Frame by Frame Animation Shot Study


This shot has been animated by Animator Pablo Perez Estevez

In this frame by frame by analysis we go over following things

  • Line of Action
    Squash And Stretch
    Clear Poses
    Lead Follow Relationship
    Weight Shifts
    Follow-through, Drag and Settle
    3 Speeds

Line of Action
It’s an imaginary line that passes through head-spine-limbs, forming different interesting shapes like C-Curve
Reverse C, S curve, Y Curve. It doesn’t always have to pass through head, opposing limbs also make Line of Action possible. It’s one those things when you learn to see it, you keep noticing it everywhere. The LOA helps sculpting the great poses.

In this shot, I have highlighted Line of Action, their various shapes. When LOA goes from C to S or C to reverse it creates great contrast.

Squash & Stretch
The same principle of Squash and Stretch of Ball Bounce can be applied to the body. In this shot You can clearly see Squash and Stretch in the body because of Line of Action.

Straight vs Curve (or Simple vs Complex)
To make poses appealing and to give them some flow. Straight Against Curve Principle is often used. In this shot I have annotated that in blue on the specific frame where it really stood out.

Clear Poses
What I love about this shot is the conscious effort to create clear poses. When character is bulky, making clear poses specially clear silhouettes becomes challenging. In this shot, for crucial moments clear poses have sculpted cleverly.

One of the thing in Body Mechanics shots is that not only you have to get the intensity right but you have to make sure you can see full body in motion. While trying to achieve both sometimes the composition , specifically the camera often it gets ignored. In this shot, Rule of 3’rds is being followed. The character purposely is not at center. In order to give character more presence, the camera is placed slight below the horizon. And to create more intensity the Camera is tilted at the crucial moment. It creates dynamic diagonal space.
The camera shake is added for the impact. It enhance the feel of weight.

Lead Follow Relationship
Nothing in the body or face happens at the same time, something leads another. It’s like chain of Lead-Follow. It has to be conscious decision from the animator, that’s why it’s more than just offsetting keys to achieve overlap in the body. It needs to be planned ahead.

One of the great highlight of this shot is how the lead follow relationship has been executed throughout. At different times different parts lead the action.

Follow-through, Drag and Settle

Every time arms are not doing something with intent, for body with motion they present good opportunity for Follow-through and Drag. It also creates beautiful arcs.
You can see the same in this shot as well.

When character in motion comes to halt, The Settle of entire body comes in to the picture. Not only it needs good amount frames planned in advance, you also have to consider the momentum.

In this shot , in the end characters takes a little step back to balance the whole motion. The limbs drag and settle in the end.

Weight Shifts
If body of mass is not properly distributed around the Center of Gravity of Body, the character would fall over.

To achieve that balance in pose the Weight Shifts, tiny foot lifts, slips are necessary. In this shot, I have marked the beats where weight shift is happening with arrows.

3 Speeds
I learned from Pixar Animator Victor Navone that In order to bring rhythm into your shots, You need a good combination of 3 Speeds : Fast Speed – Medium Speed – Slow Speed.
It’s also one of those things once you learn the concept, you always notice it everywhere. Sometimes you can make up sounds in your mind to map out the rhythm of the shot.

For this shot I have highlighted where Fast, Medium and Slow beats begin just above the 3 Speeds Gauge. In that Circle, there are different sized circles based on the speed of beat. Just a rough visual representation
to see how the rhythm feels.


If you liked this animation study, You might like this post as well ; 5 Building Blocks for Good Acting In Animation 

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