A lot of life-factors and just plain old burning out, lead to a week of so so productivity and accomplishment. But, it being two weeks since my last post, hopefully y'all might see some progress, haha.
The basic take away from my crit was that, my acting beats were all there, but that some mechanics and timing here and there need to be worked on. After 7 weeks of all y spare time going into working and reworking this so many times, I was more than ready to move on, so I was relieved when my teacher said it was okay to move on to something new, but I'll definitely be continuing to chew away at this here and there.
I had some audio clips on deck for my next piece and after that crit, I went home and shot some reference for my top two. I spent the next couple nights letting my thoughts marinate and trying to fix some stuff on my other shot. Then came the weekend and more available time to sit down and focus. I re-shot my reference, and re-shot some more. Then I moved into the computer. Using the awesome new grease pencil tool in Maya 2014, I sketched on top of my viewport to rough out the basic poses and ideas I was putting over. As I went, I wrote notes to myself about action or emotion. I then blasted it out and composited that on top of my reference because I thought it was an interesting look into my brain.
From there, I moved into actually blocking it out in cg. Having the grease pencil on top of my frames roughly timed out, in addition to my reference, helped make me more confident in what I was doing. I realized quickly that I was missing explaining that the guy we're watching is judging the height of something and not just randomly stacking apples. So, to put that over, I tried out a few things, deleted them, tried some more, got closer, then shot more reference, then went back in and slugged in those now twice-baked ideas into my shot. We got a new pose library for facial expressions, which was pretty fun to play with and really helpful in painting in those big first strokes of the shot. Having a more fully posed out face and body, really helps to present my final ideas.
For the sake of revealing my inner workings, I actually blocked everything out in linear interpolation, working straight ahead. I really need to have things in motion to feel out timing and to keep mechanics together. Something I suffered from a lot in my last shot was starting out pretty hard-nosed with stepped blocking. I remember that first week after I splined and getting notes on body mechanics hurting a lot because if anything, that is something I'm good at. Then I was stuck in this spiral of correcting those problems and reworking section after section because things weren't fully clear in the beginning blocking. After I finished blocking out the body in linear, I kicked it into stepped because it does help with evaluating the pose by itself, and I tried to push around some poses and timing to tighten things up. I didn't want to go too far though because I haven't gotten any proper approval of my ideas or anything, so I left it at this.