Tuesday, March 27, 2012

WEEK 12: Character Acting 2: Quadruped Walk wrap-up + Final Assignment - Acting scene

We'll wrap up the quadruped animation and move on to your final assignment: A character acting scene.  Please don't think of this as 'lip sync' - acting has very little to do with the mouth moving in time to the sound.

You have 3 weeks for this assignment and I've divided the work for you into 3 neat chunks: blocking the keys, adding the extremes, then adding detail. The full description follows.
Jeff Gabor with his animation progression & a plastic spoon

It may come as a surprise that the 'lip sync' part of character acting does not happen until the very last stage.  Please do NOT blast forth with lip sync, that would be very gauche ;o) And for love of Thor, please, no face cams!  Ugh..

The only thing I want you to work on for now is the blocking. The poses are the scaffolding of your entire scene. If they work, every layer of detail will improve it. If not, every layer will magnify their flaws.

Step One: Layout
Due in class 04/04/12:
Also called blocking or posing. You may need to thumbnail your scene first.  Pose the main body positions to support the important ideas and beats, usually around 1 pose per second, with only 2 or 3 major accents per scene. You may work with stepped keys or include 4 frame transitions between poses. Do not include unecessary breakdowns or facial animation, just posing. Do pose the face into the relevant expression but do not animate it at this stage.

Establish your camera(s) at this stage and try not to change them for the duration of the project.  You may include cuts, and if justified, truck ins/outs or pans to follow the action.  Keep these minimal, motivated and crisp (no floaty cameras, please).

Please read the following pages from Richard Williams' "Animator's Survival Kit':
311-326, 338-339

We'll have a look at some great resources for creating animated dialogue including some critiques from Animation Mentor's 11 Second Slub and the iAnimate showreel. 

Another great resource is Keith Lango. His article about Lip Sync is clear and concise.

Assignment 5: Acting Scene
Assigned: 28/03/12
Due: 18/04/12
% of final grade: 20%

Animate a character acting scene with dialogue. Work from your own live action reference, ideally the scene you practiced with Ed in Term 1. You may work in your pairs or groups for multi-character dialogue scenes and animate one of the characters only, or you may attempt to animate multiple characters.

Use pre-built rigs of your choice.


Exemplary: Convincing and well-motivated acting, clear, strong posing, snappy timing and fluid motion with a strong grasp of all animation principles including secondary/overlapping action. High attention to detail in all parts of the body, including eyes, mouth, and hands. Very high level of polish. Demo reel ready.

Excellent:  Solid acting with consistently good posing and timing, almost entirely fluid motion with a good grasp of nearly all animation principles including a good attempt at secondary action. Attention to detail in face and hands. High level of polish. Nearly demo reel ready with minor adjustments.

Acceptable: Decent acting with mostly good posing and timing. Motion is mostly fluid with minor errors or missing animation principles. Some attempt at secondary action. Face and hands animated but not quite polished. Within a few hours of demo reel quality.

Not Acceptable: Acting, posing or timing not clear or well planned. Motion not fluid with quite a few glitches or missing animation principles. Secondary action needing major work. Face and hand animation lacking detail. Quite far from demo reel level.

Equal weight will be given to:
Acting, Posing, Timing, Fluidity, Overlapping Actions/Secondary Motion,

Please submit files by FTP.
Please hand in 2 files, your playblast and your maya file.
You can hand in videos in any standard format except .wmv.
Ex: .mov, .avi, .mp4,
Naming convention:

Include any necessary referenced files. Please watch your naming conventions. No caps, extra characters or spaces. Feel free to number the files up to 999 as you like. It will help differentiate the files should you need to resubmit.

Good luck!

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