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"Hey, Pickup Cafe!"... my 2nd dialog test


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My first dialog test was about tasteful and restrained acting choices. Not this one.

 

I did this last year but I'm only now getting around to trying to light it and add a "background". Before you had to pretend it was night and that the car was moving.

 

The dialog is Frederic March and Myrna Loy in The Best Years of our Lives. The sound effect was taken from The Palm Beach Affair.

 

[attachmentid=20481]

 

I never quite got it to look like my "vision" of how it would all work, but I'm pleased with it.

 

Update: I don't want to leave the impression that I did this in one sitting or one week or entirely on my own. For the very curious, I've compiled all the versions of this assignment that I turned in over the nine weeks that I worked on it along with some explanatory notes between each iteration. You can watch it go from the pathetic larval stage to the all-talking, all-swinging, all-falling stage I posted above.

 

The mentor comments, positive and negative, were far more substantial than I present here and had a lot to do with this animation having a successful result, but I can't remember them all now.

 

[attachmentid=20903] (H.264 format)

 

As I look through these now, I see some touches that got lost in the polishing and I should try to recapture. I also see that my concept of the performance changed quite a bit and I was lucky to have the time to experiment.

Pickupcafe504_h264300.mov

WipCompilationSC.mov

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Robert,

Excellent character work!

 

Are you going to composite the background and interior of the vehicle or is the intention to have it spartan?

Don't get me wrong I liked it a lot! Sometimes I miss the artistic sense of things (actually, most times).

 

David

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That's really nice.

 

Do the arms have joints midway down the forearm? It looks like it in a couple of frames - when he getures with his right hand as he says 'sleep' - but it could be the result of splines flexing as the wrist bends. Either way, it looks nice and fluid.

 

The guy's surface properties are almost like clay - the only thing missing are your thumb prints.

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love the acting style - fabulous - wouldn't change a thing in body movements - excellent - fun - fluid - imaginative

 

I think some of the lip sync could be made stronger - sometimes I had the feeling that it was out-of-sync. Would have liked to have seen more pronounced empathsis on some of the consonants.

 

I will have a relook & see if I can pinpoint what I'm talking about (I never know what I'm talking about)

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ok - I relooked - and I'm not as good as you in being precise as what is bothering me - but I believe in the first sentence the Pick up cafe, driver, stop right here - looks a little mushy and off - even tho he's supposed to be a slurry drunk - in actuality it sounds like he's articulating more pronounced than animated. Also maybe even when he says Absolutely - might like to see it more Ab - solutely.

 

And like I said - I dun no wha I taking bout.

 

 

ACK - I just noticed this is in the showcase thread - so if you weren't looking for critique - I apologize - because I REALLY love it.

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Love it. I've seen the character used a lot on Animation Mentor member pages works. You're right up there! I know the character is used with Animation Mentor and that you converted it to Animation Master so I don't know if it would be problematic but...

 

Could he be added to the "Extra's DVD?

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Thanks for your comments!

 

I think some of the lip sync could be made stronger

Yes, I spent many hours sliding things around trying to get them to look tighter and when one thing improved it seemed like something next to it got worse. So what you see here is the point where I said "f--- it".

 

If I ever get my enthusiasm back I think I'll blow away all those keys and redo it from scratch.

 

Or maybe just have him fall out of the car before he says anything.

 

Could he be added to the "Extra's DVD?
No, part of the enrollment agreement was that we not redistribute any of the AnimationMentor materials. Even though it's not the original Maya model there were total hysterics when I told them I had included it in a bug report to Hash.

 

Oh well, at least now I can say i've gotten a personal phone call from Bobby Beck. :(

 

Do the arms have joints midway down the forearm?
It's more of a "bowing" capability on each bone. It's a way of softening up the lines of a character, especially on something like this that's basically a stick figure.

 

It was hairy getting that to work on the arms that have to be able to twist and stretch and bow in any arbitrary combination.

 

Here's a frame showing bowed and unbowed.

 

[attachmentid=20505]

 

I overdid it in places. One theory says you're not supposed to do it so much that it is noticed.

 

I think I read that this is something first done on "the Incredibles", but I could be wrong about that.

 

Are you going to composite the background and interior of the vehicle or is the intention to have it spartan?
spartan it is and spartan it will stay, I'm afraid. The assignment was just about the character so any other elements were pretty basic. I did consider shooting some background video from my car and compositing that in, but getting that to match would be a major project in itself.

limbbenders.mov

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Do the arms have joints midway down the forearm?
It's more of a "bowing" capability on each bone. It's a way of softening up the lines of a character, especially on something like this that's basically a stick figure.

 

I overdid it in places. One theory says you're not supposed to do it so much that it is noticed.

It was barely noticeable - it looked so smooth and fluid that I started wondering why he didn't look like a thrashing stick insect. It only became obvious when I started single-stepping through it, which doesn't count.
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It's more of a "bowing" capability on each bone. It's a way of softening up the lines of a character, especially on something like this that's basically a stick figure.

 

It was hairy getting that to work on the arms that have to be able to twist and stretch and bow in any arbitrary combination.

 

That was a very well done piece of animation, Robert! I am curious about the arm setup...is that shareable?

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<click - play - repeat - scribble notes - click - repeat - pause - scrub - scribble notes - click - repeat - play backwards - stop - play forward - click - pause - scribble - close. Open project in progress - tweak - change - render - wait....>

 

Rob, you're a natural teacher you know that? Thank you so much for sharing. That is some awesome work.

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very fluid and easy on the eyes, great work, I especially like the expression communicated by the eyes, eyebrows, and mouth. I'd be very interested to know what kind of face rig you have going too if you ever had a chance to share.

 

-Ethan

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I overdid it in places. One theory says you're not supposed to do it so much that it is noticed.

 

I think I read that this is something first done on "the Incredibles", but I could be wrong about that.

 

Hey Rob,

 

Very impressive work here. I like it.

 

Anyway just to clarify on the "bendy" type thingies on appendages. It was used on previous films. I know we had that kind of control on Shark Tale when I worked on that film and I am pretty sure we weren't the first to use those types of controls. They were very fun to play with.

 

Nice work. Keep it up.

 

-Dimos

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This is one GOOOD piece of animation!!!

 

Hey, Robcat... you communicate with all those fine animation teachers... ask them if it is O.K. to drool when one sees somebody's animation? I am not asking for myself... one friend wanted to know... ;)

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Thanks for all your kind comments!

 

I am curious about the arm setup...is that shareable?

Yes, I'll try to put a post together explaining it. My version was designed around TSM2 but I'm sure it could be adapted to other rigs. But in a word... fanbones. Fanbones upon fanbones.

 

I think some motion blur would improve it even further btw.
Yes. I'm probably the only person who thinks these things are funnier with the strobing.

 

I'd be very interested to know what kind of face rig you have going too if you ever had a chance to share.
The animationMentor character had many controls that we typically don't implement on our A:M characters. For example, the inside, middle, and outside each eyelid can be raised/lowered separately to shape the contour. It's all aimed at being able to give a fleshy appearance to the face instead of a rigid one.

 

I estimate there were about 70+ controls for the face which I understand is low compared to a modern studio character. I came pretty close to emulating all of them on my version although this was my first time out trying to rig a face and not all of it worked as well as I had hoped. :(

 

I made a better implementation of this scheme on a character I recently rigged for a classmate of mine. When he's ready to uncloak his project I'll see if I can show the face works here.

 

Anyway just to clarify on the "bendy" type thingies on appendages. It was used on previous films.
Maybe Pixar just thought they were first. :lol: I had read an interview with a Pixar person who said they had something called "bend bow" to alter the lines of their characters. But they didn't explain it or give any pictures so it may have had nothing to do with limb bending.

 

is it O.K. to drool when one sees somebody's animation?
If you want to appear as one of the cognoscenti you really have to say something like "well, that was pretty good... but I think you need to..."

 

 

Thanks again, everyone, for looking at my animation! yay.gif

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I especially like how "loose" the character feels. Have any tips or comments on how to achieve this?

 

That's a good question. I don't have a good answer. I think some of it is in overlapping motion; never letting a set of bones move as a rigid unit. And I think some of it is never letting any or all of the character become frozen in space; keeping it moving, even if it's just a few pixels over a stretch of frames. Those are things I spent a lot of time on, trying to keep moving and yet still holding some clear poses without floating thru them.

 

but about how long did this take to animate?

The assignment ran nine weeks. Six weeks doing the body motion and then three more adding facial animation. I found myself putting in from 20-60 hours each week. That and rigging the character at the same time pretty much wore me out. I'm still putting my enthusiasm back together.

 

For the process curious, I've added a file in the first post that shows the animation's state at each week over that stretch.

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Fantastic, you don't know how helpful it is to how you approach a scene.

Thanks for putting that together Robert!

-Josh

 

Not that this is a text-book example of how it should be done. ;)

 

If I had had a better notion of what i was going to do in this shot at the start, I would have gotten more useful work done in the initial "golden pose" stage and the breakdown stage.

 

And that would have made the polishing easier.

 

They talk a lot about "planning", the research and discovery stage you go through before you go into the software.

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Did anyone else lose the movie past about 1:22? All I get are the last title card and the last frame of the fall in alternating sequence til about 2:22 and then blank white for the rest of the movie. Did I download a corrupted version or should I buy a new computer.

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It's the "think" method. You just render a white screen and think about animating.

 

Well, I tried downloading it again and it seems ok.

 

Did it fail more than once for you?

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OK, it seems that the browser is working better but still not working entirely... it stops just as Week 8 begins, almost as the it can't find the end of the movie.

 

But, given 30 people have downloaded it without complaint, maybe it's just me... :(

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But, given 30 people have downloaded it without complaint, maybe it's just me...
I had problems with it while it was playing n my web browser - it would break up and stutter quite badly. Playing it through the Quick Time player is OK.
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I had problems with it while it was playing n my web browser - it would break up and stutter quite badly. Playing it through the Quick Time player is OK.

 

FWIW, that WIP movie isn't a conventional movie. It's really a series of separately rendered files concatenated (I like using that word) in QT Pro then resaved without being recompressed.

 

So what you have is JPEG frame, movie, JPEG frame, movie...

 

The result should be a completely legal QT file but maybe they don't have all the bugs worked out of that hip multimedia "container" thing.

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