Dialogue shot needs your crits please

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  01 January 2013
Dialogue shot needs your crits please


This is a shot I have been working on for awhile and is ready for crits. Please take a look and let me know what I can do to improve it.

Thank You

  01 January 2013

Nice shot, looks like fun. I think your acting ideas are good, but the execution of them needs improvement. The hips on the main guy are locked out through most of the animation, and his feet as well. I would suggest acting out these movements and taking not of when you make small weight shifts and foot shuffles, and working those into your animation to add realism and weight, I think thats the main thing that throws me off, with those things in place, I think this shot will be on a new level.

During the womans line 'ooh but I don't know' her movement is very straight, locked on one axis, it would look nicer to have her swaying in a more circular motion, or oval, just not on a straight path backwards and forwards.

His reaction after 'because I'm stupid' looks odd to me, I think you could find a reaction that is more real and readable, work through some ideas until you find something that really clicks in place.

When he puts his hands together, animated them with a bit of give and squish between them, they are quite wooden at the moment, I guess thats possibly something you are planning to add later.

Anyway, hope these things help you, keep going, keep learning, and have fun.
  01 January 2013
Hey mattjmit,

Nice comments thank you for taking the time to give them to me. I agree with allot of what your saying ill keep working on it and post an update.

Anyone else have any commments are welcome to jump in the more feedback the better.

Thank You,

  05 May 2013

I made some changes please take a look and let me know what you think.



  10 October 2013

I have done some updates based on some crits I got. Please take a look and let me know what you think. Constructive crits are always welcomed and greatly appreciated.



  04 April 2014

I have made some updates please take a look and let me know what you think.



  04 April 2014
You might want to add some anticipation, overshoots and arcs to your actions.
Also when the girl moves in the 2nd camera she seems very stiff and moves in a straight line, try and give her a bit of an arc. You should also double check the weight shifts and hip movements when the guy walks. There seems to be a weird shoulder wobble around the 10 second mark.

Hope that helps.
  04 April 2014
Hey dude, so I'm going to start with some broader stuff about animating before getting into specifics. I apologize it's QUITE long, but I am about to unload all the things I wish were said to me when I first started animating a good 7 years ago. Please understand that I mean this all to be as helpful as possible, and it is up to you to take from it what you will.

You need faster turn-around time on your work. Getting good at anything requires failing early and often. I can see from the time stamps that you've been at this thing for over a year.

KISS. That wonderful rule of engineering and everything. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Alternatively or concurrently, Keep It Stupidly Simple. If you listen to the unofficial Tangled Commentary, they talk about how there are some moments when all they needed to do was dial a single blend shape. Obviously with great timing, easing, etc, but the point is they did exactly what was needed from their shot, no more and no less.

In the interest of faster turn-around times and simplicity, do shorter stuff. You can get hired from a 3 second, obscenely polished and beautifully animated moment of someone just fidgeting with their hands in discomfort at the thought of opening a door. You don't need to make it long, just make it OUTSTANDING.

So here's a bit of crit on what you actually asked for:
I'll mainly refer to a specific part of the animation, though these can be observed throughout.

ACTING/PHRASING. There are overlapping issues with both of these. Many of the decisions don't seem to appropriately reinforce the intent. Additionally, there is often no time to see and interpret an action before the camera cuts or the character is off doing another thing.
IE: When he makes a face in response to "I'm stupid!", he does what looks like a gasp almost immediately. There is no time for us to see that he's heard her and had to process the data. It's as if he processed it and made the decision at some unknown time we didn't see.
After this, he begins shaking his head immediately. There is no time to see ether action and they crowd each other, as well.
Another example. Guy kneels and brings hand up over desk to place it on his knee. You probably don't need to show his hand clearing the desk for us to get that he lifted/replaced his hand.

POSING. Two problems. There's a lot of rigidity, and your silhouettes are often unclear(some are quite clear, but many aren't). These issues in the posing are resulting in a lot of the unnatural movement that we previously noted and the sense of rigidity. There are frames when the characters are posed in ways that people simply don't pose under natural circumstances.
IE, when he brings his hand onto his knee, he raises it weirdly high before placing it down(as well as breaking his wrist). Also, there is a lack of weight shift. Not only in the motion, but in the pose itself.
Closely observe yourself doing these actions on video and you'll find all sorts of nuances and attributes that are currently not present in the poses of your characters.

MOTION. Sort of related to posing. There are times when specific things lock down and stop moving very suddenly and rigidly. Some things overlap, others don't. Relating ot posing decisions, there are body parts that will overlap severely, and others that don't at all.
IE, his wrists/elbos/shoulders show very little overlap/offset during his walk to the desk. But then his wrist exhibits extreme overlap as he brings his hand up over the desk and onto his knee.

Axe the lighting. Big thing is clarity and that we can see what's happening. Animation reel doesn't need to showcase your lighting, and I've known professionals to specifically complain that even incredible lighting impedes their ability to judge the animation. Right now it's blown out and the lack of shadows/form is making it extremely difficult to see what's happening in their faces. Keep it simple and just leave it without lights, they aren't helping.

All that said, my advice is to abandon doing dialogue/performance stuff for a while. Leave this as it is and take with you only the lessons. Go to the basics and don't move forward until you've nailed them.

Take a single day to make a ball bounce across the screen and make it look like a real, specific[/B,] ball bouncing across the screen. Animation is communication through motion, so we should know what material it is, whether it's responding to gravity, whether it's alive or not, just through the motion.
Repeat daily until you've nailed it. Then do a different type of ball bounce. Once you've done a couple really successful ones, do the ball with tail, then do a ball with tail that's alive
Then grab a flour sack rig, animation mentor made a nice looking one called 'Squirrels' http://www.animationmentor.com/free-maya-rig/
At this point they will start taking longer, but you should still keep your time frame on the exercises pretty short. You're not spending time making assets in maya, so you should be turning these around and leaving them in a matter of 1-2 weeks.
Then give a shot at moving a biped around no spine/face/etc, just legs on a hip. Make it walk, make it jump, make it turn, make it just sit and wait.

I rushed past these exercises and wasted time trying to do things I didn't understand.
[B]Don't do that.

Beyond that you can start getting into full body stuff and people will have different opinions on where to go in what order. You can ask people far more skilled than me or just copy the order of exercises that are done on Animation Mentor, AnimSchool or whatever else.
(NOTE: I do not mean copy specific animations, they should be your own and portray a sense of character/identity that comes from YOU. Just the idea of walk/run/jump/climb/wait/talk/sit/lift/whatever they use).

One more thing. REFERENCE. For the love of god, film yourself, other people, whoever. Follow some sort of reference. It can just be your own drawings, but they must be drawings made from the observation of real things and characters. This also means drawing people(biggest thing is gesture drawing, for which Glenn Vilppu has done some WONDERFUL videos). Drawing is one of the best ways to practice observing as well as seeing how good your observations are(if it's not in the drawing, one must assume you didn't notice the weight shift, or the compression, or whatever).
I never used as much reference as I should have and it slowed me down in stupidly unnecessary ways.
Don't do that.

Some inspiration from an old schoolmate:

His work also serves as a good example of all the jazz I talked about, though obviously by the point of this reel he had moved well beyond the introductory exercises.

Hope that was helpful, happy animating!
-Anguel Roumenov Bogoev

Last edited by Roumenov : 04 April 2014 at 11:55 PM. Reason: opening understated how long the post would be >.<
  04 April 2014
Hey Roumenov,

Thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed reply there is some good stuff here. I agree with allot of what your saying in the crits section I will take another shot at improving it.

The lighting is really bad I was almost thinking of taking a basic lighting course or pick up a few books on it but if I can get away with no lighting at all that might be a good idea for now.

I don't think its a total train wreck not worth fixing. There is some decent animation in it and I believe after making some changes that you and others have suggested it can be demo reel worthy.

Thanks again for your reply its very helpful.

  04 April 2014
Hey YashaP,

Thanks for your reply your right in scene2 she does look flat. I believe its the camera angle when I took a look at the animation from another angle the arc is there so ill adjust the camera to show it off better.

Good eye with the shoulder I just noticed it now that you pointed it out. Ill make an adjustment to it.

Feedback is always really appreciated thank you again.

  04 April 2014
Glad I could help

Though I'm in the no or minimal lighting camp. If you do want a GREAT book on lighting, James Gurney's color and light book was the most useful one for me from an image-making perspective, and Jeremy Vickery has some really great videos he made for Gnomon. His master class was also really good, and I'm pretty sure they have it available as a video now.
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