Experiment: The Motion Smearing
I started exploring the more cartoony aspect of my stage two practice in this experiment. The element I was targeting in this practice was motion smearing. To do so, I did a study on existing cartoons. ‘Animation Technique: The Smear’ provided me with insights as to how motion smearing works in cartoons and what effect it brings to an animation.
I tried to replicate the running effect from the ‘Road Runner’ cartoon by using Grease Pencil in Blender as my first exercise. As the very first step, I created the animation of the upper body of the bird character. It’s just simple blocking of poses to make sure I have enough time to explore the motion smearing aspect of this practice. Then, I created a Grease Pencil layer to draw out the smearing running feet. I had another idea of animating the running circle using curves but I didn’t get the chance to try it out. I would definitely like to tinker with the technique in my next experiment.
The second exercise I did was a head turn smearing animation. I duplicated the head mesh and offset the animation so that it’s a few frames later than the main head turn. I rendered them on different layers and composited them in After Effects. I lowered the opacity of the smearing layer so that it won’t dominate the screen space. However, it didn’t really give me a sense of burst in the movement. I think that I had approached this exercise in the wrong direction. It probably should have been a frame with several head-turning visuals at the same time with a certain degree of deformation to show the speed of the head turn. I would also like to test out this new idea in my future experiments.
The third exercise was a combination of the first and the second. I used Grease Pencil to create the motion arc and duplicated the wings to create the additional limbs effect in motion smearing. The motion smearing aspect of the animation is working in this exercise, however, I should have paid more attention to the timing of the animation. The reason being that I would like to create a sense of panic when the bird is stuck mid-air. Hence, I would like to revise my animation more in the future to make sure mistakes like this don’t happen again.
These motion smearing exercises have provided me with a basic understanding of how motion smearing could be replicated in 3D animation. I would, however, need more exercises to get it right.