Feb 2, 2009

summary of the first class

We had an exciting discussion during our first class meeting. We went over the existing animation pipeline as we know it, and made our predictions about where the majority of production time goes on a feature animated project. My notes on that are incomplete (if someone has more details and can post them as a comment, great). However, we found it valuable to differentiate those things that happen on a shot-by-shot basis (such as animation, layout, and lighting) from those things that happen on a per-film basis (like the building of a particular character).

Assuming 1000 shots in a feature film, we concluded that the economies of scale that come with saving time on per-shot events would exceed savings we might create in a particular per-film task. So we emphasized those areas as good places to explore.

We also considered the films themselves, separate from the processes which made them. After all, one mission of this course is to question the processes. In this vein, we identified qualities that we must be able to capture with our techniques if our techniques are to be competitive with current methods.

The two qualities we identified were "emotional engagement" and "a believable world." The former is really about a connection between the audience and the characters. The latter was trickier to define. It seemed to center around a world that was internally consistent, from the level of physical "laws" to the implied history of the cultures and events that made the world exist. I find it still hard to define clearly.

We identified the following contributors to what we called emotional engagement: facial and eye animation, pantomime/body animation, voice, the staging and composition of the individual shots, the color palette, and music. Basically, this is a list of the stuff we see and hear while enjoying a movie. For the moment we aren't touching story, though obviously the conflicts and desires of the characters are crucial. For our purposes in this class, we want to explore methods for getting the visuals for a tenth of the effort.

After these conversations, we thought about what kind of small production we could pursue in this class that would test our ability to achieve those two aforementioned qualities. The result? A 3 shot film:
  1. A close up of a character with facial animation (and lip sync).
  2. A long shot (moving camera) showing the character within a believable world. This should include some ambient motions and parallax.
  3. A medium shot (or wider) of the character acting out something physically.
We're hoping to get boards and designs quickly so we can move on to answering the exciting production questions these shots pose.

No comments:

Post a Comment