Monday, 26 April 2010

What did you learn?

Before the final update, I figured I would update this a bit with some things I've learned. Animation is hard, well, I say that a lot, but really it's just long. It takes a long time, and a lot of takes. I've been over each animation at least 3 times, and each time I go over it, I think of something I can change. The biggest issue so far is timing. If you place keys randomly the animation will be really fast or really slow. Getting the right speed is essential. Playblasting helps, but one can never truly predict what will happen. So far, pose by pose is the best way to figure out timing. How long it takes to go from one key pose to another is a good estimate, but not always. Jez (is that how you spell his name?) taught me a few good lessons when it comes to animation, mostly how to carry on animations without splittings into dozens of scenes. Just duplicate the character node and animate with a fresh character without keys, because some transitions are just awful.

Another thing is reference. Getting good reference is hard, I mean, I'm animating a kid in a playground, so if I wanted reference, I would need to take a camera to the park and film kids playing on stuff. Yeah, that'll end well. But even standing around doing the actions yourself helps with a lot of issues. The hardest part is getting the character to feel life-like, which I'm not entirely convinced I've done, but it all a learning experience. Stuff like subtle motions and the little details that help push everything. Facial animations as well, hard stuff, especially with all the controls and being able to mix and match them; subtly blending one look with another. Overall, animating everything in one scene is a huge challenge.

Another thing that took a god awful long time to do was the lighting. I'm still not entirely pleased with it, but after rendering a few scenes out I'm happy with it. I could have spent so many more days messing with it (hell, a whole semester), but lighting isn't my forte, nor my interest. But it does help for stuff like this. I think I spent more effort learning out to light my scene than how to animate it.

This isn't the final light configuration, just a few failures.

This is it, though my heart is skipping beats because it looks really bright now, and before it was really dark. So I'm not sure what's going on, but hell, I can correct the whole damn thing later on, so who cares. All I can say is damn my deceptive, whore bastard of a monitor for screwing me over. Well, whatever.

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Remind me that I'm whining. Oh, and that I'm black.