Past the halfway mark! ^ ^

So I just finished off animating sequence 18 which brings me just past the halfway mark of the film %52 to be exact.... It took 6 months to finish the first half... there was a 3 week break in there too... and I'm going to finish it in 6 more months so animation will be complete October 1st 2010... I just did some calculations and I did 836 shots in the first 6 months and I'm scheduled to do 796 in the next 6 months...

Things I've learned through the first half of the film...

+  Shots with multiple characters interacting with each other take the longest to animate.... 2 isn't so bad... when you get 5-7 it gets kinda crazy...

+ I animate everything in passes.... first animate the camera then the first character... first I block out the hips, then the neck, then the head, then the arms and legs... then the fingers... then the face... when that character is done I sometimes render an opengl preview if the viewport cant play it back smooth at 24fps then I move on to the next characters... when all chaR are done... I set up the DOF for the shot which means manually setting the camera's focal point and previewing the depth buffer until its right... then I do still frame renders to check the lighting...if its not good I fix it.... once its fixed I send the shot to render...

EDIT: HUMAN accidentally animated a spot light in 3 shots so characters were not lit right at the end of the shot DAMN autokey

+ At my count I have only made ONE continuity error in all those 836 shots ^ ^ all the errors are like textures flickering...  THOSE DAMN FLICKERING LIGHTS I have to go back and fix ^ ^ and weird IK pops here and there... on a few shots the SPD height was set too high... but yeh all tech errors that take place in render... so far ME the human has been pretty reliable...

EDIT: HUMAN forgot to add new GEarbuilder plugin to render nodes so 8 shots had no moving gears
+ the key is to stay motivated and focused... difficult shots are easy to focus on but they take forever...simple shots are quick work but I have a hard time focusing on them because they are too easy.... AND JUST WHEN you get cocky an easy shot takes like 2 hours ^ ^

+ There is nothing like acting out your shots... we're all great animators.... of ourselves... if when we animate we paid more attention to how our bodies work than how some IK controller moves we would all be better... I'm speaking for myself here as I was paying too much attention to how it looked in the computer than by just following my own movements.... its really easy if you just act it out and break down the movement step by step... then adjust the keys and curves for the smooth transitions between breakdowns...

+ Its not like I'm some amazing stop motion animator but the straight ahead style from stop motion can really get you through some tough spots on complex shots... when I feel lost or confused with a shot I animate straight ahead with FK... actually I do it for most all the action shots... the big movements at least and it has worked great for me...

+ Knowing how things are supposed to look is the first step... knowing HOW to fix them when they aren't is step 2.... and having a proper rig that will let you fix it easily is step 3.... If you've got those 3 things down I think you can make decent lookin 3d animation today.... In the past I knew how things were supposed to LOOK but the rigs I was working with didn't allow me to fix things properly.... On this film I took a whole month to build the ONE RIG I use on all the characters in this film... I know how its supposed to work now...and it does and its solid for both IK and FK...Thanks to Cactus Dan for his excellent Plugins and tutorials! I owe it all to hiM!

+ If you have a decent mini render farm and your optimizing your scenes correctly... the render farm should be able to keep up with your pace... at one point before the last scene that was RENDER INTENSE the render farm would render overnight the shots I finished the previous day.... right now there's 46 shots in the queue so I got a little ahead of my machines ^ ^

+ There is NO SECRET to animation... its all about having a good process... being observant and breaking things down step by step each time... when you speed through the basic steps you usually screw up

+ Working as fast as I have been requires a lot OF TRUST in your PRE-PRODUCTION WORK... I just do my shots... I'm not worrying too much about the script and everything else...I have to trust that I did my best to make the best film I could and now is the time to execute... the doubt is what slows you down in production... because in animation especially the FILM IS MADE IN PRE_PRO the animation is just a formality... NOW I am learning new things about my characters and adding in little things here and there as I work but I haven't even cut the hour+ I already have.... I just check the shots for errors after they render and thats about it.... which I have to go do now for the sequence that just finished!


  1. great to hear your halfway through m dot

    but i have one curiosity
    how did you manage to sneak in a gundamwing quote into wats without being sued?
    on the deestroy sound track i hear Wufei yell "I'LL KEEP ON FIGHTING ALONE UNTIL THE DAY I DIE!"
    i recognized it first time i saw it but didn;t realize it until i re watched gundam wing
    did like copyrights expire on it or something?
    i also herd a quote in UAA
    "i've said this before the only way to live a good life is to act on your emotion. The order to destroy zero one"
    looks to me like you like the sereis too i gather

  2. @lol Reyori they didnt notice great that u've wrote it here
    now U GAVE HIM a chance^ ^
    I better want to know how the theatre can take money for tickets on Hitchcock that 20 years as DEAD! Now he didnt need money, his films must be for free^ ^
    Oh, and M. plz. dont DIE^ ^

  3. 52%!! Crap I'm getting excited! I love these type of posts to! Lot's of animating information for me to absorb. :)

  4. Congratulations on getting the half way point! I'm amazed at your level of commitment to your work. thanks for the tips and comments on what worked and what didn't as you progressed. Very helpful.

    quick question: why do you get flickering textures?

  5. Great post! keep on you use a lot of animation clips with c4d? does it really help do have a kind of library of movements?

  6. @Ricky

    The flickering textures are usually always due to the wrong texture interpolation setting... When I was designing things and working with stills I had most set to "alias" or "circle" which looks sharper and works great for stills but makes things flicker most all the time when things are moving so I have to set them to "MIP" and with some noise based textures I have to add blur to the MIP as well

    @ Imaginario

    Yes I use motion clips a lot! They are a great time saver! I've built small libraries for all the characters....walks and runs mostly... also by turning off objects in the hierarchy of the motion clips you can do keyframe animate the head and arms but keep the motion clip animated legs and hips etc...its really powerful and flexible... you can even reverse them and off course change the timing, mix clips etc

  7. CONGRATZ!!!!! so glad to hear that. seriously can't wait for HSM. you're doing an awesome job thus far mdot. keep it up! i watched WATS randomly the other night cuz i got really sick and my brother came in and was like "whoa what is this???" and i was like "we are the strange!" and he was like "ohhh yeaaa that movie u were always talking about... didn't realize how cool it was" and i was like @_@ hahahah took him long enof to realize ;D


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