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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Critique - Website & Animation

I was asked to take a look at the website and the animation clips.

The site pages are easily accessible and you can access the movies individually, all good there.

About the anim clips. Here are my thoughts:

Meditatingthefox.mov - ideas seem clear, rough stage, not much to critique animation wise obviously

meat.mov - same here, although more refined, I like the timing of it

bully.mov - the color choices are not my thing, but I guess that' subjective. The entrance of the first ball is hugging the bottom frame a lot, the staging could be clearer. The weight on both balls is okay but a bit off. Especially the smaller ball as it tries to run away after the first "attack". Same with the squash of the big guy as it jumps onto the little one. The following super fast string movements by the little guy are a bit weird. I get the point, but the execution could be different. It's too frenetic. It's cool ninja type wise, but doesn't quite work as it is now. And look at the last frame of the clip. The staging could be better as well here, the little guy is too cut off in the lower right part of the frame.

boredomConsequence: it's tricky to comment on the animation without knowing more about it. Looking at it right now, it needs a lot of polish. The ideas are there, but the stage is currently in layout/blocking phase. The movements are very linear, with arm extensions and facial shape pops and distortions throughout the clip.
It would be interesting to know where that box came from, why it's there, who put it there, is it to tempt the guy, to help him, torture him, etc. The box doesn't look like it's been put there casually or left/forgotten. The way it is positioned on the bench looks very calculated, leaving you with the impression that someone put it there on purpose. So you set your audience up for something, which doesn't get resolved at the end of the short.
Some of the camera moves and angle feel a bit staged and confusing or too computery. For instance once he grabs the box and the camera dollies to the left, it starts and ends in a very linear way, too typical of a CG camera. Be careful about fade ins and outs and transitions. After he grabs the box it transitions to another angle using fades, which usually tell the audience that a lot of time has passed, yet the movements of the character are seamless across the cut, which means no time passed. Make sure to not confuse the audience with cuts like that.
After the first bite, you get a shot which has the night lamp as the main focus point, taking up the whole right half of the screen, yet nothing happens to it, with it or in relationship with it, so you're again setting your audience up with no pay off.
I like the editing after that, how he goes into an eating frenzy. His end reaction could be a bit more complex though. The idea is there, but the animation is a bit rough. It would have been funny as well to have the top of the box worn out, after all the grabbing and poking and maybe some crumbs around the bench and on his mouth, etc.

humStraya.mov - unfortunately I can't loop clips here at work (stupid Linux machines...). But it looks good, maybe a bit bouncy and "spliney" (the curves must be all smooth and round in the graph editor).

FoxWalk.mov - that one feels a bit too squash and stretchy. Be careful how you manipulate the overall geometry, it needs to retain its form.

Pound.mov - I like the look of the character and the walk has character. The overall animation is too spliney and linear though. The reaction after he opens the box is good, make sure that you cut a few frames before the character stops moving. Right now the character freezes and the clip stays on that for too long.

whushu.mov - I've gotten a few clips now with the title whushu, is that a common exercise I guess? I'm not a big fan of those because most of the times it ends up being a character swinging and twirling around, without any story or purpose. Your timing arnd arcs seem ok (except the last jump/2nd jump), but the legs and arms are very chaotic. But even if that was all done and polished, you still got at the end: "Ok, and why did he do that?". I discourage people to have that on their reel, because even though it shows mechanics, it's nothing more than that. Unless you pack it in with a neat story. It's more fitting for a video game reel, less for a character reel.

The light, medium and heavy balls:

- it might be the player that we use here (I'll confirm at home tonight just to be sure), but all these clips have the ball hugging the bottom frame. The first two seem to be the same, with the medium just sped up. The heavy one feels heavier (camera shake always helps), but the last few bounces are too character infused.

What I would need is a clear staging (just take a "side" or "front" camera in maya) and a pure physics approach. Look at the examples on the class site for a light, medium and heavy ball. No squash and stretch (maybe a tiny bit on the light one, if you go for a balloon), no camera tricks.

If anyboyd has questions, just let me know!


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