The nine old men used to say “Spend half of your time planning and the other half animating“.
I know that everyone has his own methodology when planning, but I think that even if we use different tools, we basicly follow those steps :
· Search for inspiration
· Create your own reference
· Get the information
I do not dismiss improvisation when creating a shot, but the fact start without having clear idea of where you want to go, can lead you to catastrophic results and an huge loss of time.
Depending on the type of production or shot, this would be my checklist of questions and steps for a complete planning:
UNDERSTAND (See CASTING & LAUNCH)
Listen several the audio
Have I identified accents, pauses and importants moments of the audio?
Have I identified the melody and rhythmic changes of audio?
Analyze my information or if you don't have it, create it (See GATHERING)
Have I understood the “Thought process” of my character?
Have I associate each part of the sentence with an emotion?
Have I understood what the character is thinking at any moment?
Do I feel empathy with my character?
Have I understood perfectly how to transmit the message of the shot and how to do it?
Have I understood the arc of the character and when is located my shot?
Did I understood the importance of the shot within the sequence and why is it entertaining?
What style of animation will I take?
SEARCH FOR INSPIRATION or What is the story I am going to tell?
Search from my personal experience
Have I lived, or someone close has lived, a similar experience?
How he/she has reacted?
What does he/she felt?
What did he/she do and what was my/their gestures?
Search for online or external references (See REFERENCES)
Have I seen the video reference of the actors?
How have they managed this situation in other movies?
Have I search for gifs that help me for certain types of expressions or movements?
Have I looked at my “inspiration demo” to see if an animator made a similar acting?
Have I search for references on locomotion and anatomy of the character that I will animate?
EXPLORE o How will act the character? (See HOW TO EXPLORE AN ACTING)
Act and explore your acting
What kind of pose will have your character?
What will be his line of action?
Where is his “power center”?
How can I use and exaggerate every element of his body to transmit his emotions?
What kind of timing or rhythm will he have?
What type of movement will he have?
How is he going to move?
What details, sutilities and textures am I going to put?
Which secondary actions will he have?
What I can add to my performance to make it entertaining?
What elements and objects can I use for my acting and how can exploit the environment?
SELECT or what would I like to watch?
Keep the best ideas and do the Phrasing
Have I really taken the acting decisions that define my character?
Have I kept the best ideas, the most originals, clear, easy and entertaining ones?
Have I exaggerated enough those ideas for better clarity?
Have I found secondary actions to support my main intention?
Have I found texture for my timing and how will I place the fast and slow movements, and vibrations and pauses?
With my selection, Will my character appears alive, interesting and credible?
¿Are my ideas “clichés” or fresh?
Will my animation be original and unique?
CREATE YOUR OWN REFERENCES or What will look like the shot?
Draw the thumbnails
Have I found a line of action of the character for each beat?
Have I found the silhouettes that I will use?
Have I drawn an overhead map to see how will the character move in his environment?
Have I drawn a picture to check the composition of the character in the frame?
Record yourself and select the best takes (See VIDEO REFERENCE)
Have I tried to act like the character?
Have I captured the ideas I had in my mind?
GET THE INFORMATION
Study the video reference (See OBSERVATION)
Do I understand how the body dynamics works?
Have I found what will be the key poses, breakdowns and others importants poses for the storytelling?
Do snapshots to create Digital Thumbnails and draw corrections if needed
Did I capture all the key poses?
Did I capture all the breakdowns?
Did I capture all the important poses for my performance (Anticipation, reaction, etc..)?
Have I drawn on top all the necessary modifications?
In an upcoming article, I will share a document (See X-SHEET) to put all the information and note the ideas.
I hope that was usefull…