Monday, September 24, 2012

Instant feelings

I've been chuckling over various Tumblrs and blog posts lately, the ones that just collect a bunch of random animated GIFs to represent how the author reacted to certain things (news, a celebrity faux pas, a silly forum comment, etc.). I find them fascinating because they are able to convey a feeling in just a few seconds. I want to start studying GIFs more and analyze what it is about particular snippets of videos that capture the essence of an emotion.

Here's a good one to start:

It features a change of emotion; he starts out pretty neutral, perhaps even a bit bored. His eyebrows are relaxed, his eyelids drooping over his pupils, and his mouth hanging slightly open.  Then in an instant you see his brows furrow and lower, his eyes open and dart to the left, then back to focus on the speaker.  His whole head tilts a bit in disbelief before freezing in position, facing slightly away from the other guy.  Definitely a "WTF?" moment.

There's a lot going on in such a deceptively simple gesture, but breaking it down helps me understand how and a bit of why it works.  Unfortunately it also kind of makes it less funny, which I find troublesome.  What if I need to animate a funny scene?  If I break stuff down to the point that I no longer find it humorous, how will I know whether it's working or not?