APPEAL: 2D Animation Principle

17 December, 2008

APPEAL: 2D Animation Principle

The word appeal is often misrepresented to
suggest cuddly bunnies and soft kittens. It doesn’t; it means anything that a
person likes to see a quality of charm, pleasing design, simplicity,
communication, or magnetism. Your eye is drawn to the figure or object that has
appeal, and, once them, it is held while you appreciate the object. A weak
drawing or design lacks appeal. A design that is complicated or hard to read
lacks appeal. Clumsy shapes and awkward moves all have low appeal. Where the
live action actor has charisma, the animated character has appeal.

An animated character has appeal. Appealing
animation does not mean just being cute and cuddly. All characters have to have
appeal whether they are heroic, villainous, comic or cute. Appeal, as you will
use it, includes an easy to read design, clear drawing, and personality
development that will capture and involve the audienceĀ¹s interest. Early
cartoons were basically a series of gags strung together on a main theme. Over
the years, the artists have learned that to produce a feature there was a need
for story continuity, character development and a higher quality of artwork
throughout the entire production. Like all forms of story telling, the feature
has to appeal to the mind as well as to the eye.

The appeal in Luxo Jr. was achieved in different
ways. In designing the characters, the feeling of a baby lamp and a grown up
lamp was very important. The effect was achieved using exaggeration in
proportion, in the same way a puppy is proportioned very differently than an
adult dog, or a human baby is different from an adult. The light bulb is the
same size on Jr., while the shade is smaller. The springs and support rods are
the same diameter as Dads, yet they are much shorter.

In creating an appealing pose for a character,
one thing to avoid is called ‘twins”, where both arms and both legs are in the
same position, doing the same thing. This gives the pose a stiff, wooden,
unappealing quality. If each part of the body varies in some way from its
corresponding part, the character will look more natural and more appealing.
Likewise one side of a face should never mirror the other.

In The Adventures of Andre and Wally B, Andre
wakes up and yawns. The yawn is more appealing because the poses and actions are
not duplicated from one side of his body to the other. His feet rotate with a
slight difference, the head rotates to one side, and the upper part of his body
rotates to the right and tilts, which raises his right arm higher than his left.
When he stretches his arms, the right arm moves out first, followed by the left,
and the actions overlap.

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