Saturday, December 15, 2012

Debate Team - Postmortem

Here's the animation I've been making on and off for (too) many months now, finally finished and rendered.

And now I will break down what went well and what didn't:

The Good:

- First time using actual reference in a long time.  It helped quite a bit, and I made sure I didn't over-rely on it for the most part (I'll touch on that later).  I think once I got all the breakdown poses in I left the reference footage alone, allowing me to put a bit of cartoonishness into it

- Speaking of cartoonishness, my intention wasn't to do anything overly cartoony, but little hints of it helped a lot.  Mainly the guy's snappy remark and the girl's reaction and expression.  The reference footage kept it based in reality, especially the first half, so the end is a bit of a contrast.

- This is definitely the best bit of dialogue animation I've done.  It'll definitely be the opener for my CG reel for now; it's not jarring or too in-your-face, but it's still interesting and funny enough to draw attention in.

- The render turned out pretty nice, and at 720p took about 8 hours to render the normal and occlusion passes.  Easy enough to leave the batch render running overnight and wake up to a finished render.  The lighting is pretty decent, and I even had to do some weird light-linking to get everything looking right.  Mental Ray motion actually blur worked for once, so I didn't have to do the crappy After Effects post blur.

The Bad:

- It's not as finished as I'd like.  I had to call it finished so I can move on to other stuff.  I got remarks from Ken Duncan a while back, saying to watch out for where I want attention to be directed, and not to be afraid to put characters in full holds.  The guy tends to be a bit floaty, and I showed him a version where the girl wasn't finished and he commented that he actually preferred her motions at that stage.  I tried going back a bit to the guy to simplify his movements in some spots, but I could do a lot more to it.

- The faces and hands were rushed.  If I had more time, there would be a lot more detail there.

- I kept getting caught up in the reference at the start which set me back a bit.  I'd try to match the footage rather than make it how it should look in the final piece.  I reconciled that for the most part, but that's something I need to address earlier in the process.

- I couldn't get depth of field to work without it screwing up their eye textures for some reason.  I had the same issue when initially adding motion blur but resolved it after a lot of troubleshooting I'd rather not go through again.

- I've forgotten a lot since the class I took on lighting.

- I'd planned on adding props and an outdoor environment, but I didn't give myself time.

- I think After Effects might have slightly offset the audio (by maybe a frame), it might lag behind the video a small bit.


I need to remember to use reference, but use it as a suggestion.  I need to work more holds into the characters, and make sure I know where I want people to be looking on the screen.  And I need to set some sort of schedule for myself to get these things done in a reasonable amount of time.

My plans next are to do some really short action-oriented bits.  Maybe some martial arts type things; some cartoony action, some realistic.  Then maybe a non-dialogue acting scene after that.  I have some ideas in mind, but I'll wait until they're more fleshed out.

All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with this.  There's a lot that could be fixed, but I need to move on to other stuff.

Monday, December 3, 2012


 Sitting around doodling, decided to digitally paint this random face.

No reference for the head or color, even though it came out looking a lot like that one guy from Lost.

Here's the sketch it came from:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Various things and such.

You may notice a complete overhaul of the blog design.  I completely stole it from a failed side-project blog of mine that I had forgotten about.  As a note, I made the background from scratch in Photoshop some many years ago.  Don't remember how exactly, just know it's a bunch of layers with various blending modes.

Some artworks I did last night:

- Sketches from TV and various images:

- Digital painting based on a random picture (can't find the reference photo).  Pretty happy with this one:

Here's some music stuff I haven't posted on here yet:

An experiment to nail down the scale changes (5 changes in 8 bars, gets pretty confusing).  The lead line is improvised.  Backing part turned out pretty cool and spacey.

Experimenting with a new effect.  This is all one guitar in one take.  You might notice at one point the chord progression from the first song is played.  I think this would be a cool outro to an album.

Other stuff:

Most recent episode of the show I was working on.  Worked on shots randomly throughout the episode, but the biggest one is the one where they're racing each other down the hallway.

Also I realized I never posted this episode:

Again, bunch of random shots throughout.  I think my best shots are the very first one whith him jumping into the tunnel, and the one where he snaps his fingers after noticing the pipe.