Men do cry


I’m trying to experiment with the timing and spacing of my animation, I have been reviewing the Animation Survival Guide to improve my animations more. I feel as though I it has been improving my animation skills – this test is short but  was trying to create a dramatic shot of this man crying in his hands.

After our second presentations, Mike mentioned giving the man who was crying an identity. I went away and came up with the idea of a psychic sitting in the garden get a vision of his own death. This is just a map out of some of the key poses behind this idea (the pacing needs to be ended) – The challenge with this concept was expressing how this man would react – shocked or sobbing… I hope to develop more this stage.


Sketching out pose to pose the key poses / breakdowns to the video reference to visualize the different steps of each move and to think about the timing and spacing of this shot.


Here is another series of pose to pose sketch of the man drinking a cup of tea before having a vision, and then putting it back down quickly. I wanted to learn how the arm moved – although it seems simple enough, I still needed time to process the movement.


Above I am trying to experiment with the timing and spacing of this movement – I want to push myself this term to really focus on the technical side of the animation process. Understanding how to give the right pace – and apply the other animation.

A mixture of expression sheets and timing – pose to pose. My sketchbook has been a place to explore and jolt ideas down, hence why these aren’t that pretty. Yet, have helped me to learn so much.


These are ten second gesture poses of my sister. I asked her to pose ‘upset’ – some of these are very exaggerated and some quieter. It’s a good exercise to explore lots of different poses in a short time – you can really tell what works and what doesn’t. I created these to extend the poses too.


After my half way presentation, I was told to think of a concept that could be applied to the animation instead of just doing a scenario – understanding why he was crying and who he was. I made my own version of the ‘character – story’ chart that my tutor had given to me as an example. Above are ten ideas that I looked at for this character. My favourite are the ones in blue. The final idea was: A psychic who has a vision of his own death (in the garden). 


Above is a spider diagram of different characteristics of a person. I wanted to explore the type of characteristics that different people possess. I created this as a future reference for any character. Pick 3 -5 of these words and then apply it to a character to give them depth and understand how that character would act.


This shot has little movement but more a study of the expression changing and the inner thoughts of the male character as he quietly cries. I actually really like this shot as I get the sense the character is looking at me – and I feel empathy towards the character. It’s nice to know that such a simple shot can still be so effective.

Above are the several tests that I created to begin exploring different ways that males cry. I’m torn between making  a really subtle change of emotion (hidden crying) or to break the male stereotype of hiding emotions and create a shot that is more dramatic and raw (more like sobbing.) These animations are very short but explore a few ways that I can test the emotional man. I think it would be nice to do slower pacing to build into the shot – but If i don’t have time, I may just do the ‘height of the emotion.’


I created this mood board of males crying from films / soap dramas an YouTube – I wanted to understand not only structurally how people cry , but to also to understand how males in particular cry. I want to develop my skills in this area, as I have never created animation of a person crying and I don’t animate males as much. Above I can see a variety of male expression that will inform my research.

I wanted to also reference an animation of a character crying to see how the animation approach. My favourite crying character, is Merida (Brave, 2012) – her facial actions seems so realistic, she has an ugly crying faces which makes it seem very realistic. This seen also is very sad because it feels like pure emotion.

This scene from The Impossible (2012) is a very heart-wrenching scene of a father separated from his wife and oldest son after the Tsunami hit of 2004. He has finially been able to call home (in England) and his emotions he has been holding in have all flooded out when speaking to someone he knows. I like the raw sobbing of this character in this scene. Very sad and also is a good reference of a crying man.

This is a video of Ian Bill (from Easterners) crying about his murdered daughter.  I really like this reference – the characters is sobbing and very emotional. It’s also nice to see how the other character is reflecting these emotions from empathy while comforting him. It’s quite rare to see a man shown to cry in this way. He has a lot of expressions I can use to inspire my own character’s performance.

To create a 2d animation of a male character I have to create a male character. I don’t often draw male characters however here are several pages from my sketchbooks let me explore face shapes, features and body shape. I like to experiment before picking the final pose or character. It’s important to explore the character in the design.


I don’t really draw male characters as much as the female, therefore this is a page of my research trying to create some males that I could use for this crying animation.  I played around with the features and just wanted to experiment with the look of the character here – they are more realistic looking as I am going to explore the crying man – I need a better structured face ….


Looking at male actors and pictures I created these drawings of their performances while crying. It was a good way to study the different ways that males cry (in comparison to females) – I also made some notes on the actions that I noticed when these men were getting emotional – these included: Nose flaring, eye brows changing (tenser), mouth tightening, swallowing, eyelid tightening and the cheek moving.


Above is another page from my sketchbook of observational sketches from crying men – trying to understand the movements and gestures that are more subtle in men / when we begin to feel sad. Some of these sketches may even inspire later ideas for the animation of this piece. I like the shots with the hand on the face. (Some of these drawings are very rough)..



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