Animating head turns

In this post I’m going to be talking about animating head turns.

Things to remember:

  • Things very rarely move in straight lines in nature, so if you want your animation to look natural, all movements need to follow an arched trajectory (unless of course you want the movement to appear mechanical) for a head turn, this means we need to dip the head down slightly on the breakdown drawing (tilting the head up can also work).
  • Most of the time things move fastest in the middle of the action. So, in animation we ease in and ease out by adding more drawings closer together at the beginning and end of the action. There are times where another force may be acting on your character so a little bit of common sense is needed with this principle.
  • When we turn our heads we tend to blink.

My head turn animation:

How I did it:

Step 1:IMG_1209

IMG_1211
First draw your two keys and the breakdown in between them. Notice that the head is tilted down and the eyes are closed on the breakdown. I have separated the drawings on the top image for clarity. The bottom image shows how the drawings should actually be placed. The positions of the head should form an arc as shown by the blue line.

Step 2:

IMG_1212
Now add the inbetweens. This timing chart shows the placing of the inbetweens, the keys are circled and the breakdown underlined. We are animating on twos, which means every drawing will be exposed twice.

You can find a detailed explanation of animation timing charts HERE

You can also take a look at THIS blog post from animator island which was helpful to me for this exercise.

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