Dog flour sack animation

I decided that for one of my exercises I would try to attempt a flour sack animation. So I began by downloading a 3d flour sack rig and having a play with that. After spending many hours struggling with the rig I decided to try using it in Toon Boom instead.

I wanted to practice by making a simple emotion to emotion with the model and trying to maintain the volume.

I’ve been reading Acting for animators by Ed Hooks and I wanted to apply some of his theory to my work. The starting point for creating my performance was to use his formula for acting. “Acting is an action in pursuit of an objective while overcoming an obstacle”. So I started thinking of basic objectives and obstacles a flour sack could have and I decided to give the flour sack some animalistic qualities.

The premise for this story is, the flour sack is sleeping and is woken by a bouncing ball. The flour sack desperately wants now to catch this ball but the problem is the ball is moving too fast and is difficult to catch. The sack then leaps forwards and ultimately misses the ball.

The flour sack behaves very much like a dog in this performance so I observed by own dog and how he reacts for reference. The Objective the flour sack has is, he wants to catch the ball, the Obstacle is the fact the ball is moving. The Action the flour sack takes to catch the ball is to dive forward. The sack misses the ball so ultimately fails in his pursuit. The type of conflict present in this performance is conflict with character, as the bouncing ball behaves like another character teasing the flour sack by waking him up, and then by taunting him.

I played with the flour sack rig in Maya to try and pose it but I came into lots of difficulties using it resulting in the rig not doing what I wanted it to and doing strange things when I animated it. So I decided to change plan and animate the flour sack in 2D. I animated this emotion to emotion to see if I could maintain volume in 2D.


I came up with the idea of posing the flour sack in Maya (seeing as that wasn’t too difficult), then using those stills to aid my drawing and keep me on model. This is a workflow that I would use again when animating in 2D as I found it really helpful for establishing poses quickly.

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