The next project I was given from my course was a series of experimental animation projects to be done each week. The first of these was a task to create a 12 frame animation for a spinner scope.
A spinner scope is a children’s toy based off of a praxinoscope. The praxinoscope is an invention that uses the (now discredited, the actual method of seeing moving images from stills show in rapid succession is the phi phenomenon) theory of persistence of vision to create the illusion of movement.
For inspiration I looked at some films that featured anthropomorphised animals as I would like to explore this area of animation. Animating animals is a complicated and challenging process, which makes it a rewarding experience. It requires the use of many different drawing and timing techniques to be effective.
These techniques can be simplified as the 12 basic principles of animation as detailed by Johnson and Thomas in the book the Illusion of Life. They include concepts such as squashing and stretching of a body to create the sense of a fixed volume and the use of arcs in motion, as most movements naturally follow this trajectory.
One of my favourite films from my childhood was Watership down. I think what pulled me to this film was the character design. Although the characters still retained some “cartoony” elements the anatomy and animation of the rabbits (see how they run for an example) also retained a lot of true to life features when you compare it with other styles of animal animation.
I would like to explore these ideas by creating an animation of animal movement for the spinner scope.
Johnston, O,. and Thomas. F., 1981. Disney Animation:The Illusion of Life. New York: Abbeville Press.
UmbrellaEntAU. Watership Down trailer Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji-LqBskNyE [Accessed 20.2.2014]