Thursday, October 16, 2014

"I'm an Action Figure"

When I animated this scene with Hercules I was able to benefit from some live action reference. 
The actor who went through the motion in front of a video camera was Robert Gant. 

I received a layout package which included these two enlarged print-outs from the footage. Before animating I studied Robert’s acting and actions on a TV monitor. At the same time I drew a series of thumbnail sketches as I was searching for the key poses.
I remember the live action footage being excellent, and I used most of what Robert was doing. But by not tracing photostats it is still necessary to digest the scene in your head and make it your own. 
Hercules has just been told by his father Zeus, that he is doing great, but he hasn’t proven himself a true hero yet. At the start of the scene Hercules is listening to Zeus’ remarks, still feeling good about himself. When he realizes that those words are critical his demeanor changes and he responds with a frustrated tone in his voice:
“But father…I’ve beaten every single monster I’ve come up against. I…I’m the most famous person in Greece. I…I’m an action fIgure!” 
At that point he is holding up a little Hercules toy, and I decided what the scene needs is for this merchandise figure to be squeezed, which would result in a mechanical biceps flexing.
It got a laugh here and there during screenings.
Here are the rough key poses from the scene:


  1. Wow! Pretty fascinating! It looks like a shot with pretty hard perspective take to animate.

    I just love the way, the Hercules movie was animated. A stylization of a characters and quality of animation make this title a one from a top on my "top animation movies list". I love the way how cartoon and realistic elements of animation relate each other.

    Actually I would love to see more stuff like this [I mean from Hercules], oh and if You Mr Deja has a few drawing of Hades it would be great to see them : )

    Oh I am just waiting for more animation tests from this feature.

    Have a nice day Mr Deja!

  2. Thank you for posting all these animation drawings with timing notes! I will show them to my animation class as proof that 2D animation did exist and how to learn about timing and posing.

    I have an animation blog call , teaching the principles of animation and other things I've learned. I am also making a 2d webisode series called WatchCat and have a "making of" blog called

    I greatly appreciate your work and I always look forward to reading your blog as well. I will be at the CTNX this year, perhaps we will run into each other, but not too hard.

    Thanks again,

  3. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Amazing animation. I always loved that quote, and your animation comes to my head everytime I remember that scene. Congratulations.

  5. Andreas! It was so amazing to see you talk about this scene during your lecture and that you posted it on here so that others can reference it and learn from it.

  6. Just so great, thank you for sharing those here also. That ending "I´m an actionfigure!" Is so funny, Hercules almost panicking, how to prove his dad

    Did they film whole film or just what animators asked?

    Noticed, that as animator it would even more helpfull, if background would be white, so pose shows more clear on video reference.

  7. I can't tell you how many times I viewed the pencil test over and over just now. I've learned so much about timing notes from just this small sample (but then, I've always enjoyed your timing in particular). Thanks for posting this, and also for showing that human reference does not mean "tracing", but learning how figures move. Excellent!

  8. This movie really left a huge impression on me as a kid, so seeing "behind the scenes" posts like this makes me really happy. (Your pencil tests are so inspiring too!)

    Thanks for sharing, and thank you for bringing such a great and lovable character as Hercules to life! : )

    1. elegant design and beautiful animation (although the movie isn't one of the best,I think)