Saturday, March 28, 2009

Something to note no.1

Hi, I thought I might post this up on my blog.

Up to recently, like most students I thought I would get better animation if I kept on churning out animation and then wonder why wasn't improving.
You may ask "why?" wasn't I doing the right thing? You must get some results, right?


One day it hit me, why weren't I improving? simple answer.

I was rushing my animation, simple fact. As students we rush to the point it looks like animation then rush to to the end and then step back and wonder why it looks crap.
You need to get nice poses, but nice poses don't work without nice timing and spacing, and then it looks only half alive without secondary action, overlap and drag etc.
You also have to give each of those time, don't rush it since if you slack out on even one of these the whole thing crumbles to dust.Coupled with attention with detail your animations should look better for it.
Give animation the attention it deserves and you will get results.

Image from:

"I spent about 100 hours planning, sketching, blocking, refining and polishing this shot."
image from


Ian said...

Hey there Cassie, great to see you posting. Didn't know I was watching did you ? ;)

I think its great to see you putting so much effort into planning your scene. Having seen how you work I think its the perfect course of action for you.

I don't know if I would extend this problem to all student though. For many the problem is that they just don't do enough animation.

You have been one of the most productive students to do the course in recent times, and what I suspect is that this is more about you reaching a higher level of understanding. Its like, you have produced all this animation, you know the theory, and you know know the software, and now you can see that its time to take a breath and make sure you get through the whole process right instead of rushed and guessing at things.

I suspect its something most can't see until they have produced enough animation to understand how all these things fit together. Its a good sign for you though, you have worked hard and it sounds like your reaching a point where you understand the big picture. :)

Frank said...

Hey Cass

Nice post. You speak my language. But beware the procrastination concern that Ian has highlighted for less experienced students.

I think you are at the correct place to be reviewing your workflow again and working at improving.

Next animation I want to see a lot more planning. Don't rush into Maya.

How about an animation that is totally planned, down to the breakdowns, all mapped out, before you open Maya?

With that I mean acting it out and video reference, identifying the hook(s), identifying the adrenaline moment, working poses into each other, thumbnails, a path-of-action chart, lots of line tests, lots of feedback (you have a good network) and then open up Maya.

Can you do it? Maybe just think of it as an experiment:)

JPeg said...

I'm not an animator, but this I think is relevant to almost everyone working/studying on CG/film/games etc:

Jumping head first into a project clearly shows enthusiasm, but this can often be counterproductive. As you said, you need to properly plan and refine your concept before starting on the production phase. In saying that you also can't completely ignore the factor of time, and setting yourself a timeframe can really help. In a working environment you'll be expected to have something completed in a set amount of time, you may be able to produce fantastic work but you also need to be able to do it fast enough.

At this stage though you do need to demonstrate your ability to produce a high level of work, so take your time and produce something the best you can. It might not be a bad idea to also be working on another much smaller project at the same time, one with a short timeframe so you can practice working faster.
At the end of your post you highlighted the fact the someone spent 100 hours in just planning, this might sound like a very long amount of time but in case you didn't know a 100 hour working week is not uncommon for this kind of work.

Normally when I start a personal project, the idea at first is obviously a little sketchy. The way I work out exactly what it is I'm trying to create is to do an extremely rough mock-up/pre-viz. This doesn't need to look good, in fact the quicker you can get it done the better. When I'm finished with this I have a much better picture of what I'm trying to do and it also helps me highlight the steps I need to take later on(ones that I may not have realised before). While this dose involve jumping head first into it, I find it very beneficial to the concept stage, and it also lets you get over the urge to jump into the software and make something ;)

Cassie said...

Thankyou to all who replied.
I can't believe that this blog would get so much attention.
Thankyou for reading and your comments.
Yes, it is important to set a deadline and finish it by the due date.
I was highlighting by the hundred hours, that you need to detail it out first properly before getting stuck into blocking into a 3D program.

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