Thursday, 26 November 2009

finished! - 11 second club

Above is the final version of my 11 second club project.

I really enjoyed this project and found it easy to give it a lot of attention and work on it as much as I could. I really wanted to get the character looking right and realistic. I found it really interesting and quite challenging working on this character, particularly getting the movement correct and looking good. I think this was partly because I was slightly out of practise putting in the basic principles, and also getting the weight right with such a large character.
When comparing my first few trials of this project to developments after having crits and talking to tutors, there is such a huge difference and it's so clear where the movement needed to be altered and aniticpation and overlap had to be added. I learnt just how important it is to keep developing work and re-doing parts, adding in frames to get it looking right. There are still some areas that could probably be exaggerated a little more, or worked on so that they look a little better, however I am quite pleased with the result that I've got from my first try at proper character animation.

I also learnt during this project just how important it is to have a clear dope sheet and everything as organised as possible. As I had many different frames in the animation (even though it's only 11 seconds) I made sure I put them into different lettered sections and each of these were labelled clearly on the dope sheet with each corresponding frame. By doing this I found it easy to follow what I was doing each time I made changes, added in frames here and there etc. I now realise why this is so important, particularly for the future and for major productions in studios so that everyone working on a scene can follow what is happening and which frames should be used at certain points.

I really enjoy doing the lip sync for characters. This was one of the main things I did for the Hayle project, and I did a similar thing for this project. I only used very basic mouth shapes and there are still some words that I'm not sure fit quite correctly, however I find that when you see your character talking after having given it crazy mouth shapes fitting to the sounds rather then the words, just instantly brings the character to life that little bit more, making it believable.
Having said that however, I did learn from doing the character animation that the body movement is the first and most important thing to get right as it gives the emotion and action, really explaining how the character is feeling, and without getting this correct first, the lipsync and and facial expression wont look anywhere near as good or convincing as the audience must be able to read the body language of the character instantly.

If I were to continue this project I would probably focus on the body language and getting every movement the character makes looking spot on and smoother. Putting in any squash and stretch and anticipation more accurately, make sure the character's size stays the same throughout, and working on extra animation such as movement in the characters clothing and background animation, adding in those extra details that really make it work.

Having had more time I would have also spent longer designing the character before starting the animation. I'm glad that I loosened up my drawing when working on this animation, however I would quite like to have designed a better character to work with, perhaps putting more detail into the body, clothing, hands after working out the movement, just to make him and his situation a bit more interesting and really finish off the drawing and design. I would also have made changes to the face, perhaps making it simpler and less cluttered. At the moment I think the face and body are quite contrasting as the body is so much simpler and larger, so this would definately be something I would work on.
I would also work on the background. I like how simple it is and think it works well to show the characters weight, however as I did them as another layer they are quite faint underneath the character. This does make the character stand out, however I think I should have put the lightbox behind when filming to get the backgrounds showing through a little better.

I found this project such a good way of practising many different things such as the principles of animation, as well as learning character design and more about movement, just generally getting to work on and develop a huge range of skills.

I am hoping to post it on the website as I'm quite intrigued to see what kind of feedback and suggestions it might get from other animators which could be really useful. I also hope to have a go at Decembers for more practise...a christmas project maybe...

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