Design diary for the animated short, The Chiquita Factor, coming may '06.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Crunch Time. I wish it was Captain Crunch Time.

Production is in full gear right now, because there's just about 3 weeks left to finish the "preliminary" version of the film I am submitting for thesis/graduation candidacy, before putting a month or so of final touches on it for the festival circuit.

I'm getting deeper into character animation, and this is the first time I've been fully vested in acting synced to dialogue. I'm learning alot as I go and feeling pretty good about the results so far; I'm getting laughs from the people who have seen the motion tests, and it looks like they just might've landed me a job too. (More on that later.)

Here's a few things I've been struggling with big time. Two characters on screen at once is a huge challenge; not just to get realistic interaction, but to be sure that the viewer's focus is on the right person at the right time. Timing is critical, and it's especially hard to keep acting intact without losing direction. I've finally finished the scene where Gordon is riding on Marvin's back, which was actually a real technical pain in the ass, in terms of finding ways to constrain one character to the other realistically in Maya and still be able to key all the secondary action.

Another thing I've learned: Before you rig, really think hard about what your character has to do in each shot. I included FK/IK switchable arms for everyone, but never thought about the need for FK legs. Now I'm working on a scene where Gordon is swinging from ceiling- and boy doing this is in IK is a bitch.