Saturday, June 13, 2009

Silhouette Studies

One of the things that I've been considering a great amount recently is the use of silhouette in animation. A lot of the times, I've considered it as one of those things that is, in theory, very good, but in practicality, very difficult to keep throughout a sequence of animations.
However, the project that I'm working on now at Starz demands strong posing and clear silhouettes, regardless of what happens through the shot. In order to make myself understand how to pull it off better, I've been looking at the features which I think were successful.
So - Kung Fu Panda! With quick-paced fighting moves, and a bulky main character, it seemed like the epitome of complicated posing.
I was surprised when, during the final fight scene with Tai Lung, there were a few shots with not so clear posing. In fact, when taking things frame-by-frame, rather than at real-time, things were rather confusing, like so:

I was confused as to how this could happen - I mean, in such a large production, with so many professionals on board, how could it be that they would have such a confusing shot?
But then, I looked back over the entire sequence, where the combatants tumbled and whirled through the air, fighting over the Dragon Scroll, and realized what they had done. There was a very clear shot, just as they take to the air. Then, the confusing shot from above, where they spin around, but the silhouette doesn't really change, despite how they spin. Immediately following the confusing shot, was another extremely clear shot - the three of them together progressed like so:

Pretty spiffy. I want to look through a few more fight scenes like this(perhaps when he's sparring with the Furious Five), and see if this technique is being used in more places, or if it was a one-time shot.
Once I'm done with that, I want to look at The Incredibles, just so I can have a span of how common this is.
Horray for learning new techniques!

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