Friday, January 29, 2010

The 180 rule

Edit: In a side note, the purpose of the 180 rule is to "not confuse the audience so they can focus on the story." this means, you can break the rule as long as people don't get confused. Unless of course you want to confuse them on purpose.

As some of you know, I actually studied mechanical engineering in school. It's part of the reason why I break everything down into steps. There is one thing I learned in engineering. Never think. I don't like to waste precious brain activity on thinking. For instance, if I get a math problem, I don't make any assumptions, I just start it and go step by step and let the problem lead me to the answer. I can almost completely shut off my brain. This applies to everything I do. Here for example is how I handle the 180 rule. I don't think about anything. I don't even take a guess where the characters will be. I just hold my finger up and say, "this guy's on this side, this guys on this side." then I flip back and forth and make sure they are on the same sides.


15 comments:

  1. Just came across your blogs. What a treasure trove of information. There is stuff here that art books on the market don't go into. Especially appreciate your stories of how you struggled to get to where your at. Thanks for passing on the knowledge.

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  2. Man, you think like I do in so many ways. Love this blog. There are some scenes though, that will turn my brain inside out. Once I introduce two more characters into a scene and then another line of action between an object and back and forth. It's easy to over think it sometimes. This really does help, thank you.

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  3. Are there any other ideas or principles in mechanical engineering that you've found that you can use in your drawing process or within drawing principles?

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  4. Brandon: Yes, it gets harder. One thing I always do is go get reference if it's the first time I've boarded something. For instance two guys in a car. Guy walking through a door. group of guys at a table. The first time I boarded all those things, I went and looked at movie clips to see how others handle it. you don't have to use the same shots and cutting, but it helps to see how they handle things like the 180 rule.

    Chromasketch: I always come up with rules for myself. Rules that have flexibility built into them so I'm not breaking the rules. For instance one rule is "both sides of a form of a non symmetrical object must be offset." the flexibility comes in on how much I offset them. Now I can play in a realm that has a rule attached to it.

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  5. Rad do you go through a certain or general process when you go to break up a problem? I mean, you've sort of shown how you go about it when you have a drawing problem with the helicopter post. Is step by step sort of your process? What constitutes as a step? I'm just trying to get an idea or a sense of how you process and break things mentally.

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  6. I just try to understand it as best I can. Any time I can take it one step simpler, then I modify my rule, or understanding. I just keep breaking it down more and more.

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  7. compliments!
    are great
    thanks for your advice ^^

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  8. rad: Some more questions, for you. What to you do when you reach a problem that you can't solve, or can't break down to understand it? Is that when the studying and analysis of maybe another artist who's done it before comes in? (Sort of like what you mentioned with the first time you board something) Do you do any other things, or have any strategies?

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  9. chromasketch: art and science are very closely related this way. we climb on the back of the people before us and try to go a little tiny bit further. The best we can draw is like cavemen. Everything past that comes from looking at how other artist solve problems. I pretty much only find solutions to problems by studying other artist. Other than that, it's just happy accidents. I've never seen an "original" artist who draws with a lot of technical craft. You can look at and any good draftsmen and pick apart their influences. If it looks like they are "original" it's because their influences are obscure or they've developed enough style on the surface to hide it.

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  10. rad: since you brought up style, how do you go about developing one? i know you very it from project to project, but what is it that you look for/think about?
    for instance if you were going to do a noir tale how much would you deviate from your witch story? do you think about the whole "look" bg, props, characters or do you start with a character and work out?
    i know its a very specific question but something i was thinking about

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  11. Cool stuff. Great way to think of it. Thanks so much for all your posts!

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  12. Brandon: If this is of any help, Steven D Katz's "Film Direction: Shot by Shot" has lots of examples on the 180 degree line when you introduce new characters and they're pretty easy to understand. Each example has been illustrated well for greater understanding.

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  13. Marco: At some point drawing stops being work and you start to have fun and just play, That's how I look at style.

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  14. Cool! You're a mechanical engineer? Maybe all hope isn't lost for me then :D

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