My good buddy Kevan Shorey posted some great content on the http://animatinotipsandtricks.com website today. It’s about using contrast in animation.
For me, contrast is best used when trying to heighten an emotional beat. For example.. if I’m trying to animate someone being “sad”, what do I do? How sad do I go? Does “this” pose represent sad? What about “this” one? It isn’t until I show a change from one pose to another that the real emotion comes out. Sad is only sad when it’s compared to a previous pose.. or contrasted against another emotion all together.
I mean honestly.. if you look at droopy dog, one of the gags is his depressed saying “you know what? I’m happy..” Well, maybe to him.. that IS happy.. imagine if he were depressed!