Tag Archives: analysis

Shaun the Sheep Teaser

Another analysis of something I enjoy, the work of Aardman Animations. They’ve just released a new trailer for their upcoming film, check it out:
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What is similar in Shaun the Sheep and Goodnight Mr Foot? (see previous post)

  1. Character introductions
    Shaun and Bigfoot are introduced on screen in the same way. It is a coincidence, but the movement is visually entertaining, cute and also gives a sense of vulnerability to the characters. In my opinion this introduction instantly gives the characters appeal.shaun12
  2. Flat perspective
    Both mainly use flat perspective throughout, only bringing depth to exaggerate dramatic points. Read this on flat vs deep staging or grab a copy of Visual Story for more on that idea.
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    Examples where depth is used to highlight drama.
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  3. Snappy animation
    In the Goodnight Mr Foot post I mentioned the characters go from starting pose -> anticipation -> pop to extreme -> settle over 6 – 8 frames. The same is done in Shaun the Sheep
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How is good and evil established?
The farmer and the Animal Containment officer’s goals are in direct conflict with Shaun’s but have a look at how the characters are presented differently.

The farmer has a stern face but we know he’s not a threatening character; there’s the warmth in the colours, he struggles to wake up, flower patterns on the bed cover and the wall, etc. But also the appealing design, he has no eyes. His blindness to Shaun is exemplified in his design, this also makes him a little goofy and appealing when he squashes the dog. He’s presented in humorous ways in his first 2 shots.
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In contrast the officer wears military style clothing, but also the neck tie, gloves and protective eyewear give us a sense that he’s a bit nuts, threatening and highly organised. There’s nothing fun or warming about him.
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Speaking of good/evil, a nice homage:
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How are thought processes shown?
In this shot watch closely as he detects something in the corner of his eye, blinks, sits up, eyes dart around and then finally turns.
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How is focus kept?
Watch how despite having so many characters, the dog is the only character that continues to move until the very of the shot. He obviously also stands out with the use of colour, but also the moving car starts form directly behind him.
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Is everything animated to a high level?
Basically, no. There is some amazing detail to some of the animation. The hen for example has feathers moving, a beak animated on 1’s and even the legs and feet move on the turn.
Also watch how the farmer’s toes wriggle while he is in bed. Very subtle.
Then compare this to the shot of the guys taking a photo, apart from the mechanical feel of the shoulders going up and down the characters basically just twist on the spot. More attention is paid to some shots than others.
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How are animation principles used?
There’s a lot in this one shot. The hand comes up and anticipates the action. It then tries to hit the alarm clock and misses. There is drag on the wrist, a nice arc and easing in/out. The hand comes back, pauses again and then jumps to the clock. Much greater spacing is used compared to first attempt to give impact to the slam and also give texture to the timing.
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What would I have changed?
Just a personal thing but I think the mouth positions to the side of the head don’t work so well, I often didn’t realise a mouth had appeared. Maybe that becomes less of a problem with longer viewing, but right now I feel it’s too disconnected/abnormal to be easily readable.
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Genndy Tartakovsky – Goodnight Mr Foot

I’m a fan of Genndy’s work so thought it would be interesting to break down something of his. I’m using Goodnight Mr Foot which is on Youtube (unfortunately with subtitles) which he both directed and animated with the help of Rough Draft in Korea. gnmf16

Smears and multiples
There are so many smears or frames where body parts multiply that I don’t think they need to be highlighted here. There are plenty of examples in the other points below.

Major pose changes The style of the animation is very snappy and I noticed a few ways he gets this feel. Often he will go from a starting pose -> anticipation -> pop straight to an extreme pose -> then settle over about 6 or 8 frames. gnmf01

Sometimes there are breakdowns between the starting pose and anticipation as seen above, sometimes there will be no anticipation and just a breakdown. (the first frame is actually a held pose from the previous action) gnmf09

This is a bit more rare, there is no anticipation or break down at all. But also notice here how the body is settling over 6 frames but the eye pupils remain in the same space on screen. They retain our focus easily by staying in the same spot. gnmf05

Notice here how the hand in the breakdown is placed exactly where the nose will land. I made a gif below to show it more clearly. I tend to think it keeps the snappy movement but reduces things popping around on screen, retains a similar silhouette and doesn’t confuse the viewer. gnmf06 gnmf07

If we look at the start and end pose they feel quite different, he’s looking in different directions and with different emotions. But if you pay attention to the turn, there’s little to no body movement at all. The lack of change in the body helps us focus on the face and in my opinion keeps a comedic aspect to the move. gnmf10

Spacing
Here he adds texture to his spacing a bit. The witch goes from anticipation, pops up into an extreme, settles a bit but then the body pops down again into another extreme. It’s all very quick but he establishes a rhythm through spacing and then pushes it for a snappy finish to the move. Watch the progression of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th frames below for example, then look at how different it is by the 6th.  After that the body settles over 8 frames.gnmf03

A similar thing happens here, there is a rhythm built in the spacing which then jumps and also suddenly introduces depth to the hand for two frames. gnmf08

Change in emotion
We see two changes in Mr Foot on the right. He goes from sleepy to alert to annoyed. Both changes have the character blink, anticipate slightly and then pop into the new pose. Again there’s only subtle changes to the body, his arms and head raise, but his big torso remains in the same pose. Keeping it fairly still helps keep our attention screen centre, where the desk clerk is moving and also where Mr Foot’s face is. gnmf02

Mouth shapes
Check out the range in mouth shapes when the character is talking in close up. From completely sticking the tongue out to speaking out of the side of her mouth. They are unique and completely exaggerated. gnmf14

I also like here how the character’s lips go from one side of her face to the other. They don’t just pop, the mouth shapes are formed so the lips progress across the face. gnmf13

Breaking rules
When studying animation principles it’s often said that when using squash and stretch the same volume should be retained. Genndy breaks those rules here for some visual fun. gnmf15

And also breaks body parts to exaggerate a motion. gnmf04

Frozen Teaser – shot analysis

I was watching the Frozen teaser and noticed the first shot is very similar to what we do in class 4 in A.M, a single shot showing a character change emotional states. I quite like how Disney handled this shot, so will go through why I liked it.

» View the full teaser on youtube.
» View a quicktime of just this shot.

the setting is established. In this case the character isn’t even in the frame. Everything is fairly muted except for the flower. There’s also no texture behind it, it sits on the rule of 3rds and is the only object in the foreground. The flower draws our attention straight away.
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the character is established. Notice how he walks, it’s clearly not a vanilla walk, the character has personality and also a clear emotional state. He’s happy.frozen08

the character notices the flower. Key point here is how Disney showed the character is thinking. He sees the flower, but doesn’t react instantly. The animators gave him time for him to process what he’s seeing, blink and then change expression. Now he’s excited. Notice the squash and stretch in his face during this process and also the character does a couple half steps, his walk changes slightly along with this facial expression.
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– the character becomes enchanted. 
They almost spent 40 frames of the character just looking at the flower. It really gives us time to absorb the situation. There’s some nice touches with secondary action, which aren’t all that important to the story but help establish character and appeal. The posing is clear, we know what he’s looking at, we know how he’s feeling, there’s some nice negative space between him and the flower and they’re also angled towards each other, marking a visual relationship.
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– the character smells the flower.
 He doesn’t just give it a quick sniff, it’s another good 40 frames. Compare that to going from standing pose to smelling only taking only 5 frames. The use of timing helps highlight what’s important for the story.
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– the character becomes satisfied. 
Is the flower important anymore? No, it has done its job, now the focus is completely on the character’s reaction. You can see the film makers tried to reduce the importance of the flower with a subtle change in composition, it’s now half out of frame. Throughout the shot they are only keeping objects in frame that are necessary. There’s nothing extra.
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Also worth noting is the lines, they all lead to the characters eyes, this is where our attention should be, they will be key to helping us understand the characters emotional state.
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The eyes also fall almost perfectly on the rule of thirds. Everything in the frame is working to help guide our attention.
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– the character sneezes and loses his nose. I love the build up here, he doesn’t instantly just sneeze. Again we’re being spoon fed, the film makers are giving us time to understand what’s going on. There’s some nice timing to the build up, there is a bit of a rhythm in his breaths which are broken when he completely loses control of the sneeze. The timing and posing of this is completely different to the start of the shot, he has clearly changed emotional states and his driven the story forward with a new conflict.
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