This week I learned how to animate a logo. Animated logos, or Logo Stingers, can be used to create a more dynamic, memorable logo than a still image.
Chapter Eight: Technique
Chapter 8 of Animated Storytelling deals with the importance of finding the correct technique to tell your story. Liz Blazer urges animators to think about all the different styles of animation, what feeling it may convey, and be willing to adapt your format based on the best style for your project.
Perhaps you are well practiced in 3D CGI style animation but the story you’re trying to convey is a little bit quirky. Perhaps you’d be better off with hand drawn or even hand made stop motion using different materials. Each of the four main styles – 2D CGI, 3D CGI, hand drawn and stop motion lends themselves to different types of storytelling and feeling within the project.
Blazer reminds the reader that there is no shame in reaching out to others who may be more skilled in a certain technique for help on your project. It’s better to have the right technique for your story than to be able to say “I animated this all myself.”
One of this week’s articles laid out the twelve basic principles of animation as defined by the two of the Walt Disney Company’s original animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas.
These basic principles are:
- Squash and stretch
- Straight ahead action and pose to pose
- Follow through and overlapping action
- Slow in and slow out
- Secondary action
- Solid drawing
While I’m only going to give examples of five of these, this video does a really great job explaining each of these principles.
Anticipation makes movements look more realistic. Before jumping, a character should first bend his knees, or before punching, a character must first draw back his fist. I chose this fight scene between Scar and Simba from Disney’s The Lion King because much of it is in slow motion which does a great job showing the dramatic anticipation of each action.
Staging is the process of setting the scene to direct the viewer to what the animator wants them to see or understand. Staging can also be described as clarity or readability. I chose this scene from Disney’s Mulan to show staging because the wide angle shot of Mulan atop the post with the men cheering her on shows the turning point in how she is accepted by her fellow soldiers.
Follow Through and Overlapping Action
Follow through and overlapping action are two related principles that follow the rule of inertia. Follow through states that loosely attached appendages (head, arms and legs) may move past the stopping point of the core of our body, and then return to the center. Overlapping action shows how different parts of the body or objects may move at different rates depending on their mass. This scene in Disney’s The Little Mermaid in which Ariel is being chased by Max the dog exhibits both follow through and overlapping action in her body, dress, and hair.
Exaggeration can be employed to help move the story along – exaggerated background or body movements can let the viewer understand their importance while exaggerated facial features or movements can help the viewer understand the emotions being portrayed. One of my favorite uses of exaggeration is Flynn Rider’s “smolder” in the Disney movie Tangled.
Appeal is the quality of a character that makes it interesting to the audience. Wikipedia describes appeal in animation as the equivalent to charisma in an actor – making the character multi-dimensional. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily only apply to the protagonists, as all characters, including the villains, must be fully formed to help carry the story and maintain the viewers’ interest. I chose Maleficent as my example of appeal because of her character’s lasting impact. Tall, angular, terrifying, bourgeoisie and the exact opposite of the good faeries, Maleficent’s character has lived well beyond serving simply as the villain in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and in fact has become the center of her own two-part live action film series.
This week I created a logo stinger out of the Choate Rosemary Hall logo that can be used specifically for their alumni content. I decided to use this logo because my main role at work is creating interactive media content for the alumni of the School and we don’t have anything that is specifically branded for coming out of the alumni communications office.
Because I’m using a logo for a long established brand, I decided it was important to stay within the brand guidelines as best I could while still creating interest and movement. I tried several options that included much more fading in of the layers, but ultimately decided that less is more for this project.
For the sound, I created a WAVE file of a four note portion of the School song using the program GarageBand. It’s my first time ever creating any sort of “score” and I’ve only one created foley sound in the past, so this was new territory.
With a bit of urging from my professor, I took the logo stinger animation further by adding additional movement and sound. While I was trying to play it safe based on my thoughts of the brand and how the Communications department would feel about a logo stinger, there was certainly plenty that I could do to make the animation more dynamic. Below you can view my updated Choate Alumni logo stinger.
Blazer, L. (2016). Animated storytelling : Simple steps for creating animation et motion graphics. Erscheinungsort Nicht Ermittelbar] Peachpit Press.