Name: Jason Ryan
Title: Supervising Animator
Software: flipbook, Maya
- Planning : Uses 2d animation software to create golden poses.
- Does not use film reference as he feels the animation will end up looking like him.
- Flipbook is also used to define timing, flesh out acting choices and mood.
- Final flipbook pass would be signed off by the director before moving into Maya.
- Blocking : Imports flipbook animation onto an image plane and recreates poses in 3d. Takes timing directly from flipbook. Makes necessary edits given context.
- Playblast in stepped.
- Sets keys to linear to see how the computer is interpolating between keys (without overshoots).
- Spline : No tweaking of curves in graph editor. Edits arcs and movement, tweaking poses, adding further breakdowns.
Name: Jeff Gabor
Title: Lead character animator
Studio: Blue sky
Software: Maya, video camera, video editor
- Planning : Thumbnails stage handled in Maya, creates poses to work out the relation of objects to the character (for interaction within a scene). Also thinks about appeal and staging.
- Video ref : Films himself doing the scene, remembering the poses that worked when thumbnailing in Maya, camera & space considerations.
- Video edit : Chops up ref in video editing software, picks the best takes of an action, speeds up/stretches time to closer match timing of final shot.
- Blocking : Replicate final video edit by posing the actual model in 3d, timing taken from final video edit. Very conscious of how it will spline. Adds keys for holds. Generally works on the rule of having a pose at least every 3-5 frames during motions.
- Splining : Works 15-30 frames at a time starting from the beginning. Works from the inside of the body out. Hips, Spine, Legs, Head, Arms, Toes/Fingers, and then face.
Rarely tweaks tangents, just uses autotangents for moving holds and eases.
- Polish : Accepts he's lost his fresh eye by this stage. Gets other peoples eyes on it & asks what could be improved. Views a mirrored image of the anim to give that fresh eye again.
Name: Keith Lango
Title: Technical Animator / animator guru
Software: GreasePencil, Sketch software, FrameMonkey, Maya
- Planning : Thumbnails, sketches out quick ideas on paper / pc
- Blocking : Creates key poses in Maya, working in layers. First layer – most important poses all keys on sequential frames. 2nd layer – keys shifted along in time line & filled in with most important breakdowns. A second layer of breakdowns is further added if he feels there still isn't enough information for the computer to calculate.
- Poses exported to Frame Monkey to work out spacing (although this seemed largely to do with sluggish frame rates in Maya on feature quality rigs around 10 years ago).
- After spacing is defined poses are imported back into Maya with same timing. Set to Linear.
- Spline : Only tweaks curves with viewport visible. Great advocate of not changing curves just to make them look pretty. If curve is funky but the movement is fine in Maya, he’ll leave the curve.
Name: Kenny Roy
Title: Owner/ Director
Studio: - Arconyx Animation Studios, LLC
Software: YouTube, sketchpad, Maya, video camera
- Planning : Sets time aside to get used to the rig & what it can do. Sketches thumbnails. Records ref or grabs relevant videos from youtube. Acts out movement.
- Blocking : Fundamental approach, stepped mode. Builds overlap into base key poses. Works with graph editor open making minor tweaks to familiarise himself with the keys in the scene. Even without dialogue, records an inner dialogue wav & uses it as a sound file in Maya, to help animate the feeling. Also adds 'performance texture' during blocking, so little shakes, bumps you know you definitely want in later.
- Blocking plus: Turns stepped into copied keys to preserve holds. Adds further breakdowns to create arcs. Weight check pass. Compares poses to original thumbnails to make sure he's still on track. Reviews anim at full speed. Makes a list of notes from the first play of the anim, fresh eyes are the best critic.
- Polish : New mind set, polish is not an extension of blocking plus, all breakdowns should be there. Adds non- performance texture ( dirt like non- performance breaths etc) polish pass on arcs. Polish pass on weight, where is the center of gravity?. Then onto final 5%, toe splay, blinks, tiny tweaks.
Name: Tal Shwarzman
Title: Senior Character animator
Software: Paper, video camera, video editing, photo editing, Maya
- Planning : Starts drawing thumbnails to help give ideas for the shot. They are not meant to be key drawings / frames or even extremes. They are just ideas.
- Records video ref (Note: if you're not the right person for the reference, get the right person)
- Goes over the reference footage, picking out the most important poses. Then imports them & draws over the ref to push the poses.
- Blocking & Spline : Has settled on working on a mix of Layered and Stepped key workflow. Only works in what most software call spline or auto-tangent curve type, but still blocks in a pose based method.