Survey of Animation Project #1

For this project, I chose to animate in the style of Otto Messmer, who is known for his work in bringing ‘Felix the Cat’ to life. I watched five ‘Felix’ shorts prior to animating, including ‘Felix Finds Out’, ‘Feline Follies’, ‘Woos Whoopee’, ‘Felix Saves the Day’, and ‘Felix in the Swim’.

The design for my character, ‘Anton the Bear’, is largely the same as Felix’s, boasting a simple overall shape, large eyes, and a sizable grin. Anton also steals Felix’s posing, such as his bent legs and outward facing arms. The shots were styled after Messmer’s general use of wide shots, noticeable throughout ‘Feline Follies’. As for a style of motion, Messmer would utilize surrealistic scenarios to act as the cornerstone of his comedy, such as in the drunken insanity that is ‘Woos Whoopee,’ which is why I allowed Anton to fall into his own shadow as though it were a hole.

During the beginning walk cycle (1-20) I felt that the motion was fairly smooth, because I animated using the ‘pose to pose’ system, as opposed to applying ‘straight-ahead’ motion. This way, I could ensure that Anton does not accidentally adjust size or design over time.

Conversely, Anton’s reaction to the living pencil (21-34) was much less smooth, and I attribute that to not quite knowing what I wanted the character to be doing until I was already animating it. Next time, I will take a moment in advance to consider exactly what the motion is that I am looking for, and plan accordingly.

The hardest part about animating this character was making sure that he would still look like himself from the beginning to the end. During the reaction stage, there are several points in which I feel that Anton is too far off model (21, 23, 31.) In order to fix this, I could remove trouble areas in the design, such as his cheek-line.

I felt that most of the actions preformed by the pencil character were unclear, largely because I rushed through those drawings. Some attention to clear drawings would be very useful, since most of the rolls the character makes currently form a blur.

In order to make Anton appear shocked, I made an effort to stretch just about every part of his body, most notably his eyes. I think this worked fine, but the motion can definitely be stretched much farther than it currently is. As well, I raised the character’s fur and included tension lines around his head to make Anton appear even more distressed.

Otherwise, I was really happy with the range of emotions that appear in 50 frames for both characters, but for the next trial I would like to push that. I think some clearer drawings, stretched reactions, and more dynamic animation will be very important for improving upon what I have already made. Flipbook Write-Up

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