Wednesday, March 21, 2012

X Sheeting: Getting Started

Welcome back! Talked about using an X Sheet (or exposure sheet or dope sheet etc.) and I think some folks got confused so I'm doing this quickie post to make sure everybody gets it and or at least can pretend to get it. I would also like to introduce today's guest blogger; Salty Macgraberflagon who loaned us his X sheet. Say hello Salty.Salty was using the x sheet to time out a ball bounce for class review due tomorrow. Using an x sheet is very helpful in figuring out the timing of practically anything especially dialogue sequences and beyond. Below is the ball that was used for this, because my daughter was helping and she chose this ball because "it was all cool and spiky and blue." - her words not mine. I think she liked it because it bounced all over place but... moving on.Salty started by filling the X sheet below. Notice that he will be shooting on "twos" which means the frame rate is 24 frames per second (fps) and each drawing will last on screen 2 frames. That means there are 12 drawings in 1 second of screen time.On an X sheet, each row represents a frame and the columns you see represent layers of animation. Salty used layer 1 as his background layer, the arrow representing that it will last he duration of the test (he will use extra pages as needed as this x sheet only has 41 frames per page).Next Salty, labeled the second column as 'ball' and will use this column to figure out the timing of his ball bounce test. Because all animation needs to begin with a first frame, he wrote in a '1' and circled it to show it was a key pose. I am just going to assume you know what a key pose is to move along, if you don't check back some time later for post on that topic.Now the time has come to use a stop watch. Salty used his trusty smartphone but anything works. He dropped the ball and registered .4 seconds from drop to first bounce. That is just under a half second which means it's just under 6 drawings.
So Salty opted to use five drawings to show the time of the drop to first bounce. That means that from the first key (circled 1) to the next key - the first bounce - (circled 9) and he wrote this in on the X sheet. He also used the space to the left to write in some notes. This space will be used for dialogue and other cool stuff later in a bigger production but it works a note taking place for now.Now Salty has figured out is inbetweens from drop to first bounce. Because he opted to us 5 drawings to show the timing leading up to the first bounce, and because he used two of those drawings for keys, he has three inbetweens (3, 5, and 7). A fall is pretty even so note the even spacing in the notes.Now Salty needs to plot the second bounce to third bounce, he gets out the timer and gets .5 seconds from bounce to bounce. That's a half of a second and that means it's 6 drawings with the keys being frame 9 and 19. Salty made a note of this at left.Now Salty will again figure out his inbetweens from first bounce to second. Despite is his dulled looks he is a smart fellow using pose to pose rather than straight ahead to figure out his timing. Pose to pose is one of the twelve principles of animation, as is timing, squash and stretch. Read about the twelve principles here. Drawings 11, 13, 15, and 17 are inbetweens and Salty has plotted them as shown.Now Salty has moved on to time out the second to third bounce. After several tries, he gets .5 seconds -another half second. realistically this should be a tad less but it's a fine start point.So Salty times out the next half second from frame 19 to 29 as circled in keys below. Notice also arc is smaller so the slower drawings are closer together.
Salty then inbetweens using frames 21, 23, 25 and 27 as shown below. Drawings are getting closer together which means the action is slowing down. At this point it looks like he will need to check his work when he gets to animating because the action in the second bounce doesn't quite seem right. He will be able to fix the positions of the ball drawings when he goes to shoot his animation work but for now he has a pretty good idea of the overall action.He checks the time from third bounce to fourth.
.4 seconds, again, about 5 drawing or ten frames. He writes this down on the x sheet. His keys for bounce 3 to 4 are frame 29 to 37 ( as shown circled).Now he figure out his inbetweens again; 31, 33 (his breakdown) and 35. Keep in mind, he could just as easily plot all of his keys and then go back a figure out all of his breakdowns and inbetweens. he has ended up with this first page from his x sheet which I hope gives you an idea of what needs to happen.
Have fun x sheeting! Thanks for stopping by.

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