Something I’ve been trying to do over the last few years is to think of that moment within a shot. Something I wanted to be the key moment in the shot, be that a pose, an action, or a facial expression…almost like an snapshot within a shot. What I’m trying to get out of this is the main moment of the shot. To explain it better and to hopefully make more sense of it, I chose this example of a shot I had to animate on Incredibles:

Incredibles Jump Sequence

It was a regular action shot. However, it was a sequence I wanted to try to do a little more than just what the storyboards were providing me. In the storyboards, Mr.Incredible ran back, turn around, ran towards the window, then jumped. When I started planning the shot I was looking for ways to take it further without going on a tangent. So I thought about what was going on here:

  • Mr.Incredible is about to save someone.
  • He’s at his Superhero Life Climax, so he’s agile, fast, very much in shape.
  • This moment required fast moving.
  • Most important, this moment required fast thinking.

So in addition to the story point that was given to me on the storyboards (runs back, turns, runs and jumps), I was thinking it would maybe seem appropiate to add that moment where he’s thinking about what he’s about to do and how he’s going to do it. So that became my shot snapshot. A simple “getting ready”pose where at the same time he’s thinking about what he’s going to do. Additionally I added the little feet work that I noticed so many basketball and Football players do. As I look back at this shot, while the physics still seem off here and there in this shot, I’m still glad I added this small animation moment, and that the Director went for it. So something to think about, in your shots.

One little tip, in case it helps other people. As in other shots I started with thumbnails:

However, something I noticed was that I couldn’t figure out a good pose or brainstorm additional poses just by drawing, since my drawing skills (especially in perspective) are pretty limited. So I relied more on video footage on this shot…especifically, I placed the camera on a similar camera angle as in the film, and I basically started posing myself in different positions:

Then afterwards I could go back and see which pose seem to fit better with the mechanics of the run, turning, and back to running. What I noticed is that, just because I don’t know how to draw a character from different positions, that doesn’t mean I can’t use other resources to figure out my posing.

I hope this helps.