https://vimeo.com/139401723 “Neelix the un-anthropomorphic dog, v1”
I chose Otto Messmer as my artist. My character, Neelix the un-anthropomorphic dog, was based loosely off of Felix the Cat. I watched Otto’s first short film featuring Felix the Cat, “Feline Follies”. This film from 1919 features Felix falling in love with a female cat, them going on a date, her having kids, and Felix subsequently trying to escape the responsibilities of being a father figure. The subplot of this short is while Felix was away, mice came in to the barn he was supposed to have been protecting and make a mess of the barn. In this short, he is referred to as “Master Tom”.
Unlike most of Felix the cat’s shorts, Felix walks on all 4 legs for a large portion of this 4-minute animation. While there are points where he uses his front legs as hands, there are many points where he’s shown walking and/or running on all fours. This is what inspired me to show Neelix the un-anthropomorphic dog standing on all four legs in both of my animations.
For example, at the beginning of the short film, Felix is shown running towards the barn on all four legs, and again at the end when he tries running away from the female cat, Miss Kitty White, and the children they had together. This concept eventually made me want to not anthropomorphize my character. I also decided this because I have yet to see a cartoon series about an animal as the main character where the animal has not been anthropomorphized. I wanted to steer away from that standard and try something that I felt was new.
I was particularly happy with the motion from frame 44 – 74, which shows Neelix being sucked up into the air by the black hole and being thrown back to the ground by the resulting explosion. I found that that was the smoothest motion and surprisingly the easiest for me to draw. Since I’m not used to drawing anything with non-human features, making Neelix look like an actual dog was difficult for me, especially when he’s shown being thrown back to the ground in frames 56-74. The most difficult part for me to animate was the moment when Neelix’s body turns and goes upside-down. I had a very hard time drawing each frame that Neelix’s body turns and making sure that nothing about him looked disproportional.
Since I was unfamiliar with how to draw the canine anatomy, the facial expressions were not the strongest. The look of “shock” needed much improvement. Next time, I would like to give Neelix more cartoon-like features to make him easier to animate.
Between frames 1 and 20, while the only motion shown is Neelix wagging his tail, the foreground Neelix is on as well as the proportions and details of Neelix himself noticeably changes. The line indicating the plane Neelix is on became more and more distorted by the frame Neelix also changes noticeably. For example, his head gets smaller, and he begins to lose detail in his paws. This was unintentional, and I did not even notice this until looking at the full video. I would like to pay closer attention to detail during my future animations to avoid these errors.
https://vimeo.com/139640882 “Neelix the un-anthropomorphic dog, v2”
In the second animation, I made a different plot entirely for the purpose of exploring new motions. In this animation, I tried to animate Neelix turning around to run in the other direction than what he was facing. One thing I wish I had done differently was the motion of the tail while Neelix was standing still in frames 1-27. I animated Neelix wagging his tail to show that at least something is going on while Neelix stands still looking at a ball. However, I would like to have done the motion differently because the wagging motion did not look natural.
In the end of this second animation, Neelix the un-anthropomorphic dog’s spirit was crushed when he was turned into an anthropomorphic dog. While it was easier for me to draw facial expressions for Neelix as an anthropomorphic dog, I prefer to keep him as just a dog.