Saturday, June 25, 2016

for Lesson 2: working with an X-Sheet for "A Straw Falls"

 This is an educated guess of the straw falling. NO animator really knows if their charts work until they test the drawings as a "pencil test" movie. The first 3 drawings are an "ease in", that is, a gradual acceleration into the action from a standing still position. There are then wider spaces between drawings 3,4,5,& 6, indicating faster motion. I would remove drawing #5 now, and let the straw fall from 4 directly to the ground at 6. This is a fast fall at the end, indicating the power of gravity and the weight, although very light, of the object. Leaving in drawing 5 will slow it all down, but this will look "wrong" to the eye of the audience. Do it & test it.

An X-sheet allows you to map this out visually:

This is the X-Sheet for A Straw Falls, with all the correct timing of the drawings in a vertical column and every frame of the film in the horizontal rows.

This way you can map exactly HOW MANY frames you have to create, and HOW LONG each one lasts.


This is a simple X-sheet I used for a professional job many years ago.

Here are the key points:

A.  Frames of film are horizontal rows. There are 24 frames in 1 second of movie film. The frames are numbered vertically down the left side, from 1 to 59.

B. Levels of your artwork or drawings are vertical columns. This X-sheet has 5 levels ( BG means the background painting).
(NOTE: We'll only use ONE level for this example. It is level 1 for all the drawings of a girl.)

Those drawings start with G, which stands for "girl": G1, G2, G3, etc. In this example, there are only 6 drawings which are used over and over.
Ignore all the other levels for this example.

C. The straw drawings will be numbered S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, and S6. You only have 6 drawings.

E. In the X-sheet in Flipbook, scan in drawing S1, the first straw, into Frame 1, Level 1. It will "stay" there for 24 frames, or 1 second. Then, scan drawing S2 into frame 25 (way later, right?), S3 into frame 27, S4 into 28, S5 into 29, and S6 into frame 30. The changes are getting closer together.

Just leave it all there and click on the green arrow under the movie window and play it. The straw should move; falling down in 7 frames, or about 1/3 of a second. Fast!

It is LIGHT, made of paper or plastic; there is very little weight to it. The total scene time will be 3 seconds long at 72 frames. That is why we "hold" the first & last straw drawings still so we can actually see the straw before it starts and after it falls, so we can "digest" the image. If it were only the 1/3 of a second movement, we wouldn't see it; it would be WAY too fast.

Watch my video of the little pink straw again and you will see what I mean.

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