Tuesday, April 08, 2008

YouTube analysis #2: Final answer

Poor guy...note to self: get a good night's sleep before my next gameshow appearance.

What I find so interesting here, is the switch from self confidence, almost to the point of being cocky, to complete embarrassment and humility. BUT even though the change happens in a single moment, the reaction is gradual and goes through several different beats.

First Beat (1:00) - he realizes something is wrong. This is also gradual - you can actually see realization dawning on him, in slow motion (I'm guessing the transition would have been a bit quicker, had he not been so tired). He says "no, wait" - but by the end of this "shot" he's still smiling: the full impact of the mistake is not yet clear to him.

Second beat: he stares at the monitor, dumbfounded. There's a very subtle transition here - starting with a vague shadow of his former confident smile, then no no smile at all, and finally - a first trace of an embarrassed smile. It's interesting that the change is so subtle that I can hardly see any movement at all - and yet, the change of expression is very clear.

Look carefully at the corner of his mouth throughout this beat. This is what texture is all about: layering very slight variations on top of a very strong pose or transition. It's a great way of making your animation feel rich, without loosing clarity.

Third beat: the embarrassed smile is his brave attempt to hide his frustration and shame.

I like thinking of emotional changes in terms of weight and inertia (something we animators know about). Just like a moving object takes time to change direction (AKA motion arc), so mood and attitude take time to change. I think this clip shows a great example of such an "emotional arc".

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