So, last month I did a test for a prospective job at a video game company in London called Black Rock. Part of the test was a walk cycle and a jump that I think turned out pretty well, but because it was with one of their rigs, I don't have the rights to show it unfortunately. The part of the test I can show is, they wanted me to do blocking for that month's 11SecondClub competition. I was all set to finish it off in time for the competition, but life got real crazy on me. I know excuses excuses, but I did move across the country, got a job, bummed off a friend's couch for a week or so, moved into my own place, got a better job, etc.
Anyway, here's the roughed out version I sent to them:
I think this is a pretty good example of how I'm working now, starting in spline. I'm not letting things just float around with splines, in fact, because I'm working this way, I'm blocking in solid areas for holds and seeing where I'm thinking about transitions and roughly how the timing of all the beats is going to work out. From there on, it's a matter of working out the transitions and building eases and overlap into and out of the held sections. In the end, I'm not necessarily holding the characters as still or for as long, but in general, they are in those areas and it helps me keep the performance contained. That way when I go in to add things it's coming from a pretty stable base and things are less likely to get off course. The main thing I've found with this approach that you need to be careful about are making sure that you don't get your head stuck in the computer and you create nice breakdowns and overall solid posing. I seem to have been working faster with this method and have thus been losing my poses in all those splines.
I just finished a few passes of refinement and lip sync. I'm looking for comments on either where you think I went wrong and could improve upon next time, or where you think I can improve things now.
Oh, and yes, when all is said and done I do plan on animating in smoke effects, at least for when he blows out at the end. And yes, it'll probably be done by hand frame by frame because that's just kinda fun to do from time to time.