Friday, February 15, 2008

great work everyone!

Great work everyone! Everyone really stepped up with their cycles last night. I'm out of town for a week, unfortunately, but continue on with your cycles. I wasn't able to get to a lecture again, but I think you were all better served by having more time devoted to the crits, as with cycles, sometimes you learn more from the nuts and bolts of why things aren't working. I wanted to mention a quick little checklist of things to pay attention to on these cycles, especially as they start to fall apart....

c h e c k l i s t

  • torso rotation. on the walks especially this was lacking on the first last and middle pose. having some nice side to side rotation, with the appropriate offsetting.
  • wavelike motion of the spine. it doesn't need much, but a bit helps make your cycles feel more fluid.
  • avoid straight neck syndrome
  • figure 8's where you can..avoid circular motions...they feel too even.
  • compression on spine. especially on a run, have the torso absorb and cushion the downward force.
  • z curve on the feet...really watch the spacing and posing of the foot. turn on the those foot extra controls and animate that toe. watch for too much speeding up and slowing down in an uneven way on these.. think of the metronome principle, and how much cushioning you need on either end.
  • foot too high on the passing poses. this just makes your knees all whacked out, so use your ghosting tool and be careful with the foot roll attributes. I'm partial to mostly using the ball roll to keep the foot from drifing from the control rig.
  • remember your high and low points are not dead center of your graph..you usually continue upwards motion past the high point (more clear on walks...see pdf of week 2)
This is brief, and obviously the arcane pdf I gave you has more detail to all of these concepts, but I also wanted to reiterate another workflow tip. Now, when I work over your cycles, it's in part laziness on my part, because it's faster for me to show you. Really all these cycles were in pretty good shape but do need to be pushed farther. I also am not trying to impose a workflow on you - it doesn't matter to me what your workflow is as long as it's organized and you're able to go from general to specific. Cycles are especially unique, as they are all about 2 things.

Posing
Go back over your cycles. Scrub through your frames and make sure there aren't any 'wrong' poses. If something clearly looks off, address it. If your start pose has a unposed hands and fingers and no rotation to the neck and torso, put it in! don't wait until later. As you polish, make these poses better...continually improve them as you work.

Curve Management
You can have great poses, but it's all lost if your curves are fighting each other. Sometimes, like in Margot's cycle, it was easier to keep what was strong about it, her key poses of the spine, and just clean them up and put in some clean breakdowns. It's easy to have curves fighting each other, and difficult to refine, so don't be afraid to start refining from the pelvis out, MUTING parts of your rig to help isolate problems

Other tips...draw from your animation. Sit down and sketch out your main key pose, from your animation. Improve it. Put those changes back into the computer.

I'll try to leave you with some more tips before I'm off...

..in the interim, Ron and Travis have agreed to step in and give additional critique for some of the animations from last night.

Regarding your shot blocking for your prop piece.
Pick something manageable. Demo reel pieces are all about polish, and skillful execution, so even if it's a person picking up a coffee cup, make sure you have time to make it outstanding. I'm back in town a week from Saturday, so for those going to GDC, have fun, and feel free to email me work and I'll take a look when i get back.

Don't forget to read Jean-Denis blog...he's on fire with the informative posts!
-j

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