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September 24, 2021, 05:08:21 PM

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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperArt (Moderator: JWK5)Minimal animation style (an unpopular thought)
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armyturtle
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« on: August 08, 2021, 07:13:37 PM »

I have what could be an unpopular thought regarding animation style, and that is "less is more".

There are tons of character animations out there that are highly detailed (secondary animation including flowing garments, breathing, facial expressions, etc.)  My thinking is, the more realistic an animation looks, the more details, the more moving parts, the less imaginative it is.  Your mind isn't let to fill in any blanks because it is literally instructed about all of the details.

The following dance animation I am testing is far from perfect.  I need to properly sync the images to the audio (I literally used a free video editor to do the syncing but I need to find the right software to do this).  But I am testing my theory in this dance.  I want to give the viewer enough information to understand the dance, but not illustrate every detail of it.





Thoughts?
  
« Last Edit: August 08, 2021, 08:52:27 PM by armyturtle » Logged
Feenicks
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2021, 08:00:21 AM »

I feel that certain styles of art lend themselves better to limited animation; either small sprites or large, motion comics/animatics. The sprite there, though, lands awkwardly in the middle, too big to get away with the amount of frames it's using and too small to take advantage of techniques [camera pans, zooms, etc.] that let motion comics punch above their weight.

Ultimately, though, I feel it's a false dichotomy. Good animation is all about making the most of relatively few frames of animation. Look at the GBA Fire Emblem games for instance; yes, they may be known for their animations, but remarkably few frames are used for actual attacks. Animation smears, easing in and out of fast movement, and whatever effects that can modify sprites without the need to draw new ones go a long way to imply animation when there really isn't any.

If you're adamant on this style, at least add in some easing in and out of the various poses, even if it's just moving the arms/legs a pixel or two in the direction of the implied movement. I get where you're coming from, but at this point you've past the point of letting the viewer fill in the blanks and are at the point where they're thinking it's just unfinished.
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armyturtle
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2021, 11:00:41 AM »





I believe, as an artist, to never be afraid of challenging norms and traditions.  If it looks awkward to some at first, or makes them uncomfortable, that's good, because for a lot of people, if it's not something they expect, they'll quickly reject it.  But that's how progress is made imo.

So I've furthered my idea for a personal style by deciding upon giant pixel characters for my animations.  I also want a more simplistic, almost pastel look for props and background objects, which hints at their identities while taking a backseat to the characters in terms of details, etc.

The work here is not synced to music, but I've created more moves for the merchant character and added a supporting character to play the piccolo. 

I'm starting to get an overall direction of what I like (though I have a lot more work to do).  For those familiar with the classic children's book "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats, his style is an inspiration (though I work to create a style of my own, popular or not)

- armyturtle
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armyturtle
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2021, 05:09:46 AM »





Here, I refined and completed my vision for this project.  I'll probably stick to this style going forward, but I am curious to see the reactions from people.  Any style that pushes imagination is one I am interested in, and that's what I tried to do here.

- armyturtle 
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Guntha
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2021, 12:38:16 AM »

Hi,

To add the 2 cents of a non-artist, I like the last video, the only thing bothering me is that we're switching between parts with lots of frames (like between 16 and 22 seconds) and parts with very few frames. It creates a weird feeling where we come to expect the next part that will have fluid animation, instead of just enjoying the animation as it is. The second video was maybe better balanced.

I agree with Feenicks in that I think this animation style would better fit slightly lower-definition characters.
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armyturtle
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2021, 01:28:20 AM »

Hi,

To add the 2 cents of a non-artist, I like the last video, the only thing bothering me is that we're switching between parts with lots of frames (like between 16 and 22 seconds) and parts with very few frames. It creates a weird feeling where we come to expect the next part that will have fluid animation, instead of just enjoying the animation as it is. The second video was maybe better balanced.

I agree with Feenicks in that I think this animation style would better fit slightly lower-definition characters.

Thank you Guntha and Feenicks for the replies.

In answer to your post Guntha, here is my dilemma.  I want to time the dance right and sync it to the music.  In the second video, there was no music, so I just played an image sequence where every frame plays for the same amount of time.  But the final video has music, so I want character to move at exact points.

You might not know, but for me I did this in a video editor "Movie Studio 17", where I literally rendered around 200 images and had to time and place them along the soundtrack.  So if I added more images to "smooth out" the animation, I might have to literally place 300-400 images along the soundtrack to sync correctly to the music.

In the pixel program I'm using, aseprite, it only gives you frames, not time (from what I've seen so far).  So I can't say "Ok, at 16 seconds, have this keyframe pose of the dance, and then at 22 seconds have that keyframe of the dance, then just make inbetween images for the 17-21 seconds".  You only have frames.  Now, you can change the duration that those frames are played, but you can do that in Movie Studio too.  It doesn't help.

The point is, it isn't that easy to sync music to dance.  I only know how to do it manually.  And moving around 400 images one at a time so they match a soundtrack smoothly isn't a lot of fun :/

But thanks for the input, I appreciate Smiley

- armyturtle 
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Guntha
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2021, 02:50:14 AM »

I was rather suggesting the opposite (remove the "fluid" parts to keep the animation quality consistent). For example, do we really need 5 separate frames for the jump?

But yeah, aiming to add proper syncing with music on top of that is pretty ambitious :p
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