Friday, May 29, 2015

Hercules Pencil Tests

For the longest time I had written off my tape with Hercules pencil tests as lost. But that tape recently resurfaced, and looking at the footage now brings back a lot of memories. I was one of the last animators to finalize the character's design, everybody else had found a way to incorporate graphic elements, found in the work of British illustrator Gerald Scarfe, whose edgy drawing style served as the inspiration for the film's overall look. 
As Hercules' personality was developing I felt I needed to take it easy as far as heavy stylization. He was supposed to be shy around girls and frustrated at the lack of progress in trying to become a hero.
A little clumsy, but good natured and ambitious.
In the end Adult Hercules shows only a minor Scarfe influence, just enough to fit in with the rest of the cast of characters. 
While animating I recall trying to get to the core of his emotion, which presented a challenge during short scenes. I often thought that a bit more footage for certain scenes would help me to get the business across in a stronger way.
Actor Robert Gant acted out most scenes, and I enjoyed the process of doodling thumbnail sketches in front of a monitor. That way I could pick and chose poses I liked, and eliminate others that didn't work for me. Overall the live action reference was very helpful.
The reel includes first pass animation pose tests as well as final refined versions. There are a whole bunch of scenes I'd like to rework, others I am ok with.

Here is the link to an earlier post about Hercules' design evolution: