Haven’t have much of a chance to work on Patient since Picto, but yesterday I took the opportunity to learn a little more about MOHO and ways of speeding up workflow. Speaking to Will Anderson about it while we were in Berlin, he was taking a lot about how he uses “actions” - pre-set bits of animation he’s made so he only needs to make them once, and then insert them into the timeline. What this means is that he can focus on the secondary animation and tweaking the presets so they fit a specific situation - but doesn’t have to spend time repeatedly making the same basic animation over and over again.
I like the idea of speeding up storytelling (when you get to that stage) by having pre-made a bunch of assets. There’s something about that that connects to the “minimal animation necessary” kind of thought that Flebus and a lot of UPA shorts were made with. With that in mind, I made a bunch of actions for my grandad rig, that means that I don’t have to keep re-animating eye direction unless it’s necessary.
I also did the same for the mouth shapes. These are a bit trickier, as the character’s designed in a way that means for his mouth to open it intersects his whole body. I’m sure there are easier ways of doing it, but the way I’ve done it sort of makes sense for the time being. Also, I set myself the restriction of not accurately lip syncing - it’s not about every individual phoneme, just some key ones.
Change of character
Following Picto, where I sat down and thought about the character of the Grandad a lot more. I played around with making bigger feet like my original drawings, but it was a lot more effort for minimal payoff, which isn’t in the spirit of what I want to capture - a slow film that’s quick to animate. I made the hands bigger, which I’m sure will come back to bite me as I made them smaller for a reason I can’t remember…!
What I realised over the last couple of days is that doing the technical, figuring out how things work, rigging, animating actions, is all really satisfying, and actually takes my mind off the “filmmaking” side of things, but helps me understand what I want from the character a lot more. I find myself going “no, because his hands wouldn’t move like that because he’s nervous” - aspects of the character design and animation that reflect the character.