April 2023

Acting and Non-verbal Communication in Animation – Lecture at ILBES

Mina Ždrnja delivered a lecture on the topic of acting and non-verbal communication in animation.

Although animation professionals are widely perceived as serious and introverts, the truth is that they all happen to be actors as well, for a significant portion of their working hours. Storyboard artists, as well as character animators, are required to anticipate mimics, reactions, and movements of the characters they work on. They look for references, record their own facial and body expressions, exchange views on acting among the team, and also often practice in front of the mirror.

Considering the importance of acting in animation, Mina Ždrnja, Lead 2D Storyboard Artist at ILBES, delivered a lecture where she introduced the definition of acting in animation, followed with her own experience in vivifying the characters in order to make their reactions and emotions as realistic as possible. 

Mina concluded that acting in animation is supposed to be overemphasized so that the audience would percieve it properly – just like in the theater. 

She paid special attention to the characters from the animated series "Puffins Impossible“ and their specific personalities which should be visible and clear in each and every episode. She also focused on the challenging part of creating this series with no verbal dialogue involved, which again makes acting crucially important.

This lecture was primarily intended for the storyboard artists at ILBES, as they are the first ones in the series creation cycle to define the acting part. On the other hand, this lecture was positively perceived among other professionals in the studio, including the 3D generalists, the 3D animators, the motion graphic designers, and the scriptwriters who also deal with vivifying the characters. 

Acting in Animation from Different Professional Perspectives 

“I work as a motion graphic designer, and I am also experienced in character design - which is why I found this topic very interesting and useful. In her lecture, Mina emphasized the importance of acting in animation as the way of personalizing the characters. The lecture helped me understand how much this process is important, but sometimes depreciated among the animators. Inspired with this lecture, I would like to send a message to animators – Act more, and worry about the technology less - because animation is all about the performance”, said Aleksandar Ljubomirović, Motion Graphic Designer. 

"Mina's lecture brought out many interesting topics. I aquired new techniques related to character performance which I plan to implement in my everyday storyboard development. This was a very pleasant and informal educational session, and I look forward to the next one", said Izabela Mašić, 2D Storyboard Artist.  

We extend our gratitude to Mina for sharing so many useful insights, relevant references, and key challenges when it comes to performance and non-verbal communication in animation. We would also like to thank all the participants in the Belgrade and Novi Sad studios who made this lecture dynamic and incredibly productive. 

We look forward to the next internal lecture at ILBES! 

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