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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sounds simple, doesn't it?

The Spline Doctors got a good post on an animation checklist you should go through for every character and shot you animate.

They make it sound easy to get good animation as long as you follow those rules :) but they are right that it is an essential checklist you HAVE to go through for every character, every part of the body. It may sound tedious but after a while it's just routine and it really trains your eye.

What I continuously see in student work are uneven and poppy arcs, which to me is surprising. All you have to do is take out your dry erase marker, draw a little dot for each spacing of whatever body part you're working on and then look at the dotted curve you're getting. You'll see uneven spacing, you'll see pops, etc. and then you go back and fix it. When I point those pops out to the students they tell me that they see it as well. So why wasn't it fixed before presenting the shot? Probably because they didn't check their spacing with the marker (or whatever tool you want to use, even though the marker way is fast and easy) or because they were too lazy to fix it (or they ran out of time...). If there is another reason, please let me know so we can figure out a solution to it.

Speaking of presenting a shot. It's also puzzling to me when I see a character doing whatever motion and the character's arms or legs are completely overextending, the kind of when you pull up your character and the IK handles stay put so that your legs for instance are completely straight and the feet point towards the IK controller. That is obviously not good and I doubt that any aspiring animator would consider it to be ok (unless this is the very very first time you've touched a cg rig in your life). So why wasn't it fixed before presenting it? It's a major mistake that needs to get addressed. So don't continue with other animation parts, fix this first. The first thing I think when I see homework presented like that is that the student thinks it looks okay. Which is troubling. Every time I ask about it though, the students tell me they know it's wrong. So this leads me to my second thought, that the student was lazy, which is troubling as well. Animation is hard work and if you won't spend a few seconds to move the controller so that your legs and/or your arms don't overextend, then you will have a rocky road ahead.

So take that time and fix it and as you move along with that in mind you'll start to fix things automatically because it's part of your process, you'll get faster at it, etc. etc.


Anonymous said...

I think the cruxs of the problem is that most people get into animation because they think its easy. Spend a few hours hitting some buttons on the computer and you too can have Pixar [or even ILM ;)] quality animation.

But anyone who has seriously attempted to aspire to that level knows that animation is one of the most demaning art forms to learn nevermind master. Its an old joke but there is no 'Make Great Animation' button. It requires hours and hours of consistent practice and study.

Most schools won't tell you this, but in my estimation I believe 95% of people who get into animation will not make a career at feature film level. Not because they couldn't but because they are not prepared to put in the time and effort required.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion... Another common excuse I believe most student have is that, while they are aware of the problems, but it takes them longer to fix it due to being inexperience and lack of skills for the time being. It may sound harsh, but everyone starts somewhere, it's just like fine arts where you see flaws. Some students spent an enormous amount of time on it but still unable to make the painting great at the end.

It's not necessary just lazy, (although most cases could be) it's just lacking the skill to fix problems quickly. Thus resulting students not fixing problems they obviously see in time.

Regardless, time management is important. Give yourself more time if you are not good at something to learn hard.