Saturday, November 10, 2007

pushing that first pass

I was starting to draw up my lesson plan for this week, but wanted to reiterate a few points.

Many of you are still struggling with the basics of first pass animation (meaning, that awkward stage between blocking, however it's done and first pass, rough animation). I wanted to clarify what I expect out of first pass animation.

1. key poses, all timed as well as you can. Make sure there are enough of them. The main reason why first pass animation often falls apart is because there aren't enough key poses in your blocking. Conversely, having too many different key poses close together can also be problematic. But you won't be able to tell this from too few poses.
2. breakdown frames all in the right place.
3. Curves are unimportant inasmuch as whether they're linear, spline, plateau, clamped. It really doesn't matter. Wild hitches with IK/FK shouldn't be there though..which leads me to..
4. take out clearly wrong motion. if you have your hands drifting in a really distracting way, take charge. If you have a foot interpenetrating through the floor during a hold, fix it.
5. For acting pieces, you don't necessarily have to have your facial shapes

Many of you have mentioned how you're used to working in a more 'layered' approach. I'm not going to contradict working methods from other classes, and it's good to have more than one technique under your belt. That being said, I haven't seen effective uses of the layered technique in this class so far, because the keys and breakdowns aren't solid enough to hold up to the offsetting that happens. I think animation by nature is layered, in that you start with solid planning, and work your way to greater detail in your shots. For me, it's not adding extra overlap to the fingers in the end, but really rethinking every pose at every stage. Polish is HARD and separates the good animators from the great ones. I'd like us to get to a point where we can start to polish our shots.

So, a quick tip. If you have an awkward section with way too many things going on, grab a small range, say, one action (no more than 30 frames at a time)
-get yourself a selection set for the whole character.
-key all on the key poses. key all on the breakdown frames.
-delete everything else.

having fewer, clear keyframes lets you retime your breakdowns more quickly, as well as repose. Often something that works in blocking becomes too broad in motion, and requires pushing back a bit.

Hope this is of help for now..

let me know if there are specific things you'd like me to go over for this week's class.

-j

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