I have finished the four animations and created a survey to gauge viewer’s opinions of the characters in them and how they behave.
To recap: I have two clips where the different characters are acting more human like, and two where the same characters are acting more like animals. This is so I can compare how people feel toward each character as their behaviour and movement changes, and how it might affect their perception of what sort of story they would expect to see the characters in.
The four clips in question, each about 8-10 seconds long:
In the survey I have the participants choose which character they find more appealing out of combinations of two of the four clips. So, there is a question that compares upright Ridley with all fours Ridley, upright Leopard-Man with all fours Leopard Man, and each Ridley clip with each Leopard-Man clip. I felt comparing them all to each other would give me more potential information on how appeal is affected by different factors like visual appearance, the way they move, their facial expressions, etc. As there were only four clips, the number of combinations needed was only six, which I felt was not too demanding of the survey participants’ patience if I kept the question very simple. I also included a question asking if the participants had any particular positive or negative feelings toward any of the clips in question and what factors they thought might influence it.
The survey is here:
However I will record the questions themselves in this post for ease of reference.
- For the following questions, please watch the two clips A and B for each part. For each part, out of A and B, which character do you find more appealing?
- This time, the clips will be of the same character. Out of A and B, in which clip is the character more appealing?
- Please give a score for each clip how human- or animal-like the character in each one appears to you. (1 indicates entirely animal-like; 5 indicates entirely human-like)
- From the following list, please select what kind of narratives you think the character in each of these clips might fit (please select all that you think apply):
[Options were fantasy, sci-fi, horror, comedy, thriller, drama, action adventure, slice of life.]
- Lastly, do you feel particularly positively or negatively about any the characters and/or how they act in any of these clips?5.b. If so, do you think this response is mostly to do with the design, movement, facial expression, or something else about the character?
Having carried out the survey and taken some feedback on it, I feel like the survey had some problems which may affect its effectiveness – for example, I would have liked for a format that allowed for the four clips to be present separately from the questions throughout, for the participants to look back on as they needed, rather than having the clips presented with each question – which may have felt like it prompted more repetitive watching and perhaps affected how the participants felt.
The other issue is that my use of the word ‘appealing’ in the first set of questions perhaps needed a brief definition included with it – I was thinking of the principle of Appeal in terms of animation, as Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston defined it:
“To us, it meant anything a person likes to see, a quality of charm, pleasing design, simplicity, communication and magnetism […] A weak drawing lacks appeal. A drawing that is complicated or hard to read lacks appeal. Poor design, clumsy shapes, awkward moves, all are low on appeal.”
So when I wrote the question concerning appeal, it is very possible that the sense of the word I intended may have been different to the way in which the participants took it. This is something to bear in mind as I examine the results of the survey.
Johnston, O. and Thomas, F. (1997) “The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation.” Hyperion.