Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Displaying and depicting motion
AQua_ng at 6:04AM, Oct. 24, 2007
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Surprisingly enough, I have come accross the need to show some fighting moves, O-HA! But I am now stumped. I was wondering if I should use ‘go faster lines’ by hand or via ‘motion blur’ through my computer.

What would be the most effective at showing fast movement, like a punch or something?

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last edited on July 14, 2011 10:57AM
Frostflowers at 6:17AM, Oct. 24, 2007
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Since I myself am… afflicted with somewhat static characters/situations, I can only pass on the principles I ought to be trying myself:

If it's a punch, it's intended to hit something. The force and speed of the punch CAN be displayed by what happens to the thing it hits; if it cracks, or if it's pushed backwards, etc., etc. Also, dynamic “camera” angles can help with the feeling of speed.

As far as motion lines vs. motion blur, I tend to prefer lines; it's easy to slip up and go too far with the blur, which means that the entire picture/panel might end up too blurry and indistinct. If anything, go with motion lines. That way, the action remains clear, but you can still imply movement.
The Continued Misadventures of Bonebird - a poor bird's quest for the ever-elusive and delicious apples.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
mlai at 6:32AM, Oct. 24, 2007
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http://www.drunkduck.com/community/view_topic.php?tid=34320&cid=238

http://www.drunkduck.com/community/view_topic.php?tid=32243&cid=238

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
yoshi927 at 1:25PM, Oct. 24, 2007
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If you ask me, speed lines is no match for exaggerating the movement. If you draw a punch, make it affect all parts of his body. His leg kicks out and his spine curves, because he's putting all his weight into it. His other arm might be flung out, etc.

Other than that, I'd choose motion blur. It involves me doing less work.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:53PM
StaceyMontgomery at 8:10PM, Oct. 24, 2007
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My goal is to work without motion lines, blurs, or anything like that. I prefer pages to be free of such stuff.

However, I still use occasional motion lines for clarity. I hope to stop using them when I am better at depicting motion.

You know - with practice.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
Fenn at 3:10PM, Oct. 25, 2007
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StaceyMontgomery
My goal is to work without motion lines, blurs, or anything like that. I prefer pages to be free of such stuff.

However, I still use occasional motion lines for clarity. I hope to stop using them when I am better at depicting motion.

You know - with practice.
I know what you mean. I'm trying to use as few motion lines as possible, but sometimes they are needed to clarify what is actually happening. Maybe if I had a full page comic where I could devote several panels to a particular action I wouldn't need them so much. Since I'm doing a strip very similar to your Rocketship A Go-Go in format, sometimes they're needed. But I feel if you use them minimally, their impact is greater when you do use them.

Another thing I considered was using FX not just for sounds, but to indicate actions, like “TOSS!” and “LEAP!” but that struck me as kind of silly (although in some strips I find these uses of FX to be quite effective and funny, like in pastel's ELO).
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:26PM
Darth Mongoose at 2:36PM, Oct. 26, 2007
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One important thing:
Don't use the blur tool if your art is drawn with black outlines, especially if you've done it with traditional media and scanned it. It's very rare to see anybody use the blur tool with line art work and make it not look terrible. If you're using CG, however, maybe you can make this look cool. I dunno, I've never tried it.
Trails or speed lines can help. Don't forget the importance of depicting the dynamic event with dynamic poses. Have fabric and hair and stuff streaming out, light debris like leaves or litter flying around and characters in positions which make them look like they're in the middle of moving. Use of exaggerated perspective can help too.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
cartoonprofessor at 2:52AM, Oct. 28, 2007
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One simple rule to follow when using action:

If you ‘need’ movement lines or blurs to convey action, then you haven't drawn the panel correctly.

Use space appropriately, for example when showing a punch always draw the follow thru, never draw the connection. In this example the heavier the punch, the greater the distance from the point of impact the ‘punchee’ would be.

I have posted a simple tutorial on drawing a running bear in the tutorials. If you have a look, take note of the distance between the ground and the bear's feet. It is this space that creates all of the movement in this scene. If the bear had even one toe on or near the ground all sensation of fast movement would have been lost.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
Fenn at 3:55AM, Oct. 28, 2007
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cartoonprofessor
One simple rule to follow when using action:

If you ‘need’ movement lines or blurs to convey action, then you haven't drawn the panel correctly.
I had no idea there was only one right way to do it. I'll delete my strip immediately.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:26PM
mlai at 9:41AM, Oct. 28, 2007
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Fenn
I had no idea there was only one right way to do it. I'll delete my strip immediately.
Getting sensitive over nothing does not change the fact that he's simply stating a time-honored law of comics drawing.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
Fenn at 12:21PM, Oct. 28, 2007
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I'm not overly sensitive, and I didn't actually run out and delete my strip. It just gets my hackles up when someone pronounces things as “Rules” or “Laws” as if there's only one way to do something, and any other way is wrong.

Or are you saying that your own example here, that you said was a good depiction of action, is actually incorrect:

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:26PM
JustNoPoint at 1:42PM, Oct. 28, 2007
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No, mlai's example is not wrong.

That page does not NEED the speed lines. Take all the speed lines away and every panel would still look as if it had action and movement going on.

Speed lines are only used to add more flavor and effect.

If you cannot tell your character is moving before you add speed lines to a scene then you are failing to convey motion well.

Cartoonprofessor never said "You should not use speed lines"
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
cartoonprofessor at 2:36PM, Oct. 28, 2007
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Fenn
I'm not overly sensitive, and I didn't actually run out and delete my strip. It just gets my hackles up when someone pronounces things as “Rules” or “Laws” as if there's only one way to do something, and any other way is wrong.


I did say ONE simple rule to follow.
I hate ‘rules’ as well. In fact the frst thing I tell a classroom of children is “Always remember the first rule of cartooning… There aren't any!”
I will rephrase my previous post in consideration of this and your sensitivity :
“A simple tip to remember is….”

My apologies Fenn, and thank you for reminding me of something I teach in my own lessons. (annoying smiley face using keyboard strokes)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
cartoonprofessor at 2:47PM, Oct. 28, 2007
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JustNoPoint
If you cannot tell your character is moving before you add speed lines to a scene then you are failing to convey motion well.

That's the point, JustNoPoint.
Thank you.

Good example Miai.
The use of space in the first panel depicts the speed of the ‘contestants’ very well.
If the charcaters took up more of the panel by being larger, therefor using more space, the result would be much ‘slower-looking’.
Empty space is an artist's greatest tool in creating effective action.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
cartoonprofessor at 7:38PM, Oct. 30, 2007
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To those interested I have posted a simple yet effective tutorial based on creating a sense of movement in the Tutorial section.

Thanks.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM

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