Wednesday, November 19, 2008

sindhu-quick crit

This is coming along, but I encourage you to be disciplined with you blocking...right now it's in a halfway state of rough blocking and starting to be splined out. The problem as that the two styles of working are fighting with each other. There's some smooth moving holds, but at the same time, the feet are popping into position still in stepped mode.

At this point, I'd suggest really nailing down your key poses and breakdowns by eliminating those sections that are throwing you off. Sometimes the 'wrong' detail can mess up perfectly good poses and timing. At this point, I would keep some moving holds going and avoid the single frame pops, like when he checks his watch. Go back and clarify both the timing and posing of what you have, rekeying your main poses, main breakdowns, and deleted extraneous information. It will make it easier to retime.

Also, commit to a finish on this...don't just go straight ahead until you're done...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mass Animation

a facebook targeted group maya animation project. I know nothing about it, but looks interesting.

hogan, redux

Thanks for the brave beta testing. Apparently I deleted the left IK handle when cleaning up the rig (my tds would be ashamed)

I retraced some steps and reposted it on my site

Sunday, November 16, 2008

richard williams lecture notes

Courtesy of Monotone Dreams

nick mills, w11

Great sketch. It's interesting that you drew her much larger than the Dad in the of those inspirational notes to inform the scene, since she really commands the scene.

You've made some great strides this week. I still feel the restraint you've shown in animating her can be pulled into the Dad. Right now he's more Wallace and Gromit than Surf's Up. She gets pretty broad at times, but you've dialed her down and focussed on her internal thoughts, which works well.

The animation is nice, but there are some stylistic issues that if addressed could enhance the performance.

F50-90 I think the overall poses are good, but there's a little too many of them in the middle..mainly
the rhythm of this is ...well I'll tell ya ONE thing PEter...etc.

I think you could slow down the body pulling over and lead with the head a bit more, taking a little more time to catch up. He does a double bob in making the point but it seems he builds up to the agitation in the conversation. I'd ditch the hand gesture '1'...the hand is out for emphaisis and doesn't need to literally form the symbol for one, especially since you go into it and out really quickly.

In his initial turn, there's a lot of careful overlap and big movements with the hands..i'd dial that back a little because the broadness of the movement feels too emphatic and large for this part of the scene.

in 'peter never would have..." have him turn away a little as he says peter, and slow down his arrival (right now f165) so he's finishing the thought while still turning may make him seem more harsh and inconsiderate if he takes his time with the dismissal. the arc of the hand here.

309 have her well up with anger more...the squash before the stretch..before she leaps up a bit. you can coil up more tension in her face.

as she screams gay, don't necessarily have his hands tap in succession...have them go tense and claw up! maybe shake a little in fear.

391-400 while nice as motion, makes his careless remark less convincing because he seems super controlled through this action.

416..i don't think you need so much overshoot here. you can overshoot up and settle down..shooting out and then back quickly makes it a little rubbery.

when he says 'what'..give him a clear expression. it can be defeated, confused, blank - anything really clear will help finish this scene in a stronger way.

keep going! looking really good.

where's my playblasts

Remaining playblasts needed are from...
Bee Lee
Sherwin Lau

If anyone else had work i didn't download, please send it my way.

bee lee, w11

B. Lee. owe me a playblast on your dialogue piece and i'm happy to critique it.

The walk..i'm more curious at how you resolved last week's assignment, but let's look at it.
it's a little unfinished right now, but in the right direction.

areas to address

  • feet. around f17 it doesn't feel like the correct passing pose. f22, the right foot doesn't take off in that muybridge/richard williams standard way. check out reference and my pdfs on cycles for the main foot poses in a walk. basically it isn't lifting back and up enough.
  • head. keep it relatively locked straight ahead right now it hitches at the end of the cycle throwing it off.
  • hips. aren't rotating in either direction. right now they're making the pose feel static and flat.
  • root/pelvis, main node thingy. not much y movement. remember. quick fall, slow rise. it also moves on the x over each step.
  • spine. wavelike motion forwards and back, slight curve inward as it's over each foot.
  • shoulders/top spine. should start further back and rotate a little forwards.
That should point you in the right direction.

kimberlee, w11

This shot has come a long way and is now in that elusive polish phase.

In general, it's really working - you've simplified the amount of key poses and now have a lot of fluidity that wasn't there before..the motion is pretty snappy, but I buy it, especially with the frenetic screaming. if anything, you could strike a couple of crazy head tilts with his mouth open to match that energy

as far as polish goes, there's a few areas other than knee pops/minor snaps.

Between f1-3, these are moving really fast. you may want to start with something closer to f4 so he can just hit the jump right away...these poses work for slower motion. the current result is that it's a little poppy.
As an example (quick mouse drawn pose) - looking guarded but starting to anticipate the next movement would help on the quick action

9-11 - delay one of the feet..have it land later

11-17..have him reach and start to pull earlier..the head is a little poppy in that it rotates back and forth quickly

28-35 timing is nice and crisp, but it still has that sliding from one pose to another feel. get a foot over a little earlier to settle into. watch the right knee pop.

f40 lag the pose of the left leg back a little to avoid twinned motion.

next part is nice.

65-73. arcs of the legs body don't fully match up with the torso motion. i think the legs would fall down a bit and fly out rather than just going straight back.

75 would be nice to have a torso arc away from the wall and straighten as it lands into it.

pull is pretty nice...i wish the monster would change his arc a bit though..he kinda lifts up and then back and that flexible neck seems like a nice animation opportunity.

94-103. watch the arc of the right's doing a lot of quick pose changing

117-119 --stretch the arms to be straighter, open the fingers, let the head fall a little and get more parallel with the floor to emphaisize the humor and tension of the pull.

great progress on this's really come a long way!!

jae won rho, week 11

looking better. since there's a lot to this, i'll go the bullet point route to address each section

  • remember that rule (guideline) in animation. let one thing happen at a time. the motions become indistinct in the beginning (f1-30) because both characters are moving at similar rates at the same time. i'm still not fully buying the attacking guy (let's call him A) bouncing around before his leap. And defending guy (B) is a little quick. if he's looking around and notices A, i think his moves should be more deliberate, maybe even start with a slow weight shift onto his right leg, positioning him to be attacked more effectively. i think A just needs to creep in his pose a little bit, not bounce around like a boxer..he's too squat for that much motion
  • 32-43. A is still pretty poppy here. i don't think B needs to lean into the knee kick..he could even stand more upright instead of leaning in and still convey a good reaction. the kick is problematic in that there are timing/spacing issues still..make sure you slow down the shift onto the other leg before jumping and then accellerate into the kick. right now he's just hitting poses but i think he could be arriving at them more fluidly.
  • 43-59 this is a LOT more clear. slow down the big guy's recovery a bit to differentiate him, and to let him be caught off guard a bit more by the stranglehold
  • 62-107 better as well. shuffle the timing around on Bs slap so there's more of a hold on the anticipation, then follow through, slight hold and the follow through, then the could have a longer hold on the extension of the kick as well, and bring it back in a more controlled way...for 'game style' animation, think of one hand beating on a drum and make the beats different enough to be interesting..instead of drum, drum drum, drum..think drum-Da-DRUM-dada-Drum (if that makes any sense whatsoever..sorta a post topic in itself)
  • while the landing feels better..the run up still feels a little posed out. i think at 116 As right foot shouldn't come's the foot he's planting on and passing the weight over. up through 126 that little section is a rework. keep it more like high jumper...getting force forwards and getting a good position to leap from.
  • i like the next section overall..he slows down a bit on the flying kick (roundhouse?). watch the pop at 137-too big a pose difference. don't have him land as's harder to establish the weight of landing
  • the final kick..this one is a bit more stylized - dial back the distance of the characters on f160, have
    B curved in towards the other character and unfold the opposite way as he flies out of frame.
  • slow down A's recovery from the land by 50%
good work!

Friday, November 14, 2008

week 11, Steve Ly

le parkour.
some things are better, some things are the same. Overall it's a lot more fluid.
I like that he's entering running - his poses are a little awkward in the entry...slow it down a little bit so the viewer has time to catch up with the start of the scene. avoid the straight poppy leg syndrome in f2

the jump is pretty good, but carry the momentum of the feet forwards a bit more as he jumps instead of pausing under his body..they'll get ahead of him faster so you can avoid the clipping issue.

f34..have his upper torso/head lean down into the will feel more controlled, and have him start leaning and turning into the wall for the wall jump

wall jump. i like the overall timing..i think his rt foot hits early and stays stuck a little too long..
you could even have his rt hand touch the wall and help bounce off. keep the body rotated a bit on the jump back towards the wall as will make the pose less static

f69 maybe have him be a bit higher in the y so he has more time to land. experiment with his right foot landing a bit wider or more in front of him, to soften the step he then takes.

i like the stepping and readjusting here.

for the jump here...i would at least offset the legs so he isn't jumping like a 2d sprite will give you more opportunities for weight and better sillhouettes.
f124 has all sorts of twinning going on.

143 area...i've already mentioned having him teeter. because a pole is not a stable surface, if you want him just bouncing off of it, i'd change this part to landing on one foot and jumping in one continuous motion. i don't buy that he's stable here. he'd at least be shifting/rebalancing on the balls of his feet and working to stay balanced.

151 jump pose = very twinned. you could reach with one arm and follow with the other, like when Indy has one of his classic near misses.

very symmetrical pose

i like the climb up through 196, but lose it a bit from 202-218...i think he needs to push up and land more forwards as gravity assists him into the land.
use some reference for this!!

The end needs more feels like blending into 2 poses right now and it's the one opportunity to give this guy some he smug, tired..hit him with a feeling.

flurry of crits

Sorry I fell prey to whatever my kids brought home from school last night..I'll make a concerted effort to get you guys crits as soon as possible. I'm going to start with brief crits for all, and will continue to reedit this post in greater detail.

One thing..

please..please..please playblast your work. If maya at school won't work, get a tech to help you..I'd rather spend the time critiquing your work than opening up your files and hunting down references. Also, compress them out in quicktime...I brought home 700mb of files last night, mostly of minimally compressed video.

and onwards..

I like it up to frame 40...though some actions are happening at the same speed (and kill those pops, like rt foot at f55) - now is the time to go back and soften up the hard transitions. you have some arcs traced, which is good, but a more important thing to address at this stage is how the poses flow into each other.
68-76 - as she dives into the cartwheel, there's a lot of jitter..really go back and watch the pelvis, arc of the body through this part. have her accellerate into it.

80-86 - watch how the character falls into the landing pose. right now it pops right in..have 2 frames to extend the feet and then settle a bit..even if quick, it still needs some padding.
96-108 overall the idea is good, but throw away your reference and really look at your animation. Frames 94-98 are barely moving, then abruptly pops ino the new pose. careful of that! This should be a smooth motion.

f120..she lands, jumps forwards, then is pulled back by an invisible string. watch the weight on this! it's in the right direction though but that final bit of animation needs to be thought out a little more clearly.

so, end result. focus on posing, spacing, timing issues, go through 10 frame sections at a time to address the fluidity. your character is making some large pose shifts over single frames..address that and you'll be a lot closer!

Monday, November 10, 2008

the OC...

...obstacle course, that is.

Looks great for a first pass...the animation flows well, the timing is overall good - it will have to be refined a bit, but for a first stab, elements are in the right place..

Using a game style camera is tricky..I'll get into detail later on how to improve it, but overall, you want to have a little lag in the camera..when it's practically parented to the character, you lose opportunities for weight.

Right now, the biggest issue is the symmetrical posing, Feet plant at the same time, arms land and take off at the same time...really getting a bit of twist to your character will help, so you aren't always viewing him as a flat plane. I did some quick sketches to show some ideas.

But really, this is a great opportunity to look at some Parkour footage (you know, that sport where French kids jump off of buildings)

This clip is very fast, but if you can get a flv converter or some screencapture software (or some better clips) you can study it more detail.

As far as staging goes, when he jumps onto the pole, it seems like a great opportunity to have him lose balance a bit before jumping forwards.

from the comments (always love comments)

Learn Parkour

The parkour stuff I see on youtube is always really of those things where for although it happens that way in reality, slowing down some moments helps a lot.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


In looking at my last post as well as playing around with differing ways of laying out shots at work, I realized in trying to teach animation, there's a murky gray are that happens in that time in which you finish roughing things in an acceptable level of detail, to the point in which you're just smoothing out curves and adding overlap to the fingers.

I call this pre-polish.

Why pre-polish, and aren't I getting a bit semantical in trying to talk aobut animation? Probably, but there isn't always a concrete vocabulary to talk about this sort of thing amongst animators/educators/dilletantes. What I'm defining to be pre-polish is that awkward phase where things can, and often need to take a turn for the worse before they improve. When you're a student, or feeling precious about your work, this is where your animations can fall into a pit of indecision and minor change and don't seem to ever get to the next level. This is to me the single most frustrating part of animation.

There are reasons for how and why this happens. The main one being the decisions made up to this point aren't precise enough to allow for smoothing out your animations. This is a notorious issue when going from stepped to linear/spline/plateau. Something that looks great in this graphic, snappy, lively 2d sense, suddenly looks slow and mushy and unappealing.

if going past your stepped is failing, go back to stepped and ADD MORE POSES.
there may not be enough information to allow for the leap into refining

Really, at this stage, the most important thing you can do is to is to really start looking closely at your work. The benefit of the stepped method of blocking, or even just holding poses, is to really focus on strong posing and good timing. Once you start splining out your curves though, you can lose the timing and overall feel, usually because there isn't enough information in the scene. In stepped mode, it's like a slideshow of movie stills, so your mind fills in the blanks. The challenge at this point is to really look at your poses and see how they're working in motion..are they too extreme for the speed of movement? Too slow? Is the path of the motion too jagged.

This is just a quick post to get you thinking, but at don't be afraid to really analyze your work at this point.

Also, make sure everyone goes to Keith Lango's site and go through is tutorials..they're all eye opening, even if you haven't looked at them in a while