Contrast. Working as an animator you hear that word a lot. It is far-reaching umbrella term that influences every other animation mechanic, and thus to crop up in conversation frequently when animators converge to dork out on the fundamentals of making things move. Contrast is our friend. Let's get better acquainted!
So this 'ere animation thing is all about change, (how insightful, eh?), as this is essentially how hunter-gatherer humans have evolved to perceive the world around us. Animators work to use this change to better communicate to their audience. Contrast -the heightened "difference between stuff," is the amplification of this change to better sell an idea the animator wishes to get across.
Let's check out a few examples to see what all this is about:
1) Performance. Cedric realizes his underpants are tucked in to his shirt (classy) and becomes frantic as he rushes to rectify this in front of a group of ladies. Top quality comedy, right here. It's already a funny concept, but we can awesomify it by contrasting the realisation with the action. If we play the realisation as a small or slow action and the adjustment of clothing as a large, quick one, now we've added visual interest as the audience is immediately going to focus on the broad movement as it is the visual element moving about the most. Woot!
2) Poses. We can contrast shapes within poses to add a more pleasing change. For example, Cedric bends forward to make a point then straightens up to his full height. We make the forward a C-shape, then move into a -straight, or maybe even a slight reverse curve like a ). This is fun to look at, since we are helping to describe a set of arcs that Cedric's body must move through to play out his action.
Nice! Now we know that we can play with our poses, timing and ideas in order to better amplify their impact on the viewer. This will help them to understand what we are trying to communicate, and thus give them a better sense of connection with our characters, making them believable entities in their own right.
Yay contrast! BFF!
Guest blogger Kevan Shorey