How devs break bones to make animation feel right

  • 🎬 Video
  • ℹ️ Description
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Smear frames are body horror snuck into seemingly normal video game animations. There was a time when smears were vital in games, but they don’t happen much any more, and there’s a very good reason for their disappearance. With help from the animators of Overwatch and Cuphead, Jenna Stoeber is going to teach you how these weird smears make animation better, and why we don't see them as often as we used to.

0:00 Watch out for SMEAR FRAMES
0:31 Where do smear frames come from?
1:57 How do smear frames work?
7:01 Smears in 3D animation



💬 Comments
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Okay weirdos, anyone got a favorite smear frame?

Author — Polygon

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3D smears are so glorious, never knew they were used a ton in Overwatch

Author — SuperWiiBros08

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So simone is slowly becoming an architect and jenna is becoming an animator, good on y'all for being productive during quarantine

Author — Mitch Thompson

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Jenna: Here is the skeleton of animation
Jenna a few weeks later: We are going to punish the skeleton

Author — ZombieBatmanJesus

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Jenna: okay, say the line!
Animators: Meant to be felt, not seen.
Jenna: *Confetti*

Author — Don FF Beardy

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I come to Polygon to escape my animation homework and find that Polygon has BECOME my animation homework. What would Professor Kroyer say to me now

Author — Pira Piranha

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Top 10 Most Threatening Notifications to Get From Polygon

Author — Punkitt

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I love how every time I watch one of these videos I walk away feeling I know so much more about how [X] works, but I don’t feel like I was just lectured. This video is great, and Jenna is great in it. The jokes are funny but don’t distract from the information, and the whole video just flows very well. Jenna’s videos are always so well researched but never feel dry. Keep up the great work!

Author — Saturn

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I worked on My Little Pony as an animator, and a lot of rigged shows discourage smear frames these days bc of the ability to pause (though they're coming back into vogue bc people started realising they just straight up look better and there's a reason animators use them lmao).

Author — MRR D

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“Animation is the art of movement, not moments." And thus a billion Twitter pedants slamming the animation of a certain work as being bad bc of weird-looking frames erupted in chaos

Author — Nines

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I love how polygon is super down with jumping into a really esoteric topic like animation smears and doesn’t baby the audience while they take us along for the ride. For me its just like listening to someone be really passionate about something, it doesn’t matter what the topic is but if you’re interested, I am. Great content as always!

Author — Luke Maycock

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Smears in old Simpsons are super cursed

Author — Harry Todhunter

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I've always hated seeing people make fun of smear frames, I know amazing animators and it's so frustrating when people are like "Wow look at these lazy animators who couldn't be bothered drawing frames well". Thanks Jenna for showing off this awesome feature of animation! :D

Author — Nat The Elk

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Of course, they break the bones of the bad animators

Author — Richarf

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you: the massively inbetweened walk cycle from the animators survival kit isnt real it cant hurt you
the massivley inbetweened walk cycle from the animators survival kit: 2:18

Author — Ciara Tyrrell

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11:21 I respect Jenna's drive to make "honka honka" her new thing

Author — Natan

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Damn, and I'm over here breaking bones just for sleeping the wrong way

Author — Liam Gunseo

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“Animation is the art of movement, not moments.” Damn that’s good

Author — J

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"Animation is the art of movement, not moments" is a nice quote! Thanks for a great video!

Author — Johann Funn

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Polygon has a thing for Bones
Jenna: Animated Bones
Simone: House Bones (architecture)
Pat: Bone Salt

Author — Kyle Brown