Wednesday, December 26, 2012

That one walk cycle in Ponyo....

Author's note:
Before I nitpicking this one walk, I looked up the definition of nitpick. It is to be critical of inconsequential details. I feel this walk may only bother me. Ponyo is a beautiful movie that I truly do love. I understand Studio Ghibli has to work with a deadline and delegate shots as most important to least important. Also, I am dust compared to Ghibli's talented workers.

Ponyo or Ponyo on the Cliff is loosely based off The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. A human boy named Sōsuke finds a goldfish/human named Ponyo. She becomes personally attached to the little boy and uses magic to become human. Ponyo is a film I highly suggest watching at a theater. Please excuse the use of low quality gifs. I made these gifs to just convey the movement.

I watched this movie in 2009 when it came out in America.When you watch a movie, you are sort of in a trance. This one walk cycle took me out of the movie. I thought it was a bit strange this one walk cycle.

Sōsuke's Mom (Lisa) just bought a lot of groceries.
I have no problem with Sōsuke's walk. You can tell he is a young boy trying to catch up with his Mom while minding his ice cream. But, his Mom, Lisa, was the problem for me. Lisa is a powerful woman and seems to have huge strength. I have a feeling the animator wanted to show this but went a bit too far. I think if her stride was a foot length closer, it wouldn't give off this awkward feeling almost like she could fall over. I know such a slight fix seems like an unnecessary complaint. It just stands out when there are other carefully choreographed moments in this film.

The animator's decisions in this scene are amazing.
 I smile at the scene of Sōsuke being mindful while exiting the car. He slides out feet first and nudges the door with his elbow. When he walks away, his eyes are fixated on the bucket. I could definitely tell the animator was observant at the choices the character would make.

This is another example of a carefully choreographed scene. He shuffles his feet to prepare to enter the gap in the gate. His hair even brushes up against the background. You wouldn't believe how many movies don't easily line up the animation with the background or objects that characters are holding.

What I look like when I'm carrying a mug of hot cocoa.
The last example is looking at a walk cycle that works. Sōsuke still has a powerful stride that is similar to his Mom with the grocery bags. However, the distance between the stride is much more reasonable.

I would love to hear what other people think about Lisa's walk cycle and the other scenes mentioned in this post.

My next article will probably regard fun stuff I noticed while framing through Princess Mononoke.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!  


Amelia Lorenz said...

Nice observations!

Ellen Yu said...

Thanks Amelia! :D

Agha_Memnun said...

"Ponyo" is without doubt one of the most beautifully animated films ever made. The character animation is full of specificity and definition, largely free of cliches. Certainly, there are some flaws, and some of the animation jitters a bit (on 3s, though a lot of the animation is on 2s and 1s), but the animation on the whole constitutes an impressive achievement, full of the "illusion of life".