Self Evaluation: “Robot and the Button” Animation

This self evaluation reflects on my latest animation “Robot and the Button” which is a small animated scenario about a robot finding a button.

In this blog post I’ll cover the following aims: pacing, story/character and animation quality. I also look at how the research I’ve done has informed my practice.

The pacing was originally too slow unlike my last animation. I sped it up so that the character’s tempo matched its character. I feel like I’ve given this animation enough time for each action, no action is particularly rushed and its easy to interpret the story. That being said, the reaction ‘double-take’ to seeing the button could’ve been extended and there could’ve been extra reactions I could’ve put there if I wished to enhance the character or create more mystery. I chose not to purely because I felt the scene was complex enough and that I’d like to move on and animate something different.

The character I wanted to convey was a child-like, innocent robot with a bouncy and curious personality. From working with this character in ‘Professional Project’ I was reminded of Wall-E who has a similar box-like structure with big eyes and a curious nature. Unlike Wall-E, this character’s eyes are static. While this was intended and I am happy with the amount of character I got from this model, I would like to try animating a more complex character which does have pose-able eyes.

I feel the actions I made the character take were appropriate for his character. He is quite observing of his surroundings and wants to investigate things. I’ve been reading Ed Hooks’ Acting for Animators and one of his seven essential acting principles is about “Acting is Doing, Acting is also Reacting”. He describes how not all characters would react the same to an action but all characters would react. Seeing the character’s reactions on screen tells us about the character and we read the story and environment through the character.

Animation quality was again okay, still an improvement over my previous animations but not quite there yet. Not much I can do but keep animating and get a little better each time. This animation required me to think over all the little details: the footing, the head movements, the pauses and reactions. The walk cycles aren’t as ‘floaty’ as some of my older animations and its evident my use of the graph editor has helped to tackle some issues. I think I could’ve tweaked curves further, particularly in the way the character moves across the screen. The walk cycle looks all right but the translation along the screen is quite uniform, but I guess he is a robot after all.

Overall I’m quite happy with this animation, I enjoyed making it and felt more like a little scenario than some of my other work. It did take longer to make but at 12 seconds this does exceed the time frame I was aiming for.

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