Friday, March 10, 2006

Directing the Eye

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment on the last post. Dano left an excellent post and even linked to some cool examples of a technique he was talking about. His post opened the door for me to talk about what I like about the Barks stuff and I talked a lot about what I think works in the panel. So check out the comments if you're interested. If you agree or disagree with anything posted, please comment and keep the discussion going! Politely, of course.

I have a lot of great layout stuff to post - as I think I said, I was an animator before I was a story artist. At CalArts, I was so focused on becoming an animator I didn't listen very well when these principles were discussed (if they were - I don't remember). When I became a story artist, figuring out the secrets of layout was my biggest challenge. I searched everywhere for help and couldn't find it, so I ended up just doing it the hard way - staring at the work of artists I admire and trying to figure out what they were doing. Every good artist makes choices based on something, so if you look at it long enough their work will unveil it's secrets to you!

I guess this is just how the universe works, but after I kind of figured some of it out, I started to find books where this stuff was written down. Maybe the information was in front of me all the time and I just didn't see it. Anyway, I will post some of that stuff soon. But I wanted to post this first.

The goal of a storyboard is to put accross an idea. So you have to know how to direct the audience's eye to where you want it to go. The sketch may only be on the screen (in a screening) for one or two seconds, so you have to use every tool in your toolbox to get everyone to look where you want them to look. So this stuff may seem obvious, and it probably written down somewhere already, but here it is.

It took me years to figure this out and I'm still working on using it like a master. Here is all I know about how to direct the eye where you want it to go.

All disney images copyright Disney.

Okay, from now on I will try to alternate the basic stuff with stuff that's a little more advanced so there's always something for everyone. Even if you know all this stuff already, ask yourself: are you using it everyday?


RoboTaeKwon-Z said...

Great lesson Mark. This is stuff that novices need to learn and seasoned pros need to constantly be reminded of. Well done!

Goobeetsablog said...

This is a brilliant blog.
Thanks for the valuable information
that you have already shared.

Looking forward to more

maja papaya said...

Thanks from me too! Even the discussions in the comments are interesting.

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

Can we ask any more of a blog?

Skribbl said...

Great post again and also your art is up!! Rad.

So Mark, before you upload your pic, select the "center button" and check the box "use this layout every time." That way the pic won't left justify all the time and the text won't wrap. Y'now?

DanO said...

my favorite tool for creating depth and inviting the veiwer deep into the scene is a zig zagging line that moves from the foreground into the midground, like the footpath in those first examples.
i just love that.
it makes my toes curl.

great post again, where do ya find the time??

Eddie Pittman said...

Great Stuff, Mark. Thanks for posting this!

chickennuggets said...

holy crap kennedy! when did you have time to post all this stuff? while me and josie were pilfering your cube??

mark kennedy said...

Thanks for the comments everybody! Keep 'em coming.

Nuggets, you have no idea, Blogging has become my life. Time for a twelve-step program.

Kevin Deters said...

Great stuff, Mark. You can never get enough of these types of lessons. For those that don't know Mark personally, he is one of the best story guys Disney has got, and he is always generous with his knowledge. A credit to the profession.

Cholki said...

The temple is right up there with the other informative and useful reference animation sights mentioned on the cartoon brew man. Keep it up Mark!

mark kennedy said...

Hey Kevin!!!

Kevin is fogetting to mention that he is also one of the best story artists Disney has got, and a great credit to out profession! Start a blog, Kevin! We would love to hear from you.
Cholki - high praise, indeed! Thanks!

Wilbert Plijnaar said...

No wonder it takes years to do these animated movies with all these storyartists spending all their time on this blog!

Anyhow,.. for my money the most valluable principle of "aiming the eye" I picked up some 30 odd years ago from reading legendary Disney Lay-out man Charles Phillippi: (and by the way Mark, you can find this as part of a collection of 40's lectures in the Disney library downstairs, titled "Building a Feature".


There were at least twelve fundamentals of emphaty of which I can remember these:

EXISTENCE: Something surrounded by empty space is naturally attractive. It's the only one of it's kind there and you will look at it. But if you add a lot off somethings but leave one out, the SPACE becomes emphatic. By repetition we can change the emphasis in the picture.

COLOR: Have a red field with a blue dot. The eye will go to the blue dot. Vise versa: Blue field, red dot : Eye will first see the red.

MOVEMENT: A crowd. One guy moves through. HE gets out eye. Vise versa: Moving crowd, one guy is stationary. Guy gets the eye.

SHAPE: All curvy shapes, one angular. Guess who stands out? And other way around as well.

TONE: A man in a grey suit really stands out at a full dress party.

DEPTH: a nearby object is most emphatic because our eyes have been wired to look out for (dangerous) things near to us. But if you increase the nearby objects then the one in the distance attracks our attention.

ROOM: full of naked girls and one naked guy. NATURALLY your eye goes to the....
OK,...THAT one might not work for everybody..

CONTRAST: Ok, you get it...

Keep me learning!

mark kennedy said...

Too true, Wilbert-this blog is eating up all my time.

Thanks for posting all this stuff! When are you going to start a blog and share all this stuff with us!?!

matt said...

Hi, Mark. Many thanks for sharing these GREAT insights. This has instantly become my favorite blog.

mark kennedy said...

Yikes, Matt, that's a high complement. There are many great blogs out thee. I will do my best to earn your great comment!