A Shot A Week – Week One

“Take a big step to the side”


Here we are at the end of week one. It’s been a lot of fun this week getting back into animating and a big thank you to all those people on Twitter and Facebook that gave some critique on the blocking pass I posted earlier this week. I think I’ll look at posting the blocking passes to Vimeo and just asking for feedback there in future just to keep everything in one place.

At the end of each week I’ll post the shot as it was when I hit deadline and then leave some critique as to how I felt things went.

Things that worked

– Stella rig is great; easy controls to work with but still loads of flexibility. First time animating with it and loved it, which bodes well for Stan and the imps.

– Overall am happy with how the shot turned out … ish. It could’ve been worse, I like the idea and the movement more now, but I feel like I could’ve done better.

Things that didn’t work

– Arcs, still clunky in some places. Aiming in future to use the grease pencil tool to track the shape of things (like the edge of a hand, say) rather than using motion trails.

– Need to work on breaking up motion, offsetting stuff more; I try really hard to work clean when blocking, but I think I hang on to that too long when I’m getting into splining, I need to learn to offset things to get better overall movement.

– Context; putting more thought into this at the beginning of the process. The final context for the shot came at quite a late stage (Wednesday), so I did a bunch of thumbnails, shot more reference – for shots in future I need to lock that down by Monday evening at the latest.

– Hair pass didn’t happen as I ran out of time. Ditto a proper polish pass.

– Scheduling the shot through the week, and avoiding that slipping. I ended up splining on Saturday and Sunday, rather than Thursday and Friday as I meant to. That meant no time for feedback on the splines.

As a last note, I think I kinda moved away from the initial direction for the shot – which was “take a big step to the side” – whereas what I ended up animating is more like a sideways jump. Something else to bear in mind when blocking the next shot.

With regards to scheduling things through the week, I’m going to aim for Monday planning, Tuesday block and post for feedback, Wednesday fixes and start splines, Thursday and Friday splining and post for feedback on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday polish (and then final on Sunday night). Any feedback I get after final is posted I can save and come back to once I have a few shots done and want to polish any rough edges for inclusion in a showreel. One problem I had with this week’s shot was recognising that I didn’t have any context for it early on, which meant redoing things halfway through the week. I also didn’t get the shot online for feedback until Wednesday morning. Uploading it on Tuesday evening would mean being able to catch people when they might have a chance to look at it for five minutes before heading off to bed, and of course tapping into all the animators in different timezones while I’m snoozing the night away.

So shot one is finished, lessons to be learned. On to the next shot – “kick a ball”.