Friday, February 26, 2010

Break That Joint

Especially with the ascendance of Richard Williams' book at a teaching tool, the principle of "breaking the joint" in animation has taken a aura of magic.

Art Babbitt's camel from "Raggedy Ann" is held as a prime example of this device -although he did it (along with John Sibley) extensively on the Disney "Goofy" shorts, and other animators from Terrytoons' Jim Tyer to Ken Harris on Bugs Bunny employed it.

There's a notion that it gives that extra "something" to animation to make it snap.

In many instances, it actually mimics how film captures human motion.


This is a shot from a Cab Calloway documentary we're working on.  Cab will be dancing with this dancer from Alvin Ailey.


We've picked just his arms moving, one at a time to focus on.
He begins to raise his right arm.
The joint is relatively natural.


Look out.  Not only is he moving faster than the lens/shutter can capture him -causing a blur, the angle of his arm in relation to the camera make his bend look impossible.
Now even more.


And straightening.

Arm lands at key position.

Left arm moves.




Now the right starts again.


And the hips follow once both arms go into motion.


Looseness in the right arm at the elbow and wrist.  Not broken, just limber.

And the left arm hits its key.

1 comment:

Michael Sporn said...

Interesting. Reminds me of something I did for the Bway show WOMAN OF THE YEAR. We photographed choreographer Tony Charmoli and animated the character doing the other half of the dance - with his suggestions, our zaniness.

By the way, if Jim Tyer ever broke any oints it was literally. I'm not sure any of his characters ever had joints. They were pure graphic moving for the sake of graphic motion. Though all of those other guys were really from that same school of animation.

Very nice post.