3 February 2011

Self-Confidence in Animation

Self Confidence in animation is about :

Putting his ego away to accept critiques. Being able to receive critiques (feedback) and keep your self-confidence even if your animation is “bad” because we are not criticizing our person but our animation. Also, do not think you have zero skill because someone just criticize your animation. What is important is to remember that you will generally save time when you ask for a critique because will know earlier what is not working and won’t lose time trying and moving things around. By correcting your mistake, you will also learn something through the process.

Further (must) Read :

-Carlos Buena : On Feedback
-Eric Scheur : The Compliment Sandwich

Choosing an idea and stick to it. Don’t change every two min, once you have an idea commit to it. In the same order of idea, it’s also evenly important to have a “plan of attack” for this idea. To not just move things around, to know what you are doing and where to you want to go (see workflow below).
"I commit myself to my ideas. I see a lot of animators who start a shot with one idea and change their mind half-way through. They re-key everything out, wasting precious time. I mean, there's noting wrong with letting your ideas evolve, bit if you change your mind to something completely different, you are back-tracking on yourself, and you risk being up in knots and delaying production and possibly annoying your director to."
-Jason Ryan, Animation Insider p.45
"Once you choose a plan of attack, attack that sucker ! […] Sometime animators we just get sooo insecure about our choices […] Once you're in the scene, maybe you will find something that work better, but make a plan and go for it !"
 -A must watch from Keith Lango : VTS 42, 37:00 to 39:00

Even in front of people, Getting up and acting it out ! It can be embarrassing to get up and doing what you have in your head when there is people around. But doing it at least a little bit from time to time will get you desensitize and more confident about it in the long run. Because of what we can call the “muscle memory”, sometime feeling the movement with our own body is a good way to understand what is really happening in one particular motion (as a Weight Shift for example).
"Even though you can imagine it in you head, sometimes you're doing a very complex movement, so it's best to act it out, and if you can record it."
-Emile Ghorayeb, Animation Insider p.15    
"So one day, tires of getting nowhere with my rough animation, I stood on top of the table and jumped to the ground to experience and feel the movement. The outcome was a painful shoulder injury and a complete understand of the whole action [...] Bottom line : if you can physically experience a movement with your own body, you will create the best animation for it."
-Pablo Navarro, Animation Insider p.31
"To many times I've been looking at some animation I did, thinking "that just doesn't look right" only to find out that when I try and act it out, my weight will be on the other foot, and my arm movement will be quite different."
-Jason Schleifer, Animation Insider p.75

Having self-confidence in our skill, to know that we can get things done. But for this we need to have some skills! We need to have the true impression (sensation) that we have the skills needed to get our animation done. If that impression isn’t there, then maybe you lack some skills and should read, watch, ask and work in one particular area (without being crazy about it). An example of skills could be being able to make good poses and being efficient at posing. Or having confidence in your technical skills as understanding the true meaning of all sort of animation terms and concepts. If you don’t understand what truly Spacing is, maybe you lack some skills in that area for instance.

Knowing your Workflow is something very important to have the capacity and self-confidence to solve an animation. Sometime having to do an animation can be intimidating, because we are in front of this blank sheet of paper having to create something from the noting.
"For most of my career, I approached every shot with an "Oh man, I really hope I don't screw this one up!" approach. Each shot was like a new experience. I would animate with different controls, jump back and forth between pose-to-pose and straight ahead animation. Playing with timing was a hit-or-miss concept where I would just look hopelessly at the animation curves and sort of smooth them out over and over until it looked right. I had no discipline and no confidence in my ability to get the shot finished to any level of satisfaction.

A few years later, the stress level and inconsistency of my shoot was starting to get to me. I was constantly worried that my work wasn't up to par, and my shots were not at a constant level of quality I could be happy with. As I approached the shot deadline, my stress level would shoot up and I would have a really hard time finishing anything I was even remotely happy with. I knew that I had to make a change, or I would either have a heart attack or be fired. Therefore, I started looking at others animators workflow and analyzed what worked and what didn't . When did I feel comfortable and when did I feel out of control ? Then I focused on areas of animation where I felt lost, and started to try to figure out what I could do to bring some order to the chaos.

After much trial and error, I came up with a workflow that I now use on every shoot. It keeps my stress level downn and allows me to manage my time in a way that gets the shots to the level I want, within the schedule."

-Jason Schleifer, see Animation Insiders Workflow Edition p.71 to read the rest of the text and to read about Jason's Workflow.

So that having a workflow that can help you solve your animation and help you to be more confident in your animation process is something that can lesser the level of stress inherent to deadline. And that “Oh my God how I’m gonna get this done” kind of normal fear.

Here are a few read & watch on Workflow :

-Kenny Roy : Advanced Workflow Video Lecture
-Animation Insiders Workflow Edition (now free !)
-Keith Lango VTS : 42 to 47
-Jason Ryan Animation Tutorial or Webinar

Over the Internet :

Chris Woods, Action Analysis
Cameron Fielding, Turok : Animation Workflow (see his Turok animaition here)
TJ Phan, How I Work

1 comment:

Bruno Andrade said...

your blog is great, wow, can´t believe I was missing out on all this resource. cheers.