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Old 04-27-2012, 12:24 PM   #1
benjaminsantiago
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Default reducing "jiggle" / shakiness

Hey! This is my first post here, I did some cursory searching and didn't see anything similar offhand.

I'm wondering if there are any tips/accepted methods in reducing "jiggle" that is sometimes endearing, but kind of a sign of less professional animation. I've been drawing with a wacom tablet and varying the line weight with pressure...so at this point I'm accepting some natural jiggle...but looking to reduce it in the future once I finish my current project...

I've been drawing some simple clips in photoshop, so registration is not the issue.

My first inclination would be to add more layers to separate stuff like mouths or limbs where applicable, but stuff like this (from Sleeping Beauty) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z1SsqZgiGE

It clearly looks like the all of the body parts are being animated/changed at once. And I was watching the Fist of the Northstar movie the other day, and sometimes the characters have hatching on them! Yet they still seem pretty smooth...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwnM3eMh3Q8

Is it just a matter of using primitive shapes first/measuring distances and then making sure they are very very consistent? Is it more in the inking process (even the disney pencil tests I've seen the quality of the pencil mark seems to change causing some "jiggle"). Is it more in making sure the inbetweens are good?

any help would be appreciated.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:10 PM   #2
J.K. Riki
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Ha ha, I'm not sure but when you figure it out please tell me too!

From my experience it really IS a matter of being super careful. When you've done the 70th in-between you can get bored or at least not quite as mentally sharp, and then you can get sloppy. Remember that on the films you had people JUST doing the inking, and that was 100% their job. Of course they would be able to do it more carefully than someone who also did the animation, in betweens, inking, etc. etc. etc. Sometimes we try to do too much ourselves, I think.

At any rate, I'm happy to hear other tips if people have them. I'm currently in the process of learning all that stuff myself, so I look forward to sharing back and forth what we learn!

(By the way, do you have any examples you've done where this jiggle is particularly troublesome? Maybe I could take a look at help if you have specifics.)
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:50 PM   #3
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Here's an example.

As I said, I've been varying line weight so I'm actually trying to keep the jiggle consistent...the part where the hands are "wiping" the eye...I have the body/face in a repeating loop so it doesn't look awkward. I've been doing this lately and it is getting a little bit tedious to do five extra drawings of the same frame, which is why I was asking in the first place.

But back in the day they'd have to ink with a brush right? So they'd have to keep the line weights consistent as well

If it's just a short loop I can get it pretty close, but the rotation (beginning of this animation) is where it looks a little janky to me. It gets pretty bad when he splits apart but I'm okay with it for now, since it is kind of an amorphous blob.



here's another one where he's just chillin' and it looks a fair bit tighter to me.

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Old 04-27-2012, 06:57 PM   #4
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A lot of modern cartoons are done with vector animation tools (Flash, Toon Boom, Anime Studio), so if you are trying to get that look, it's very difficult to do with on a tablet by hand.

I personally like the way your stuff looks, very Bruce Bickford. It doesn't look amateurish at all. It looks *alive*.

If you really want to tighten up your line work, it takes patience and practice. And you should zoom in pretty close on your art (like maybe 300%), so you can draw more smoothly -- instead of just drawing with your hand, draw with your arm, so you are drawing a line with a quick, single motion rather than a slow and deliberate tracing of your pencil work. If you make a mistake, clear the entire line and do it again. And again and again again, until it's perfect and you like the line.

What software are you drawing with? Apps like TVPaint can do line smoothing for you, it helps a lot, although good hand inking technique is still the best.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:08 PM   #5
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thanks man I love Bickford's stuff quite a bit (by way of Zappa)

I'm okay with how these look for the most part, but I've just been watching a lot of "real stuff" like Aeon Flux, Ghost in the Shell, and Redline (goddamn if you haven't seen this the aesthetic and animation are so tight) and I'd really like to achieve that if I needed/wanted to.

I'm using Photoshop. I prefer the control I have with the brush tool in that, eventhough the program itself seems to have gotten a bit bulkier. My attempts to use Flash in the past haven't met with much luck though I like the timeline/layer management in that with respect to animation (I can get close with actions in Photoshop)...Also there's no absolute brush size in Flash so if you zoom in/zoom out the line weights/sizes don't look right. And the smoothing in Flash anyway (never used TVPaint) seems to get a little too gregarious for unless it is pretty much off.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:21 PM   #6
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TVPaint is more like Photoshop, being a raster (bitmap) animation app and much closer to animating with pencil and paper, plus it has a timeline, x-sheet, multiplane camera and other goodies. I really recommend it for hand-drawn animation like you are doing!
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benjaminsantiago View Post
I have the body/face in a repeating loop so it doesn't look awkward.
Aha! Well, problem solved then!

When you repeat frames in a loop you automatically get that specific jiggle because the audience is seeing the same thing over and over. The other trick is to use moving holds, where you progress the action more and more so it doesn't just repeat the exact same spot. If you HAVE to repeat the same spot (try not to for long) then your best bet is to just have those images held (not several looped images) as you described above. Have the face on one layer while you animate the hand on another. Generally if something isn't moving at all, you don't want to retrace it unless you either do a new drawing for every frame or 2) have a moving hold. This is strictly a 2D thing, as in 3D you can't hold the same frame on screen of a character or it will feel lifeless.

Really, though, your best bet is to keep moving things more and not have one part very stiff while others are moving. The body moves constantly based on what you're doing. Example: As I type this my fingers are moving constantly, but the rest of me is still shifting slightly with every key press, not staying completely still.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
I've just been watching a lot of "real stuff" like Aeon Flux, Ghost in the Shell, and Redline and I'd really like to achieve that if I needed/wanted to.
I think what those productions have in common is that the drawings are done traditionally with pencil on paper. Using a pencil it is easier to control line quality (not easy -- just "easier") . The best app I've found for duplicating the feel of working with pencil on paper is TVPaint (drawing with a Cintiq 21UX), but as good as TVPaint is it still does not quite have the same accuracy of a real pencil line, in my experience.


Let me be another who says that I think the "breathing" line quality on your clips looks good, but I understand that you are interested in achieving a tighter , non-breathing/wobbling line . I worked at Disney Feature Animation in the 80's and 90's and all I can tell you is that kind of precise control over my line quality took years of practice to develop ; after years of doing it , thousands of drawings , it still wasn't easy. It's a definite discipline and a mind-set that must be developed to work in that style (working for a weekly paycheck and having production quotas looming over you definitely motivates one to develop the skill ... honestly , working on my own I don't know if I'd have the discipline to want to do that.) I've got to say that personally I've always preferred working in slightly looser , sketchier line quality -- think the look of Disney's "One Hundred and One Dalmatians" or "Sword in the Stone" -- that kind of line quality that's not quite so precise , although the drawings are very solid and "3D" , but the surface quality of the line was allowed to "breath" more .


There's not really a lot in print about how to do good "Clean-Up Animation" . It's really just about developing good drawing skills, period. But a specific kind of drawing , that focuses on using pure line to define shapes . If you have the book "The Illusion of Life" by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston , their brief description of the Assistant Animator/ Clean Up artist's function on page 228 - 229 is a pretty good summary of the skills required. Also see their discussion of "Inking" on page 275 - 283 . I think if you study techniques of inking for comics that can help develop your control over the lines. There is more information in print about inking for comics.

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Old 04-28-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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another option is to use an effect to make all your lines even. a number of programs have this feature
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:51 PM   #10
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Here, I tossed together a quick example of how moving holds of sorts (or rather, more movement in general) can help reduce the wiggle:



It's still there, as you can see, but it's not as obvious because the lines aren't directly on top of each other. (I also think it adds a little more visual interest to sway when the hands are moving, but that's a personal opinion.) Just a thought, hope it helps some!
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:23 PM   #11
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ahhh cool man that does help. I'm going to be controlling it programmatically (with actionscript, like a puppet) so I'll probably add something so it "drifts" a bit.
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.T. Nethery View Post
I worked at Disney Feature Animation in the 80's and 90's and all I can tell you is that kind of precise control over my line quality took years of practice to develop
I'm curious, was the inking done on with ink with a brush in those days? Getting that kind of control/consistency back in the day must have taken so much work.

I don't really mind if things take years to master/finish...I guess I just need to figure out ways to pump some shorter stuff/pieces out in the interim.
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Old 04-29-2012, 06:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benjaminsantiago View Post
I'm curious, was the inking done on with ink with a brush in those days? Getting that kind of control/consistency back in the day must have taken so much work.

I don't really mind if things take years to master/finish...I guess I just need to figure out ways to pump some shorter stuff/pieces out in the interim
.

Some inking on cels was done with a brush , but most cel inking was done with a crow quill pen . Whether using a brush or pen , it took an extraordinary level of skill to control the consistency/weight of the line . Those inkers were amazing and didn't really get the credit they deserved. By the time I got into the biz the hand-inking process had been eliminated , as the penciled drawings were transferred to cels by a Xerox process , then a very few years later cels were eliminated entirely when we went to a process of scanning the drawings into the computer and the "inking & painting" was all done digitally in a program Disney had called "CAPS" . (other studios eventually suit with similar digital ink & paint programs , such as ANIMO ) .
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:18 AM   #14
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I think Disney uses Toon Boom Harmony for their production now, don't they?
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