Sunday, 20 April 2008

The Jo Show

I think to spare her either vomiting or just getting properly creeped out, I'll do my best to restrain myself from heaping more sycophantic praise on my main assistant animator Jo. It needs to be said however that having her take the reigns for the character animation of the Prospective Lay (who I now wish had a better name) could not have been a better decision. My plan as I outlined it previously was to ensure the character had her own personality and style of movement to distinguish her from the uncouth Hunter and Duck duo. Looking at the line tests Jo came up with while I was out of the country there is a level of fluidity and attention to detail that is able to break through the murky webcam resolution. My concern when I left was that by concentrating her attentions on sequences that lasted only a few seconds at a time there might have been a temptation to over-animate. This turned out not to be the case, as she also demonstrates a fundamental instinct for keeping it all reigned in. Here are a few tests to show what I mean:

I must've tried this cycle six times and never came up with anything usable. The main hurdle at which I would stumble was getting the bounce on the boobs right. My follow-through would either be off or the secondary motion would be too minimal to register. Worst would be the issue of too much bounce which came off as gratuitous.

While you need the accompanying dialogue to fully appreciate the movement here, there is a lot going on that demonstrates a real flair for body language and acting. I especially like the childlike way she waves.

This is another shot that I took several stabs at that never felt right to me (in fact, one clunky version made it into the trailer for a few frames). The accusatory point always lacked something or other when animated as a single movement. Here Jo has resolved that issue by lifting the arm pre-emptively.

In this shot I gave her free reign to animate the character being visibly bashful. The animation is timed to the dialogue for the shot, where the Duck puts the moves on her.
These really met my expectations and even went a little beyond them. I feel more of Jo's input would be beneficial, not just to my film but in terms of my personal understanding of animation processes. The animation BA that Jo graduated from taught her a lot more about the fundamentals, while my MA kinda leaves you to work it out on you own. If I can pick up more bits and pieces of animation technique I could make the film a great deal more visually interesting.

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