Acting Performance With Dialogue Using The Pose to Pose Method

The acting performance with dialogue shot exercise is about expressing the different emotions the character is going through while delivering the dialogue.

The motion of the character is already defined in the acting reference video and can be exaggerated in the animation by creating more extreme poses. The variety of the actions, poses and expressions makes the shot more dynamic and entertaining to watch.

In the following video, the timing and audio starts out slowed down to better show the golden key poses and passing key poses, then it speeds up as we work through the animation process to play in real time.


Using Morpheus Human Rig

Method of work

1 - Understanding the rig

Looking at all controllers of the body and face, understanding their options.

In this exercise we will make sure that the head CON is in world mode, the arms are in FK and world mode, the feet are in IK and world mode.

2 -Creating an appealing reference

A great reference helps tremendously to guide the animation process in creating better poses, accurate timing and spontaneous emotions

3 - Observing the reference

Finding when and where the key poses are, the golden key poses, the contact and release key poses, the passing key poses and more breakdown key poses

4 - Creating the golden key poses in step mode

The golden key poses are the main keys that define the blocking idea of the motion. The first pose and the last pose of the reference are considered as golden keys as they start and end the acting.

While creating the golden key poses, it is important to look at the line of action, the silhouette, the exaggeration and the squash & stretch of the pose.

5 - Creating the contact and release key poses in step mode

The contact key poses are the poses when the character first contacts parts of the set, props, between characters, or even contact a different part of the body on the same character (eg. clapping).

The release key poses are the poses when the character is just about to release the contact with parts of the set, props, between characters, or contact a different part of the body on the same character (eg. clapping).

6 - Going into spline mode 

Checking all animation curves and making sure all curves look clean with nice arcs or flat when needed.

7 - Creating the passing key poses in spline mode

The passing key poses often define the extreme point of the arc of the motion. They break the linear motion between the other poses and give circles to the motion.

8 - Timing

Respecting the timing of the video reference for the poses may create a motion that feels a bit too slow. Retiming some parts of the animation or even the entire piece will help to keep the motion more dynamic. 

On an acting piece with dialogue, this process needs to be carefully measured to not lose the acting performance matching with the dialogue.

9 - Revising the exaggeration

Making sure all poses are reached to their extremes.

10 - Arcs and in-betweens

Polishing the animation curves in the curve editor, double checking the arcs between each key pose.

Checking the motion between key poses and fixing the transitions like arcs, parts of body going through other parts, delays and accelerations ...

11 - Adding the facial expressions

Depending on the camera view and the speed of the motion, this step can be more or less demanding.

12 - Adding camera view

Setting up a more interesting view to present the character motion at its best.

13 - Polishing the animation

Adjusting general motion and animation curves according to camera view.

14 - Final render

Rendering with lighting, shadows and motion blur for better presentation.      

The dialogue comes from this scene in "Austin Powers" :