Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Critique of Blocking

Here is a recent critique I did. Thought I'd share because it deals with the blocking stage of animation, and people always fine this the hardest part to get through. So hope this gives insight.

Next post on (SOME TIME BEFORE FRIDAY) will be my side animation I've been working on.

THE LETTER in raw form:

Hey ______,

      Very very entertaining. Things to tweak but not things that you missed. Just PUSHING things you already touched upon. Which is very good. This means you are not missing the point and there for do not have to learn anything from scratch. So far so good _____. 

So in this long ass critique, I'ma talk about two things. SELLING YOUR IDEA and ANIMATION. The latter being just regular animation notes and the first one is mostly about your CHOICES, not your technique. Second one skill, first one Personal. Cool? ok.. here we go...

    Your audience is number one number one number one. You are doing character animation so your audience by default is number one. Character animation isn't conceptual or just animation for animations sake, you are doing it for your audience. 
    Your idea gets across. it's gum. on a shoe.. and he wants it off. YAY, but don't pop champagne bottles over this just yet. As a character animator to get the idea across is NOT THE POINT. (And if you get ANY ONE THAT SAYS OTHER WISE give them my address so they can come to MY HOUSE and I can tell them personally. [bc I'm not going to go waste my time going to their house to tell them something I know..]) I repeat, to get the idea across in an animation is not the FINISH LINE. You have to make us experience with the character what the character itself is feeling. The point as a character animator is to make us Feel what the character is feeling. And we do this by emphasizing story points and having good acting with correct timing to compliment the mood. Movement has texture that highlights whats important and what is not. everything works together like how all the muscles in the arm, back, and torso controls a ballerina's delicate arm motions during a performance. 

Ok, Now to business. ~FRAME 51: this pose. THE MONEY POSE, this is the pose your whole assignment is revolving around. very nice. Clear silhouette. BUT you only give it 12 frames for the audience to register it. You need more. Here's why:

-You give the walk more than 20 frames..You give 37 frames to pose after he looks at his foot (the OH SHIT WHY ME pose i call it). 25 frames are given to the nice entertaining walk to the edge of the curb.. You give 20 some odd frames to him scrapping the curb with the bottom of his shoe.. 30 frames to scraping the sidewalk with his shoe at the end.

    Just about every action is given more attention than the crucial pose on frame 51.. You give it 12 frames AND you still have to ease into it so i say you actually have given it 6 frames. So when starting an assignment here's what I look at.

'Can I take out this Pose/Action and the assignment still make sense?'

      There are only 2 poses/actions in your shot that if we took out, would cripple your shot: The Walk and The First Look underneath the shoe. Everything else is icing on the cake. So priority is always to be given to these two poses. the walk is fine. :) but you neglect the Look at the Shoe pose like a little red headed step child. haha. Give it more time and you'll be fine. 
    PS. I know your limit is 200 frames, I'm not insensitive to that, and I do recognize the feet sliding at the end is actually some of the most entertaining animation you have in this assignment.. My solution?  You have TWO foot scrapes on the side of the curb.. Make it ONE. Take that time and add it to hold your story telling pose (first look underneath foot)

That's just one note.. hahaha

(DISREGARD this note because I just found out that the eyes cannot be animated.)
Ok second note. I know i know you are short on frames. Other wise I would say to make the second look underneath the foot longer. BUT you can't. bc of restrictions.. doesn't mean we over look the note. Can his eye's be animated in any way more than a blink? If so, please atleast show him get angry in that pose (only in the eyes) it would really compliment the last foot sliding action. The foot sliding action right now comes out of no where (which is funny) but you can not REALLY make it come out of nowhere. everything needs a lil anticipation. so his eyes getting angry (that the gum is still there) is his anticipation to scrapping the shit out of the gum until it dies :)

Other than these two notes I hesitate to say more. bc I really want your idea to shine and be made to work. This is where as commentator I have to recognize I am ONLY a commentator and not the animator of this shot. I am to improve it not change it to make it my own. Only supply changes that can help make it stronger. 

I won't talk too much of specific animation notes bc this is just blocking. Just watch your arcs. (heels, torso, hips, shoulders, head, knees.. EVERYTHING in other words) watch momentum (inertia), and remember to keep your poses and not lose your timing when you move forward with this. 

ONE real fast animation note. The foot scrape on the side of the curb.. very nice. nice leg animation and head animation... even good side to side hip animation! BUT try doing that action in real life... to keep your torso at that height with out going up and down during scraping GUM of the bottom of your shoe... not possible... unless it was a sissy scrape...

So watch out for that. When doing a physical action YOUR TORSO WILL ALWAYS BE MOVING. every avar. even if it's just a little. Never should be flat flat flat in your graph editor. so watch out for that.

Hope everything goes well. I am very excited for this shot and look forward to seeing you progress on it. Your going to do fine.This blocking already kicks ass as it is.

PS.. ima post this on my blog..


Daniel Gonzales III

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