intel video? If not can I speed up significantly with more RAM, or do I just need to disconnect DSL and shut off Virus protect, etc. (background apps).

Still uploaded can't get .mov small enough to post?
Name: Jim MacQuarrie
Exercise: Lesson 2, a Chorus Line
Completed 8/13/05
Instructor: You

Notes: A:M doesn't seem to like my Mac much. It runs better on my wife's PC laptop than on my G4 tower. It also seems to want to save files in hidden system directories, and for some reason refused to save the animation the first 3 times I rendered it. Hrm. Guess I need to get a PC for this.

Anyway, the only quirk in the file is that the knight pops his right knee sideways at one point, and I don't know why. I thought maybe I bumped something, but couldn't figure it out. I didn't do anything fancy with camera moves or lighting (couldn't figure out how to), but I did augment the cast a little; it needed to be done.

I ran the file through After Effects to reduce the file size from 4mb to this itty-bitty file. It's kinda blurry and mushy, but you can see enough to tell who they are and that they're dancing. I am open to suggestions regarding optimum render settings. Anyone? Bueller?
I must say I don't think I've ever seen the Hulk do the Can Can before. He's good! wink.gif

I see what you mean about the Knight's leg. I've never seen that so must assume (like you did) that you accidentally adjusted the animation.

Concerning the Mac issues you may want to visit the Mac Users area of the forum.
They are sure to know Mac specific issues best. It may also be a known issue that is scheduled to have a fix in the next release.

There have been several discussion about optimizing quality and size in renders.
A search through the forum may provide some useful information. Personally, i've found using Sorensen formatting often yield good compression without sacrificing quality. I've also grown fond of converting animation to GIF animation for posting in the forum but you have to sacrifice quality in most cases. Rendering with Shaded Mode usually gives acceptable results. Since it is the animation we are really focusing on here quality can take a hit.

Name: Chris "FatClown" Wheeler
Exercise: Lesson 2, a Chorus Line
Completed 9/08/05
Instructor: Well- loads of people really

Name: Melissa "Elissa" Heldenbergh

Exercises Completed: 2

Date Completed: Sept 8th, 2005

Instructor: A few years of A:M use under my belt and web tutorials, plus also doing the mentor program with Paul Daley.

Remarks/Suggestions for Improvement: The book, oddly enough, makes more sense. Converted to gif, because those mini renders are too tiny, this seemed to slow actions down a bit.
I thought that I would share my experience with Exericise 2 with you fine folks. I didn't have any real problems with this although I am not really happy with the result. I think that the action is to fast. Perhaps its due to the single cycle of a dance step that should repeat. I did muck around with the lighting a bit. Not bad.


Uhmmm... Why can't I upload a 460k avi file?

Lets try a zipped up version

Also, what is the preferred file format for video? AVI? Quicktime? And... Which codec is best for sharing with the widest audience? I think I used cinepak (by Radius?)?
I usually find if you save your animation as sorenson 3 .mov files, it's most likely that everyone can open them and the file sizes are small

This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2014 Invision Power Services, Inc.