Friday, April 4, 2008


Lots of good work last night. I'm going to start putting together a lecture on workflow and will try to post that soon. I'm working a lot of overtime and getting my taxes together, so this might take longer than I'd like...In the interim, I highly encourage everyone to grab the Eric Goldberg PDF from the drop folder and really study it.

Almost every animator I know has a different workflow - someone joked yesterday about how you can never pick up another animator's file without complaining they set it up wrong. There is some truth to that, but at the same time, there are some proven workflow techniques to get your animations off to a good start. A lot of you are getting lost in the blocking to first pass stage of things. Here's a few quick tips.

Key the Overlap.
this is essential. A lot of you ask about going in and offsetting keys later to get fluidity in your work. Go back and reread Keith Lango's tutorial on breakdown poses. The reason this doesn't work the way you might like is because you're relying on the rotations to offset in a clean way. The rotations of Norman are a bit jacked, so they're always going to hitch and gimble a bit. If you pose your keyframes and breakdowns like the illustration above, timed and spaced appropriately, your animation will be about 80% done.

Mind the Rotations, Don't fuss with the Graph Editor
When I block my work in, I just set my curves to plateau and don't worry about the graph editor until later. Cycles are their own kind of animation, so forget what I've said about them for now. I like to work in gimble mode - it's slower to pose, but I build in clean rotations from the start and circumvent gimble lock before it happens. This isn't for everyone though and is a fussy way to work. If you pose in local mode, make yourself a zero hotkey ( rotate -os 0 0 0 ) and zero the arm out before make a big pose change. You can avoid having to hit the euler filter and have your curves take on crazy rotation values.

Avoid the Drift
when you see your character slowly rotating over 3 seconds, clamp that down and make it a hold. A static hold that's timed well is far better than drift. Any kind of wrong motion is distracting.

Take on what you can handle
No more pieces over 12 seconds allowed. I really want to focus on process and getting you to train your eyes to a high level of detail. These short film length pieces just can't be done in a couple of weeks. Either pare your big pieces down, or start something smaller. I'm ok with a good 5 second piece of dialogue taken to a high level. For those working on your reels, bring them in next week and I'll give you my opinion of what I think would help them.

reread TJ's workflow post. We share the same philosophy on the animation layering.


Dardo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dardo said...

Thanks Jeff for going over holds/moving holds. I always had that trouble of my animation being too drifty or dead. I think I'm getting a better idea overall. It's so much easier in 2d when you could just leave it alone.

jeff said...

yeah..keep your 2d mindset. don't let the computer take over and do what it naturally does. i'll go over more detail on the moving holds as soon as i can

Steve Masuda said...

Thanks Jeff for the demo last night and this lecture. I am getting a better idea of it now too.

Margot Elyse said...

Thanks Jeff!
I had read that about overlap before, but hadn't spent much time making it really work for me. Time to try, try again.