It would be much easier if we could think like a Dalek and exterminate all humans from animations.
Why? Well, you may know that making human movement look realistic is one of the hardest things to do in an animation? That’s because the human mind is hard-wired to spot discomfort and unnatural movement in other human figures. After all, in real life, its something that we do all day and every day.
We instinctively know what does and doesn’t look right. If you see a poor piece of animation, you’ll know when “It just doesn’t look right”. Our brains don’t like it and they focus on why. That’s a strange way to move – is he hurt? Why does he look so uncomfortable?
As our minds focus on these things, we are paying attention to the clunky execution of the animation – rather than to whatever key message you were trying to get across.
Nowadays, the art of animating humans is improving fast – if you have the money.
For example, look at the technological leap between the two Avengers films. In just a few years the improvement in realism of animated characters and the definition of faces and expressions has been incredible. But not everyone has the budget required to motion capture Mark Ruffalo’s face, so for lesser mortals (and most business customers) animators instead have clever tricks for implying – rather than showing – human movement.
By clever positioning and sequencing, there are ways of implying to the human mind that movement has actually taken place – it hasn’t, but our minds feel that it has and we are content with this.
It does take endless hours of experience, but its a skill that all good animators need – the ability to fool the human mind for its own benefit, using shortcuts and implications which our minds find more acceptable than watching the full sequence of movement.
Cunning, isn’t it? It still looks good, it lets the viewer’s mind focus on what you really wanted to talk about in the first place – and it saves you money, too.