The Use of Subtext in Character Animation

When an audience views a scene in an animated film, they are experiencing the emotions that a character reveals as the character negotiates its way within the shots throughout a film. When done correctly, 2D and 3D Character Animators can add detailed layers of emotions into their animation to subconsciously enhance the impact of acting within the shot on the audience. The use of subtext in character animation is an excellent tool from your animator’s tool box to do so. The definition of subtext is the content underneath the spoken dialogue. Behind the dialogue, there can be conflict, sadness, sensuality, pride, disdain, or other ideas and emotions that are pivotal to a story. Subtext is the unspoken thoughts and motives of your characters, it is what they really think and believe. Subtext essentially is an element that carries a second level of meaning, and can be set decor, color, or other elements that can be designed into an animated film to help tell a story. In this post, I want to talk more about the body language and dialogue aspect of subtext. You have no doubt seen this being used in live action and animated films before, so let’s look into how you can approach an animated scene using subtext. Below is a clip from a website called http://acting4camera.com/. The acting teacher Paul Barry does an excellent job describing the use of subtext. The use of Subtext in character Animation is used whenever you need to clearly show the essence … Continue reading

Going to animation school? 5 animation tips that you can do over break to improve your skills!

What can I do over break to get ready for animation school?  This is a question that I get asked quite often, usually by perspective students, or friends of friends and family that don’t know exactly what to expect when starting an animation school, or wanting to improve over break. When I first got to CalArts, I remember how overwhelming it was to be surrounded by so many talented students. At first I felt out of place, with so many of the students from the LA area that had grown up near the animation industry. There were so many talented students, and some students even had formal life drawing training at their high school. At most, I had gone there with a general idea of how animation was made. The best info I had gotten was from picking up the original copy of book The ILLUSION OF LIFE , and read it from cover to cover. Maybe you are a high school student, or a college student attending an animation school and about to go on break.. How can you use your time wisely to be better prepared for what you will face as an animation student?  At this point you probably are not sure what to expect, and perhaps not sure what aspect of “animation” you are interested in the most.  Don’t worry; you have some time for that. Not everyone becomes an “animator”.  I will outline in a later post some of the different disciplines within the animation … Continue reading