Saturday, March 11, 2006

what's next?

I've found myself with a scary little trend going on in projects lately... Each of the past three projects I've worked on required more work in less time at higher quality than the previous project. Again, this had nothing to do with Anzovin Studio requirements... it was all client dictated.

We've worked on three very time intensive projects at the studio lately. The first, which I can name, was Stolen Smells, a short bit we made for the Behind The Lions show on PBS. (See Image) It was a first for the studio in that it was TV quality animation. We've been doing DTVs and game cutscenes which require much higher quality and therefore a slower rate of animation. We needed to animate about 20-30 seconds a week (each animator) at a low character animation quality. I'm proud to say that the animation supervisor chose me to set the animation style of the film. So I went out and studied a couple of shows: Spongebob, and the Fairly Oddparents. I was really drawn in by the animation on Spongebob which was much higher quality than I expected, so I ended up focusing just on that. They use a great combination of limited animation that *doesn't ignore* the principles of animation. In fact, they quite succesfully stick very strongly to the principles in order to make the limits work. I ended up coming up with a style that was very very similar to Spongebob (so sue me I only had a week to do this ;) ). It relied almost entirely on bounces in the upper body to keep the character alive. The characters would sort of bounce out their dialogue and bounce between major poses. We even got to play around with still holds in 3D because of the 2D render style which ended up working rather nicely and also saved a lot of time on animation. But again, this limited style only worked because we all made sure to stick to the principles of overlap, ease, squash & stretch, follow through, etc, etc...

That should be on TV sometime in the Spring I think. I'll be sure to post a link to it as soon as it's allowed.


Anyway, after that project was the one you've seen me mention here in "30 seconds O fun" and "twitch" where I had to animate about 20-30 seconds a week at near feature quality. At the time I thought things couldn't possibly get any more challenging...

Until the very next project. ;) Last Wedsnesday I was given a 28 second sound clip. The deadline was yesterday! That's 10 days including the weekend in the middle although I didn't work nearly as much over the weekend as I should have. It wasn't too bad until the crunch near the end when I had to do 20 seconds of lip synch (it's a nonstop dialogue shot) in one day. Oh well, alls well that ends well. And I finally got to sleep last night. ;) I can't say the same for the poor render watchers. I'm actually very proud of how it came out, regardless, and I'll probably be fixing the animation in the future since I feel it has a lot of potential and we can re-render it in house. I should be able to post it soon as it's screening at E3 this coming week. I'll look into that.

This time I promise not to expect something easier to come along next. *looks warily around*

~Cristin

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