Exaggerating an action or a movement can make the movement seem
more real when used in animation.
Perhaps the most widely used exaggerations, in animations, are in
facial expressions. If you have ever seen the movie "Final Fantasy:
the Spirits Within" you may understand the need to exaggerate
facial expression. In films like 'Final Fantasy', 'Polar Express', 'Beowulf' and other motion-cpature films' the movement seems
wrong but that is because there was not enough movement put in the
lips while the characters were talking.
When you watch cartoons it is easy to see the change in facial expressions. They're
almost always exaggerated but this makes them seem more real. However,
the animator should be careful not to over exaggerate things because
that tends to make the movements seem too strange, distracting and unrealistic.
'Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures' was a 1987 revival of the classic Mighty Mouse cartoon character, the series was produced by the legendary Ralph Bakshi. It showcases plenty of constant over-exaggerations of the acting and posing in the character animation, and it's a great reference for this type of exaggeration technique in animated cartoons.
The principle of exaggerating movements is also used in live-action theater, this is so the audience sitting far away from the stage can still read their poses and body language with clarity, even from a distance.
Exaggeration is not extreme distortion of a
drawing or extremely broad, violent action all the time. It’s like a caricature
of facial features, expressions, poses, attitudes and actions. Action traced
from live action film can be accurate, but stiff and mechanical. In feature
animation, a character must move more broadly to look natural. The same is true
of facial expressions, but the action should not be as broad as in a short
cartoon style. Exaggeration in a walk or an eye movement or even a head turn
will give your film more appeal. Use good taste and common sense to keep from
becoming too theatrical and excessively animated.
Good animators often exaggerate
the shape, color, emotion, or actions of a character. Making aspects of the
motion “larger than life” more clearly communicates the idea of the action to
the audience. For example, a character’s arms may stretch to the point that they
appear elastic. However, exaggeration must be balanced. If used in some
situations and not others, the exaggerated action may appear unrealistic and may
be interpreted by the user as having a particular meaning. Similarly, if you
exaggerate one aspect of an image, consider what other aspects should be
exaggerated to match.
However the key to proper use of exaggeration
lies in exploring the essence of the action or idea, understanding the reason
for it, so that the audience will also understand it. If a character is sad,
make him sadder; if he is bright, make him shine; worried, make him fret.
A scene has many components to it including
design, action, objects and emotion. Exaggeration of every element in a scene
creates a feeling of uneasiness in your audience. Everything is distorted and
unrealistic. Find a balance in your scene. Allow your audience a ground for
comparison of the exaggeration and by so doing, the whole scene will remain very
realistic to them.