Mack the flour sack Exam Jump

Today I was tasked to create a fully animated jump for the Mack the flour sack character. This all had to be completed within the time limit of 90 minutes using Toon Boom Harmony. During this time I started with the basic blocking for the animation with a rough soft lead brush to sketch out the key poses for the animation within the limit of 24 frames. The first video below was made in the time limit where I made the key poses for the keyframes and break frames, allowing me to plot the height of the jump and the positions of the flour sack to help me later add the inbetween frames.

This video is the final animation that I managed to complete within the time limit of 90 minutes in the exam conditions. Here I have drawn all the frames using the soft lead with really rough sketch lines. This is because I wanted to get the animation to the best I could before playing around with adding smooth outlines. I also managed to add a basic camera movement using the pegs on the camera to move up when the flour sack jumps. The reason for this is because when I animated the sack I realised the animation went outside the camera box on the stage. This will cut the character from wherever it is outside the camera box, so adding the camera just allowed me to show the full movement and not cut anything out.

Below is the final refined line work for the animation, unfortunately this was not made in the allocated time, as I ran out of time to add the smooth line work. Therefore I made it this evening to keep on track with the animation whilst it was fresh in my head. I used the tools effectively in that challenge/ exam, as I managed to complete the animation fully using the rotate tool (ctrl+alt) to rotate the stage to help me draw that character as some of the lines where taking to long to get done the way I wanted.

I think this challenge/ exam has allowed me to see where I struggle with Toon Boom and what I can do well. For instance I can draw efficiently using the copy and paste of frames and cutting them in the timeline to then readjust them using the brush tool. However I think that I struggle with the use of keeping track of the cutting tool in the timeline, as I think it was because of the pressure but some times I would forget to cut a keyframe if I copied it from a previous frame making the original frame become the same as the edited version so that became a pain. But I think I am starting to get used to the different tools in Toon Boom with what I have learned so far.

Speaking of learning things, I learned today how to render a animation using the Node view. To do this you add the node view on the top right hand bar using the top right hand + button. This brings up a scene with a spider like diagram in the middle overlaying each other. Pressing the little square on the write bar it brings up a menu with the information needed to render the nodes. So you check the nodes will go into the correct file which should automatically be the frame folder in your File folder, then using the drop down you choose the file type, so a Jpeg or Tga (targa) file for the images. You can also check the little box that says movie to render a Quicktime video of the animation.

I was also tasked today to choose my three best frames from the animation to show that we can also review animation rather than just being able to make it.


This is frame 7 out of 24, this is appealing to me because the shape helps to show the expression of the character bending down to gain momentum to jump upwards. Furthermore I think this frame has become really effective in the animation, as it gives the character that natural squash like shape to go into the jump making the animation look natural and appealing.


This frame is 14 out of 24, a keyframe where the flour sack is in the air and preparing to fall down. This frame was probably the hardest to get right because the shape of the lower torso and feet kept looking wrong to me. In some cases the legs looked too stretched or too low down making it look really unusual so I had to keep redrawing it to make it look right. But then I decided to copy and paste the first frame and edit it to look like the image above. Furthermore I used the rotate key (ctrl+alt) to rotate the image allowing me to draw it easier. But this frame took the longest and clearly demonstrates what I wanted to achieve making me really happy with the result.


This final image is the smear frame for the falling part of the jump as the flour sack falls back to the ground. I chose this frame 18/24 because the frame helps to give a natural and exaggerated part to the fall making the fast pace movement as the flour sack falls. Furthermore the shapes I used have given the character the sense of a stretched out flour sack as if he is being forced down to the ground making a natural and interesting character pose.

Finally after looking at other peoples work for the exam I think that Robyn will get my vote for the best as her jump looks really interesting. As the animation flows nicely with the flour sacks movement as it jumps into the air, showing a clear understanding of the natural movement.


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