Monday, January 14, 2008

Let's Dance



Click on Whinsey to start her dancing, and click on her to stop it.

Hmm, I feel as if I've seen that dance before... hmm.

Yes you have if you ever check the weather at weather.com. It's from that annoying commercial for "Lower My Bills."

Dance animation is hard to do, at least for me-- the timing has to be just right to keep it fluid yet you also need to hold poses lightly to accent steps. I was determined to figure how that motion worked. I knew I could never figure it out just looking at it. The style looks like the Sims to me, but must be some kind of 3d program-- wonder if dance steps are provided as a feature in that program?

Here's what I did:
In Internet Explorer I cleared my cache, then loaded the weather.com page.
I searched through my cache in Internet Explorer and found the swf file, and saved it. I thought I could just import that into my Flash movie and look at the motion. No go. It had some weird kind of protection on it.

So off on the Google road I went, and I found a program called Flash Decompiler Trellix, which was free and didn't look as if it was going to put endless popups with nasty pictures on my hard drive. Reckless, yes, but I proceeded. It in fact placed all the frames of the Lower My Bills Dance in a new Flash file. They were black and white and grainy looking, but that didn't matter as I just wanted to study the motion.

It just happened that the dancing girl I'd caught was wearing an outfit not unlike what I've dressed Whinsey in for my latest animation. So I redrew the whole animation and adjusted things and got so sick of it all but then liked it at the end. It still needs cleaning up further, but just thought I'd post it anyway.

Here's the reference girl side by side with Whinsey:

7 comments:

Linda said...

Fascinating.
And so perfect for Whinsey!
I don't look at weather.com, because I'm not the outdoorsy type–but doesn't Whinsey need some muzak?
I notice that Whinsey's wearing her Vacuum Shoes.

sally g said...

You are so clever and resourceful! It looks great.

Namowal said...

Yay Whinsey! She's a hoofer, alright!
I agree with sally g- that's a very resourceful (and persistent!) way to get the dance reference.

Mean Jean said...

I'd much rather watch Whinsey dance than that steroid-chick.

Sally said...

Tanks all around. I should have added music but I intend to use this animation elsewhere, just thought I'd include the info on grabbing movement.

In the cartoon I'm working on, Whinsey is definitely wearing vacuum shoes, thanks to you, Linda. And she has a weird lamp and fridge too.

You don't look at weather.com? I can't imagine!

fearlessfreep said...

I got a chuckle when I saw Whinsey doing that dance. It always strikes me as unnatural but I don't hang out at the hot nightclubs. Have you any new animation projects coming up? How is the watercolor thing going?

Sally said...

I agree it's unnatural looking, fearless, but it was so darn fluid. And as to watercolors, I left my heart in San Francisco-- no-- I left my tubes... in Colorado. I'm working on a new cartoon for cel phones or youtube or whoever wants to see it. In the process learning a new program that has water color features. Not the same tactile pleasure but no mess, no keyboard spills, no toxic residue. (And no success with it yet.)