Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Animated Inspiration: Simon's Cat "Fowl Play"

You know it's going to be a good day when you get to work and there's a new Simon's Cat waiting for you. Looks like we got an early Christmas gift from Simon Tofield: a hilarious animated short and a solid object lesson in character animation!

Looking at this short film, the timing in Simon Tofield's character animation keeps getting more and more solid. After watching the film through once, hit the replay button, then pay close attention to the motion of the cat from around :05 seconds to :20 seconds--where the cat shakes his head, notices the turkey and lunges up at the glass, then hides back down. The motion is smooth and expressive and the posing remains very clear and readable. It's the motion of Tofield's characters, coupled with the posing, that allow me to clearly read the cat's motives--even more than the actual staging of props in the film's initial setup. These key elements describe the cat's body language, which in turn allow us to subconsciously read beyond the cat's facial expressions and clearly see the motivation and thoughts behind his actions. As I proceed on my animator's journey, short films like "Simon's Cat" are valuable tools for training my eyes to look for the key elements in the motion of real-life animals, objects, and people before attempting to reproduce them in a visual medium.