Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Suggestions On Follow Thru"

My wife worked in Clean-up at Disney for years and she once found this old Disney photostat on "Follow Thru" at an animation art dealer.

A couple of definitions: "Clean Up" is the category of artist that draws over the animator's rough drawing and creates the clean drawing that will appear on the screen when the movie is seen in it's final form. This is quite a discipline in itself and it pretty unknown and unappreciated by the general public.

"Follow Through" or "Overlap" is the word for the things in animation that move because a character or object moves but cannot move by themselves. For example the clothes and hair on a character.

This is a photostat from long ago that teaches the basics of follow-through. I scanned it at a high resolution. If this large size is unwieldy so I created a smaller one too (the lower one is the smaller version).

Overlap is one of those things that is a very simple, straightforward concept but can become quite difficult in more complex situations. The best approach (as it is with everything) is to always keep it simple, simple, simple.

There were always some animators who would actually leave it off in their ruffs and let the clean up people add it for them. There were also animators who would leave it off in their initial pass and after the movement, timing and acting were finished they would go back and add it to their drawings. The advantage of this approach is that you're only focusing on the most important things in your first pass and not distracted by unnecessary details. However, I have to say that you could always tell when people animated this way, because each drawing is a design and overlap has to be carefully integrated into every drawing because it's not just a static, mechanical process - just like everything else, overlap has to be used to frame the action and accentuate the acting, it's another tool to convey the feeling and mood of the scene and character - it has to be an organic and essential part of the design of the whole drawing and idea of the scene...if that makes any sense. We all know how great a drawing is when we do it "all in one" and every part relates to everything else. When we do a drawing and then go back later and add a detail to it, the detail usually looks like it was "stuck on" because it wasn't part of the original thought and wasn't considered as part of the original elements and design. So if possible I think it's better to at least have it in mind and rough it in at least minimally in the first pass of the drawings.

However that's probably good advice for some and terrible for others. Keep in mind that I was never a very good or accomplished animator. Maybe some of the very skilled animators out there might give their two cents in the comments so I don't accidentally send newcomers down the wrong path!


Tinker Bell said...

Very nice post. Thanks! :)

William said...

Aaah what a nice post! I hope to see more of that soon, hopefully also some scans from the Famous Artist Course. Thanks for uploading and your insights!!

willborough said...

This is really extremely helpfull, as overlap is a very difficult thing to pull of convincingly. If you have any more of these "suggestions for followtru" please post them. Thanks very much!


Sunny Kharbanda said...

Thanks for the post!
I agree about overlap being an integral part of the pose. For anything larger than, say, a feather on a hat, it's better to work out the overlap with the main poses.

Stop-motion is a great way to practice this, as you have to think about overlap with every frame you animate.

I've been thinking about the same idea in CG, and will post some tests once they're done.

Mitch K said...

What a treat! Thank you so very much!

Ignacio Ochoa said...

Hi Michael, I am animator from Argentina.I visit your site every day.You know, here we don´t have an animation school , and the blog be a great tool for me to know about animation art. Thanks to sharing this great stuff.
If you have time, please visit my new blog, when i post three little videos with my works, and some of argentine animation.

Ignacio Ochoa said...

Sorry Mark ,to called you Michael at the previous comment.

Catherine Satrun said...

Great advice! Follow through really adds so much to a piece of animation. Thanks for scanning that in. I love seeing this kind of stuff!

Anonymous said...

A great and very useful post! It's great to get access to this from the archives. Being taught in school or on the job, things get left out but leave it to the old school to clearly show how it's done!

I love your Blog and although new to it, I find it endlessly useful, a fun read and a fantastic jumping off point to other amazing artists!

Tim said...

Good Job! :)

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