Go to Spungella for new posts.

> academyanimation is no longer active and serves as archives

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Research & Reference

Before you start a shot, before you plan out your animation, you need to know everything about your character and the situation he/she/it is in.

For example, let's take the tennis shot that Marie is doing. If you are doing a serve and attack animation, then you need to know how tennis players do a serve, how they move, what the timing is, what typical poses and gestures you see with players, etc. etc. You can't start without that knowledge because you will end up doing a completely wrong move (unless you are already familiar with the tennis sport, but even then...). Do as much research as you can, study as much reference as you can. You will only profit from it.

My favorite research method besides real life observation is Google. It's not without a reason that I have Google Ads all over my web pages. Googles search engine is great and you will find so much material for your animation, it's almost endless. For this assignment I typed in "tennis serve" and found tons of great reference images and sites. And it took me only a few minutes. So type in relevant keywords for your research and go to work. I switched to image results and started to pick out the best images. Two of those led me to great sites about tennis.

For instance, check out www.revolutionarytennis.com. Step 12 on that site is all about "The Serve". It's absolutely fantastic because it includes tons of pictures of tennis pros doing a serve, step by step pictures of the different serve poses and tons of written information about it as well. Good stuff.

Then Dr. Google sent me to www.tennis4everyone.com. This site is great for those who prefer videos. They have brief clips about The Forehand, The Backhand, The Volley, etc. etc. And of course, The Serve. So check this clip out for a nice side view of the serve mechanics.

If you need more video reference, then check out www.bbcmotiongallery.com or youtube, google video, etc. etc.

And here are a few pictures of great serve poses, facial expressions, hand poses and general body poses that are so typical in the world of tennis:

>>Click here to read the rest of the post...

Animation Critique: extended Walkcycle (Joey)

Direct Link: Joey's Football Character

Looking great! The timing change works and I like the hand gesture that you added before he gets the ball.
If the last pose is how you are going to end the clip, then you need to make it a bit stronger silhouette wise. But even if you add the casual throw away, that pose could be pushed more. Look at the screen right arm. Pose it out so that you can read a clearer bend in his arm and silhouette for his hand and fingers.

Here are some images with nice poses or typical gestures of NFL players. A lot of them don't really apply to your clip, but I'm posting those for inspiration. Google for more images and make sure that your last pose really reads as a typical football pose.

>>Click here to read the rest of the post...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

You need to have a plan.

Earl Bassett: "Damn it Valentine, you never plan ahead, you never take the long view, I mean here it is Monday and I'm already thinking of Wednesday... It is Monday right?"

Knowing what you are going to animate is essential. I know it sounds redundant, but so many students (me included) are starting a shot without really knowing what to do, waiting for happy accidents, etc.

Take a day and really think about the end result, try to see it in your head, draw thumbnails, act it out, have someone else act it out.

There are shots that took me days to block out, shots that were only a few seconds long. It's really frustrating.
But my "Ze Chair" shot took me two days to block out, and the shot is about 45 seconds long. Why? Because I knew absolutely everything about that shot (I'm not saying that what I knew was right :-) ). I had a plan and I knew what to do. Plus I was motivated and I had a lot of fun. All that helps a lot in terms of speed.

When someone asks you what is going to happen in your shot and you can't tell that person frame by frame what you are about to do, then you're not ready yet to start animating the shot. But of course that's also a bit unrealistic. You may be faced with a deadline and have no choice but to animate, no matter what. But other than that, use all the free time to plan out your shot. When you wait for the bus, at the bart station, in line at the post office, in the bath tub, etc. plan and act out your shot in your head. At least have a solid idea of what you want to do before you start.

John Winger:
I have a plan.

Russell Ziskey: Great, Custer had a plan, too.

>>Click here to read the rest of the post...

Polish Notes by Andrew Gordon

As I was cleaning my laptop hard drive I found this pdf by Andrew Gordon. I hope I'm allowed to repost those tips. If not, I'll take this post down immediatly.

General Polish Tips…

1) Plot your arcs on body parks such as the wrist.
2) Pay attention to your patterns
3) work on your physicality - re reference a move if needed...
4) Get your contact points working well (for ex: foot squashing when it
contacts ground)
5) Make sure you are starting and stopping your character properly
6) break up twinned poses
7) Fingers? are they animated?
8) so on and so on..

Facial polish stuff....

1) Avoid even timing on the jaw
2) Slow in and Out
3) Watch the corners of mouth
4) Arc corners and jaw in dialouge
5) Compress closed mouth shapes
6) Overlapp fleshy parts of mouth
7) Don’t forget to animate the cheeks where needed.
8) Layer in Squash and Stretch
9) Do close-up records for detail
10) anticipate shapes
11) Don’t over complicate brows
12) Remember how the eye works
13) Get those eye blinks looking good.
14) Don’t have those lids hit a wall
15) Change shapes on eye direction changes
16) Use the brow in conjunction with the eyes

>>Click here to read the rest of the post...

Why are CG animators so much slower than 2D animators?

Keith Lango has as usual great posts about this question and the comments are very insightful as well.

Make sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

I'm definitely guilty of noodling and I scrub through the timeline as much as I can, two major problems that Keith points out when it comes to wasting time.

He doesn't think that rigs are the culprit (unless they are super heavy), but even if they are light, posing out a CG character still takes a lot longer than drawing the same pose in my opinion. Yes, you can have a library of expressions and finger poses to speed up the rough blocking process, but once you get into polish mode tweaking facial featurees and fingers is a huge time sucker. To me definitely an area that needs improvement and where 2D animation has its advantages.

But I still have so much more to learn in terms of technique and work flow that I will shut up for now. Go read the posts, it's well worth it.

>>Click here to read the rest of the post...

Monday, April 9, 2007

Spline Doctor's "The Power of Silhouette"

The Spline Doctors got a new post about "Silhouette". As usual, don't miss it.

>>Click here to read the rest of the post...