Monday, March 22, 2010

Justin's workflow


Animation Stages: Puss in Boots

When I learned that we'd be animating Puss in Boots for a number of Shrek the Third promotional "interviews", I was excited. When I heard that all his lines for the interviews would be in Spanish, I was even more excited! When the shots were presented and they said, "Who wants to animate this 25-second shot that'll be used in all the interviews," I quickly volunteered! (Yes, I volunteered for looked like a fun challenge!)


Acting reference, dialog breakdown

The first step was to write out the Spanish dialog against an English translation, which I then marked up and scribbled on as I collected ideas about phrasing, where I wanted to reverse arcs in the body, etc. Next I shot some acting reference, recording different chunks separately and then cutting the pieces I liked into a final clip to show my supervisor.


Blocking, part 1

This first pass of blocking incorporates a lot of ideas from my acting reference and note scribbling, but which also departs from those in certain areas. Ideas often arise during blocking that allow me to convey something in a better way than my original plan, and I like to be open to those bits of inspiration.

Blocking, part 2

After some feedback from my supervisor, I tweaked a few areas and refined the blocking further. This was my final blocking pass before I started polishing. Notice that his tail is no longer showing. We'd originally talked about just having the tail drape over the log behind him, but that would have been a huge animation hassle because of the way it was rigged. With the tight schedule we were facing, we chose to just keep the tail completely out of sight.

In-progress polish

This shows an in-progress version of my polish phase. I'd polished about half of the shot at this point, and there's a fairly clear point where you can see where the polish ends. From there to the end, it's pretty much my blocking keys with rough holds added and an auto-tangent script run on it.

Final polish

This pass has final body polish, final facial animation, and overlap added to the feather in his hat. Notice how some bits had additional motion added to work within some poses a bit more than what was initially blocked.

Final animation

It was odd animating Puss in without his fur, partly because it was difficult to know if we would need to tweak poses or facial expressions after seeing him with the fur rendered. Thankfully everything turned out okay with my shot, and no changes were needed.

Stage comparison

This clip shows several major stages together: initial blocking, revised bocking, in-progress polish, and the final render. In this view, it's easy to see where poses, timing, and acting ideas changed between different stages.

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