The Famous Flour Sack is the first step into the realm of character animation. It is the foundational exercise series that most of the great animators have executed at some point in their animation careers. So significant is this sack of substance that many believe it to be the primary starting point for all beginners in animation. AMB Real Animator Training disagrees profoundly with such beliefs. The flour sack is not featured once in the basics archive of the real animator training library and is the introduction to the new intermediate archive.
The flour sack is essentially a simple shape representing a character that can display emotions through movement via the use of suggested poses and body language. Through repeated experimentation and play the intermediate animator will start to discover how to portray these acting choices effectively and because of the simple design the execution of such experiments will be swift and time saving.
So why then is this not considered a basic exercise in AMB Real Animator Training? Ultimately when doing this exercise we are concerning ourselves with character acting – in other words character animation. In order to fully focus on the benefits of this process our minds must be free from clutter , confusion and misunderstandings of the essential basics of arcing, slowing in and slowing out , squash and stretch and timing. This is why the ball and pendulum are the absolute beginner basics in the AMB real animator training library. What about walk cycles? surely the stick man is more complex than this simple sack?? well… yes… however we learn the rules and mechanics of basic movements like walking and running with the stick man and now we can think about injecting personality and poses quickly and in less time with the simple sack! – we won’t ponder about simple rules of walk poses like low, high, pass or contact – we are free to play at will and really start getting some acting going!
there is an essential and initial step before we jump into the sack! We must have an idea of exactly how the sack looks from most angles – and how it retains form and consistency even when squashing and stretching. Yes the flour sack is the first step into character animation thus it is our first real experience of character model as well. This edit from the AMB Real Animator Training Library will show you just how important it is to have a good understanding of your subject matter before you begin to animate.