I wanted to bring up something that sometimes it’s easy to forget in the mix of weight things to pay attention to while animating. This clip from the IronMan trailer that I personally enjoyed very much got my attention:

I’m not sure if it was ILM or the Orphanage who did it. Either way I really liked it. Now, what I noticed in here was that the character not only it felt like it had human weight…but also, it felt as if he also had all those metal parts in him as well. It’s a big difference. Sometimes it’s easy to animate weight very similarly from one shot to another. I’ve done it…a lot of people have done it. Maybe it’s just us animators only paying attention to those things. But it makes a huge difference to pay attention to each of the factors that can affect weight in any character.

Some of these can be:

  • Materials (like in this clip, it’s not the same to animate a human, than a human with an extra 50 pounds of metal weight in it). Timing and overlap will be clearly affected.
  • Resistance. What’s the ground made off? Is there wind? Is it raining? Is it in space, where there is no gravity? or underwater? Think of those as well.
  • Interaction. Think about how weight travels through characters if they are interacting.
  • Always remember, different parts of the body weight differently. That’ll obviously affect the timing/spacing/overlap of each of these parts. The head will have different timing than the wrists, and so on.
  • Enterntainment: Sometimes enterntainment can be favored more than realism. Is the weight so close to reality, that’s losing some of the enterntainment value, or maybe losing some spark? If all cars in the movie Cars were animated exactly how a car would move throughout the entire film, it would of had the danger of become a very boring film. Instead the Director John Lasseter and the Animation Supervisors, saw it appropiate to sometimes make enterntaining choices that while not close to reality, it would make for more visually enterntaining shots. Something to think about.

Have a good one.

Carlos.