Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lukas Niklaus - New York - Critique

The shots are getting better and better. Let's go through them one by one in more detail. Here my suggestions:

- Soften the lips after "up". From x47 to x48 there is a big shape change, but from x48 to 49 there is no change except in the jaw. This gives the "p" in "up" too much emphasis, which is not reflected in the audio.
- watch the SL guy towards the end where the hand holding the cup starts to drift down. It feels more like a drift than an intentional move. Since we're shifting the attention to the girl, I would not have him move at all besides some tiny keep alive so that the audience doesn't get distracted
- this might just be me but it feels like the eye dart ending on x18 going screen right has then another slow move screen left right afterward, which I would take out. If you have a big eye dart going one way and then immediately going back it feels like a bounce, which is weird for eyes
- the girl's eye dart from x47 to x48 is a bit big, it feels more like a pop. I would also delay it by a few frames. We're looking at the guy, then he looks over to her, so the audience follows his look and by the time we get to her she's already done that eye dart. So just delay it a bit and don't have the eyes travel as far

- I would delay her eye actions to x132 so that there is a little beat after New York; right now the eye darts feel a bit rushed and the pauses between each dart is very similar in timing
- I would soften the head stop at x159 so that only the beginning is harsh given her "swallow"
- as you mentioned the fingers need some refining but it's pretty close. I would adjust how the hand stops around x180 so it's not so clean and abrupt - and when the knee goes screen left around x257 it feels like the knee goes first without influencing the fingers

- you could move the guy a little bit more screen left but it's not a deal breaker
- his left hand move up around x326 to 330 is a bit fast, especially at the end how it stops; a fast move like that is a bit too contrasty given the quiet delivery of the line
- you mentioned that you liked the head turn as it is; I still feel that it is a bit too arc-y and fast on the up, but if you feel strongly about it then that's perfectly valid

Almost there! Nice work!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lukas Niklaus -New York - Critique

Shot3: Looks good, but I would position the guy a bit more screen left. Right now everything is concentrated within the screen right half, which is crowding that area a bit. He could stand where the pole is, maybe a tiny bit to the right of it. Then just cheat the pole around.

Shot2: It's much better with the toned down emotion and I can see your point about the gear change at that point. All I would do is break up that change a bit then. Her pause is not just a pause, it's kind of a hidden swallow because of her emotions. So instead of having her just look down after New York, I would have multiple little eye darts. She is basically remembering the good times there (like you said), but as she remembers L.A. it would be interesting to see how her mind works. By having little eye darts you would show how hear brain is processing and remembering that information and after that it triggers that swallow/reaction and change of mood. So hold her look after New York, but then lower her eyes a bit earlier than what you have now, and don't go lower then her eye pose on x137 (just move it more screen right/left, so she doesn't look into the camera). Hold that pose for a beat and then go to x138, hold that for only a few frames and then go to x139 at that lowest position, but have more of a left or right translation from x138 to 139.

His last look and that smile: if you're going for sympathy, then I would bring up his top eye lids a bit more and if you have control over their rotation, then have them less pointed down towards the nose. His expression on x359 feels "Yeah baby" and almost creepy, given the sad and somber tone of the voices. You can have a smile that says "I understand what you mean." but just dial down that 'Hey baby, want a drink?" look. :)
What doesn't help either is the speed of the head turn. Again, given the mood, it's a bit too fast.

The rest looks pretty good. There's one moment with her on x227, how she has that one eyebrow up, which is a bit too far away from her disappointed/somber mood. Just dial down those eyebrows and keep the sadness. Even the pose on x283 feels more sad. That one is a good combination of feeling puzzled and sad. Plus I wouldn't have first the screen right eyebrow up and the moments later the screen left one, it's a bit too "first this side... aaaand now this side".

I agree that the hand stopping around x223 is a bit too fast, you could soften that part. Also watch out that fingers are not going through her leg, like on x198.
What I would add in terms of hand mechanics is during the moment when she takes her left hand off the other hand. Right now that hand doesn't react to it, the leg doesn't react to it either. Once the hand slides off, bring in some wrist changes and finger changes (for her right one). And since only her right hand is on the leg, it would pull that knee a bit screen left, now that the stabilizing left hand is gone. So add a little leg move during that moment.
You could almost go as far as fully rotating her right wrist towards her a bit more. Looking at the silhouette and shape around x280 for instance, we don't see her right elbow and her lower part of the wrist kinda sticks out to the left. So that wrist and arm feel a bit disconnected. I would rotate the wrist out towards us, so that we see more of the finger tips once the other hands gets off of it. If by that we bring her arm a bit back, so that you can see her elbow than even better.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mike Feil - Ring - Critique

[There was a question about how I approach the refining stage of a shot.]

Usually I go by chunks. I attack the first 50 frames or a section within the shot. Bit by bit and go through all the elements, root first, then chest, , then hips/legs, then head/arms, then face and fingers and detail stuff. Of course that order can change a bit depending on the style and content, but that's usually how I go about things.
Happy accidents can happen but I wouldn't rely on them. :)
I also get back to the basic blocking movie so that I don't loose the essence of the timing. Sometimes during polish you can get lost in the graph editor and worry about nice curves too much and then suddenly all the timing is different. Curves don't have to be all nice, it just has to look alright within the camera (without crazy cheating of course).

It's good that you changed the camera for the ring, but I would actually go even higher so we can see the surface of the table. Right now it's super flat towards camera and it's a weird perspective having the table legs in perspective yet the table is flat. :)
The camera push in is so subtle, I actually don't think it's needed because it is barely moving forward. What's your intention with that move?

Anim wise it's going in the right direction! For your next revision I would take a pass on all the pauses where your poses change. There are a lot of linear key moments where the movements suddenly stop and continue. So think about the ease ins/outs and the arcs of the root, arms, etc.
I would also look at the eyebrows a bit more. There are some moments where you could add some complexity to it. For instance during the sigh, and when he picks up the box and walks away. There could be some physical strain and other thought processes driving the brows during those sections.
The silhouette for the hand when he takes off the ring is good! Speaking of hands, as you continue with the breakdowns, start to add a few more poses so that they don't look like IK hands, sticking in space. For instance when he pulls the box towards him around x325 to x320 the wrists are pretty much locked even though his arms are pulling.

Hope that helps!

Lukas Niklaus - New York - Feedback

Animation aside (which looks good btw.), there's a confusing feel in terms of screen direction. It's technically working, but there's a weird feel of having her look screen left at the end, but then shot 3 has her screen left and him screen right. It could work if you just flop the last shot so that she's on the right.

Acting wise, I feel like the delivery for both characters is pretty sad and subdued. So when she's saying "I grew in New York..." and then swallows before "and I moved to L.A. ..." it feels like she's having a hard time saying those lines (both physically and mentally), yet the way you play it out with her look up after "New York" (a frame counter is needed) she smiles, which feels odd, given the tone and feeling of the audio. I would keep it more serious and take that smile out.
The same thing for the guy at the end. His "Yeah I know..." is not exactly happy but you have him smile, which feels weird as well.
I would have her eye direction stay within the left field (so on New York have her look screen left and not screen right - same thing on "... married but... ". You still have a lot of room on the left for different eye darts, but I think overall visually it will be clearer. Unless you have her look screen right but down, so it's about her thoughts and not eye contact with the guy.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mike Feil - Ring - Critique


[there was a question about constraints]

What I would think about is what is going to be the driver. The character or the piece the character is interacting with it. I remember hearing this analysis through A Bug's Life (DVD or something, don't remember), where a tiny bug would hold a match. Since the match is heavier the bug's arms were constrained to the match and the match was driving the arms. But if a heavy set guy is holding a feather, then the feather is constrained to the hand and the guy is driving the feather. Hope that makes sense. :)

Your clip looks good already, it's all very clear. I would maybe bring up the camera a tiny bit since we loose the ring once it's on the table. What would you think about having the guy do something with the ring at the end. Maybe he comes back and takes the ring with him since he can't let go of it right now? Just throwing out ideas.
I like the walk out, it's going to be funny to have the guy's root not go up and down that much. You know when you carry something really heavy you hurry and take lots of tiny steps? :)

One thing to think about, not that it bothered me, but when he takes off the ring (please include a frame counter - using the quicktime fc it's on x98) the silhouette could be a bit clearer. The ring is right in front of the screen right upper arm and the hand/fingers and right in front of the forearm. Maybe have it happening more screen left or screen right, but either way with the hands to the side of the body and not in front of arms. Since you have room and him taking off the ring is a story point in the clip, might as well make that super clear.

Hope that helps, keep going!