Over the past few months Ive mentioned re-animating a classic sequence from a Bugs Bunny cartoon clip doing a rag-time jig to ' Camptown Races'. I stumbled upon the frames in my very reasonably priced Looney Tunes book 'The Art of Warner Brothers Animation' which I got for $10 on Amazon.

At first glance you could be fooled into thinking these are the actual keys in some order or other. However the frames displayed in this beautifully vintage book are only some of the major keys and extremes one needs for the dance. Once youve checked out the footage you can see that the frames concerning his hands hiding his face for the extreme movements are missing and very important for the cycle/ animation.

Working out the timing to the cycle was probably one of the most important elements of re-creating and re-animating this sequence. For this I needed my trusty Metronome and a fuck load of help from the Internet. So if you re trying to do the same visit these sites, I couldn't have done without them:


Once Id worked out the 12x beat from Jon K's examples I more or less started to understand that 16's is another way of saying 'every 16th frame you hit a beat'. The character might not necessarily hit every beat in the score and do every other beat or something but with this dance it took a while to realise which frames in the animation were my main key-frames to accent each beat. 
At first I thought it was when the arms bumped backwards or when the hands hit the key positions when they hit upwards. However it was actually hitting in the middle:

Beat 1
  Beat 2
Beat 3
Beat 4
 I set the metronome based on this chart I got online:

24 Beat           60BPM   
22 Beat           65BPM
20 Beat           72 BPM
18 Beat           80BPM
16 Beat           90BPM   } 90BPM= 1.5 beats a second (90 (BPM) divided by 60 (Seconds))
14 Beat           103BMP
12 Beat           120BPM
10 Beat           144BPM
8 Beat            180BPM

BPM=Beats per minute so this is what you set your Metronome by

 I am absolutely sucky at music theory, part of the reason why I quit piano and got bored of the Saxophone in my school days because it was always a bit too mathematical for my liking and if you get too involved then it will be.  However, once youve got it in your brain what these terms mean and youve worked out what frames are hitting those beats its pretty much just figuring out from the pixelated footage which frames are the extremes and key positions. Im not even saying Ive got it right, I doubt Il know if it works until I start inbetweening and adding in my frames (rather than copying the footage frame by frame, that would be pointless). I might have it completely wrong but this is all part of the experimenting process for me; nothing ventured nothing gained. Something I wish we had been given to do in University....lets not get into what that place should have taught us ><

My rough Ex sheet is based on my findings from the footage so for the love of bunnies please forgive the badly labelled frames, I will be organising these into a saner numbering/naming order when I get the chance!:

I drew a pink line for each second (24 frames) and the beats are labelled in pink with the appropriate frame-grabs besides them. The writing in blue are my self labelled frames and the ones I need to re-name. I also found that on 2 occasions I had found a frame I thought was imperative that I have as an extreme else the movements would shift in a dissimilar way to the original. This is why some are called 'Beat 1' and 'Extreme 1' because one is a key and the other an extreme to change from one leg to another etc. Sometimes Ive even gotten these so close together Ive thrown out '2b' for example because I doubled up accidentally. It can get tricky and trickier if youre a ditz like me and dont label things right!><

So this is how Ive got it so far:



Back to BEAT 1 for a cycle. 

In the original the movements dont cycle, they go into a really nice hat movement which, for the purpose of just learning timing here, I left out and decided to cycle the movement instead. I think Ive got enough to be getting on with without doing the entire 7 seconds of the movement. XD

So here's what I plan to do:

*Use the extremes and Keys to do some inbetweens of my own based on the timing and the movement. This wont mean that I wont be relying heavily on the footage for the accents and such but it does mean Il have to be careful not to be too obsessed with the inbetweens being exactly the same as the original.

*Do a few versions and see which will be closest to the original. The very least, the drawings will be different but the keys will hit those beats. 

*Get feedback and advice from people where I can
This will be a great exercise to see what drawings I come up with and give me further insight into this way of animating and deconstructing a classically animated sequence.

More soon!