Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Don't Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater

One of the most common mistakes made by junior animators is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

It's very tempting, mid-way through a piece of complex animation, to want to start again from scratch. Problems with animation can be hard to solve, especially when you're new to the game, and sometimes a blank screen can feel like a tempting solution.

It can be especially hard to dig into the Graph Editor to manipulate the curves when everything seems a bit like a mess of coloured spaghetti.

But it's rarely a good idea to start over. Especially if you've invested a lot of time and energy in a shot, the best thing to do is almost always to go through the shot carefully, finessing the curves and slowly eliminating or fixing the parts that don't work.

I first learned this process during my first 3D animation job at Blue Sky Studios, back in 2003, working on Robots. I found I was able to block out shots fairly quickly, with my 2D experience, but finessing the curves proved a lot harder.

Often my early shots seemed to drift backwards rather than proceed to final approval. This was because the Graph Editor was new to me, and still an adversary, rather than the friend it would become later on.

Animation director Carlos Saldanha spent a great deal of time sitting patiently with me and helping me to work through my animation curves, gradually eliminating mistakes, until the shot was ready for approval. This process taught me that with time and patience almost all animation problems can be fixed, in much less time than it takes to start over.

At Animation Apprentice we follow the same process, only remotely, rather than face-to-face. The trick is to go through the shot frame by frame, fixing curves, explaining how to make things work better. Then the student can apply the fixes one by one, gradually improving the shot.

So the moral of the story is - don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

To find out more about Animation Apprentice, click here for a link to Frequently Asked Questions. To sign up for our next classroom at Animation Apprentice, follow this link.

No comments:

Post a Comment