Obstacle Course Post Mortem


Objective: Create a 2D animation of the character Yzma from the movie The Emporer’s New Groove, as she travels through an obstacle course. Portray her personality with animation techniques and physical mannerisms.

Game Plan: To begin, I researched Yzma’s mannerisms to gain an understanding of how she walks, jumps, falls and behaves. This allowed me to predict how she would respond physically throughout the obstacle course.

I chose to select a few reference images that I kept with me at all times to make sure I was accurately representing her shapes and posture. I found her character extremely fun and comical to draw.

yzma reference



Then I needed to plan out the obstacle course, and how I would have her travel through it. There was many different challenges that I thought of taking her through. See below:

Obstacle course thoughts.PNG

I wanted the audience be able to know it was Yzma without being told, and without drawing her face to give it away. All the obstacles I tried to think of, were so to help me carry out this plan.

When I have established the obstacle course layout, I began to draw the slides.

Drawing out the slides was the most time consuming part of the project, however the most rewarding. It was great to see each section come to life as I drew more and more frames into the action. Yzma is definitely one of my favourite characters, so I found this part very enjoyable.

After I had drawn out the slides, I fixed the timing, and realised that I needed to add a few more frames into each action as the animation was a bit jumpy. Adding 3/4 new frames into each action allowed a much more smooth transition of movements.

When I showed the animation to a class mate, he suggested I add some music, so I did, and I think this gives it a great new element.


Firstly, I loved this assignment. Watching this movie growing up was a large reason I wanted to get into animation in the first place. Creating my own version of my favourite character was so much fun, and  when you enjoy your work, is it really even work?!

There was a large list of ideas that I had, that I wasn’t able to execute. These were all things that I believe would’ve helped me create a more crisp character, and a more refined obstacle course, however I was time sensitive.

Some ideas that I was not able to complete were:

Obstacle course thoughtsI really enjoyed this idea of having Yzma drink o potion that turned her into a cat, allowing her to jump over this obstacle. If I could do this over again, I would allow myself more time to carry this out. I think that this action shows a comical side of the character, and her hilarious way of problem solving.

The potion would’ve been a fun thing to animate. Doing a puff of green smoke and some sparkles in the air or something could’ve looked really good. But again, it wasn’t possible because I didn’t allow myself enough time.

The frames of her transforming from a human into a cat would’ve been really difficult, but fun to try. Definitely on the animation bucket list.



Another thing that I wanted to do, was make Yzma’s fall from the cart a bit more exaggerated. I had hoped that when she fell into the cart, she would completely flatten, and the cart would flatten, and then they would bounce up and back own again. This would’ve made the slide more true to life. Then I had the thought, that maybe she float down, swaying as she came down flat like a feather. This would be very comical, and true to the film that portrays her to be a frail skinny old woman. However I was again cut short for time on trying to execute those actions.

I think that even though the assignment has been submitted, I would like to add more audio to the file. This will polish the animation I think, and definitely create a deeper link tot the movie. Then, I think it would be a great piece of work to add to my port folio.

I did encounter a few technical difficulties during the animation process. I had been working on the drawings for a while. Then had a break for a few days. When I came back to it, I wasn’t able to get the brush size to mimic the work I had previously done. I emailed Katie White to ask for help, but she don’t respond so I was able to fix it by myself..  I’m not sure how lol but I fiddled with the settings and then it was fine again. I also was having issues with my graphics pad. It wasn’t responding and was very laggy Martin Buckingham suggested I open Animate before I connect the pad to my computer, rather than the pad first, and surprisingly, this fixed the issue.

Another thing that I wanted to play around with, was having the cart full of feathers. So that when she landed in it, the all flew up everywhere, and then as she proceeded down the hill, they all flew off with her. This would have been very good to animate, having the feathers move around the scene throughout the slide down the hill. This would have also helped to show how slow or fast she was moving, by what speed the feathers fell to the ground in respect to how fast the cart was moving.

The animation in the movie was a little different to the style that I chose to do. For example, there are many situations where Yzma is either falling or doing a cart wheel, and they chose to do a very blurred version of the action. See below:

yzma blurred

For my work, I chose to draw out each frame to create a more smooth animation. This took more time, however I believe this was more affective. I chose to work in 2’s and 3’s, changing up between the two depending on how well the action flowed. I watched a lot of tutorials on animation and found that the ones who chose to do more slides, appeared more life like. That was the style I wanted to achieve, so that’s what I did! See below:



The underlining theme I wanted for the animation, was just for it to be entertaining. I think that I was able to achieve this. The entrance using the cart wheel was a great opener, I think. The cart wheel was fun to do. Some areas of her body had to be exaggerated in certain slides, which I worried about, but when you watch it back, it isn’t as noticeable as I thought it would be. I worried it would look disproportioned, but rather it just adds a comical value. I thing that I learned while doing the cart wheel that really helped me, was copy and pasting the left hand side of the cart wheel, and then flipping it to be the right hand side of the cart wheel. Saving time on this, allowed me more time to draw more slides so that it was more life like, and flowed better. When doing circular animation like that in the future, I will definitely do that again.


I think that as a whole, I completed the assignment very well. I definitely slacked on the time factor, which left me very limited in my options of animation techniques. Next time I definitely need to make a weekly and daily plan of tasks to achieve so that I stay on schedule…but then actually stick to the plan. I have learned many new and great things from this assignment, and feel proud of the work I submitted. I found animation a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, I think that was partly because I enjoy drawing so much, that it was more fun than a chore. Animation is definitely a practise I hope to perfect.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s