So i've been wanting to write about this because i think its a helpful topic. Reference! So why use reference? How do you get good reference? Personally I use it on almost every shot I animate.
Now dont get me wrong! There are always your masterminds who lock themselves away for 5 days and emerge with this beautiful peice of work. But if your like me and use reference all the time you realize how helpful it can be! After all, the idea is to get the best possible performance that you can!
So how might you get some good reference? Here is what I do.... Usually, when I go in to shoot reference for an acting shot I usually loop the audio (if any) a bunch of times. I actually try to forget that I will be eventually animating this shot, and I act it out naturally, without thinking about it to much. The point is to get something fresh, and see what comes naturally instead of trying to think about what guestures you might be able to use. Usually I'll grab at least one more person to act it out for me as well, so I can get a new and different perspective on it. If it is a shot with multiple characters I'll get a buddy to act it out with me. Then maybe I will switch roles, all to get some different ideas flowing. I also will use life action movies or even animated movies to gather up ideas, just so i can have all kind of options when it comes time to animate.
Its not a bad idea to gather up as much as you can, get alot of ideas to work with. I think its a great step in planning your animation to get the most out of your shot. Using reference is OK! Get different people to act it out for you as well, see what you can come up with! Its a helpful step to finiding out that special something to throw in your shot that will make it MONEY! So try shooting more reference if you can during the planning of your shot and see if it helps!