Friday, 13 October 2017

Visual Storytelling with Buster Keaton

This week at Escape Studios our second year animators are completing a pantomime shot; creating a fun, entertaining piece of animation without words or dialogue. It's harder than it sounds. Without dialogue, you have to use camera, body language and facial expressions alone to communicate your story.  Of course, the masters of silent comedy faced the same problem, which is why animators can learn so much from the silent comedy stars like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.  In the eight minute video above you can see why Keaton was a master of the visual gag.  Why should animators study this stuff? Because animators are actors, and we have to make our acting work on a visual level.  If your scene doesn't work with the sound turned off - it isn't working.

The old stars of the silent screen had to make their movies fun to watch with our dialogue (or even close-ups), so the physical comedy had to be perfect.  Gags were scripted, planned and often improvised, just like the animation process. Great animation starts with an idea, and then moves through acting (often filming live action reference), storyboards, thumbnails, 3D layout and - finally - animation.  The secret is almost always in the planning.

To find out more, watch the video above and learn from the master.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our BA/MArt in 3D Animation, follow this link.  To apply for our storyboarding evening class, visit this page here.  For the next 12 week animation course, click here. And to apply for the next evening class in Producing Animation, see this page.  

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