I haven't been drinking much coffee lately and now I know why. I haven't been animating, and boy does it feel good to be doing both now. I'm doing this month's 11SecondClub competition.
I had a brain storm session with my story boarding friend James Gibson and we came up with this idea where the dialogue clip is set on a Victorian beach. I wanted to try and come up with an idea that will be different, so instead of using the weird breathing noises as the guy just making funny faces, I came up with a context I could put it in so it fit in, but was equally unexpected. So I went with a monster tentacle that chokes him. Usually in my efforts to be unexpected I often over-complicate the matter, but I think this time it works pretty well. I'm really focused now on simplifying ideas. What's hard for me is using that mentality of simplification, but not letting it simplify my poses and actions. Simplification should mean stronger poses and actions that describe clearly what's going on.
I did some thumbnails and a quick test in Flash just to prove there was potential in the idea.
After realizing that the first shot, while filmically an important establishing shot, was too long and unnecessary, I decided to simplify it down to the core idea. He looks at the shell, listens to it, it chokes him. I could even probably cut out the look at the beginning now that I think of it, but I think it's a fair compromise for not having an establishing shot.
I think going into the next stages of adding extremes and breakdowns is where I often make a misstep. My thumbnailing is, well, rough. And my blocking is often different from the thumbnails. And while I'm doing my blocking I get these ideas for actions that I start to block in, mostly as notes to myself for later on. I think what I need to do now, is look at all this as preproduction work but not jump into full on animation production quite yet.
I've been taught about the importance of the x-sheet, and I like to be able to implement it, but my drawing skills honestly aren't up to par yet to be able to go from thumbnailing to x-sheet to cg. I kind of need to start posing things out in cg and see things in the timeline.
I'm thinking that the next step should be a step back to look at the whole picture and really look at the overall texture of the timing I want to have and plug this stuff into an x-sheet. Everything I've learned says that the more you do upfront to have a strong base, the better your result will be. With tight deadlines this isn't always possible, but I have a month to do this, so I don't want to short change myself by trying to be done too quickly.