Animation Case Study: Fat Character Pushing Box

Animation Case Study Fat Character Pushing BoxA pushing box animation exercise demonstrates the appropriate application of forces. This test a student's eye for detail and understanding of forces in order to create a realistic animation. Thanks to Shekhar for sharing his animation case study on fat character pushing box practice with me. I'm very happy to provide him with 4 tips to improve on his fat character pushing box animation.




Animation Case Study: Fat Character Pushing Box

Here is the play blast of the animation.


My suggestions are:

1. The general animation looks ok, it seems like a heavy character pushing a light weight box.

Understanding the actual intention of an animation is important because if the message is visually unclear, the viewers will be mislead. The visual message of an animation is usually the first thing I look at when reviewing an animation. The intention of an animation or an acting is crucial because it will bring across the proper storytelling of the story. The best way to unbiasely review an animation is to try to imagine if the model is not a fat character and ask myself, "will this animation still gives me the same message?" In this case, it is a yes for me and I'll move on.


2. Consider giving some consideration to the box and the character, e.g, a heavy box or a light box. A strong character or a weak character.

Back to the basic, we always assume we are animating a character or an object without the physical look. In this way, we watch the motion without any expectation. This suggestion is to help to improve our own storytelling and provide more visual details to the viewers. For beginner's practice, it doesn't really matter if it is a light box or heavy box. What matter most is if we choose to make it light or heavy, we will need to deliver as plan. Be honest about accepting criticism, if you had intended to push a heavy box but it turns out to look very light, find out why. Is it the timing or is it the acting of the character? Once identified, work on the area to refine the animation until it looks correct.


3. If it’s a heavy box, allow the character to push with more difficulty. The best is try to push a heavy box yourself and have someone to record your action. Usually the box will move a little and slow down. The character may also shake a little in his arms or legs to show that he is not strong enough.

In relationship with point #2, our character reacts with the environment accordingly. A good reference is always experiencing the actual motion ourselves whenever possible. Only by experiencing ourselves, we will start to realise how we position our arms and legs while pushing the box. This exercise gives a better insight to animators so that we can understand before applying.

Have a little more creativity and fun when we are acting ourselves. A good actor will always exaggerate some actions so that the message is clearer. For example, having our arms and legs shaking will gives a really strong message that the character is pushing with all his force and is reaching his limit.


4. If the box is light, you can consider the character to push with some attitude. Example, its so easy so the character pushes with 1 finger, or whistle or looks complacent.

Attitude of a character tells a lot about the situation and the person. What makes the audience connect with the actor is when the audience is able to empathise the actors feeling. Audiences love emotional scene where they feel for the actor or in some cases, detest the evil villains. Add some attitude to your character and we can tell a lot more just by watching a simple action. One good example is when a character is skinny and tries to push a huge box. However, because of his inferiority in strength, he tries to cover up his weakness in futile and he gives an awkward expression. Struggling but yet acting as if everything is under control, that is the idea.