Saturday, 29 August 2020

Why Animators Need To "Hit The Accent"

Hitting an accent - Animator's Survival Kit
Animators need to "hit the accents" in a line of dialogue.

By "accents", we're not talking here about a regional accent - say a Scottish or Welsh accent - we're talking about making it clear in the poses that the character is speaking the line of dialogue.

In this case an "accent" is the part of the line of dialogue that has emphasis, and need to be punctuated. Take a look at the example from the Animator's Survival Kit above and left.

Hard and Soft Accents
Hard -vs- soft accents.
Accents can be hard or soft. What is the difference between a hard accent and a soft accent? In animation terms, a soft accent eases in, and a hard accent bounces back.

Take a look at the image on the right, taken from The Animator's Survival Kit (all our students should have a copy; if you don't have one, you can buy it here).  It shows someone pointing, both as a hard accent (past the extreme point, bouncing back) and a soft accent (settling in to the extreme pose.

The difference is one of emphasis. In the top example, someone might be pointing vigorously, shouting "over there!!" and pointing quickly.

In the bottom example. someone might be pointing slowly, with their hand settling in to the final pose. They're not shouting, they aren't in a hurry.

Hard and Soft Accents
A cartoon "take" with a hard accent
When we are doing character animation, we often have to choose between a hard accent and a soft accent.  Our animation students learn about hard and soft accents when they learn how to animate a "take" - a reaction shot.

Animating a "Take"
A "take" with a hard accent goes into an extreme pose (see image above, at frame 27) then quickly settles into the final pose. The key point is that the extreme position is only held for a couple of frames.

Hitting the accents
When we talk about "hitting the accent" in animation. we mean that the animation needs to have an "accent", or "punctuation".  The "accent" is the part of the line of dialogue that has emphasis, and need to be punctuated.

Animating Dialogue & Lipsync
For more blog posts on animating dialogue and lipsync, follow the links below:

To find out more about Animation Apprentice, click here for a link to Frequently Asked Questions. To sign up for our next classroom at Animation Apprentice, follow this link.

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