As I have brought up previously, this film is going to incorporate both limited animation and full animation. To demonstrate the key differences between the two I'm drawing upon that old animation staple of cycles, those wondrous sequences that can be looped over and over again. In this entry I'm going to talk about two examples of limited animation - what I've marked out as the 'flight cycle'.
Near the end of the film we find out that the Duck is not nearly as lame and crippled as he has made out to be, in fact he's fully capable of taking flight. These sequences are for when he's being chased around the house by the shotgun-toting Hunter.
First of all a layout drawing - essentially a more detailed version of the visual created in the storyboard - is created, upon which the animation is based. This gives an indication of which elements of the character will move and which will remain motionless. Limited animation does this a lot to save the time of having to draw a different image for each frame of animation. Once it is established that the only moving elements of the Duck will be its wings, careful consideration goes into the flapping motion to make it seem (loosely) realistic.
If a bird is flying it'll raise the wings up with a bend at the joint, bringing the rest up as secondary motion, then at a faster speed it will bring them down with the same bend, this time inverted. This is the first test when all the layers are coloured, scanned and comped:
Given that I am animating on twos (12.5 frames per second as opposed to 25) I inadvertently have put too much in-betweening in, so at this stage the movement is too slow. It's easy enough to fix, by dropping the unnecessary frames the cycle will go quicker, and by applying additional movement to the comped animation I can have the Duck be propelled upward slightly when the wings come down, then have him descend a little when they go up.
There is still some tweaking to be done, and with this additional motion perhaps the need for some kick animation on his remaining leg. Intents and purposes we're more or less there.
I want to cover this flying sequence from two angles, so I need to replicate this cycle but viewed from the side. It's fairly easy as I can just use the corresponding frames of the original cycle as a reference. As this is a not-quite-profile shot, it makes sense to first do a line test.
This basically shows how the animation-in-progress looks in construction-line form, so I know whether or not the movement works before I spend too much time adding detail. This is a crucial stage to get right, as you can have a finished drawing look amazing but it'll be rubbish if it doesn't move well. After a successful line test has given me the green light to go ahead, I can add detail, ink and colour to get this:
As you can see I have added some additional facial animation that is independent of the wing cycle, but the main body stays the same drawing throughout.
So, there's some limited animation for you. Next entry I'll move on to the more laborious stuff...