Friday, August 28, 2009

Jeff Gabbor - Animation workflow

Jeff Gabbor, amazing animator at Blue sky whose work has been nominated at Annecy, has posted recently a new video of his workflow in Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. I'm not sure whether video compression plays a part on this but its a shame that the final rendered version is so dark...I feel that lots of animation subtleties are missed. Such an amazing job, really inspiring stuff...

I'm also posting his old "Horton hears a who" workflow vid, which I luckily found on Youtube as well:

Is interesting how standards are soo different depending on the quality expected for the demanded product. Currently my daily production as an animator at work is variable, ranging from 1 or 2 seconds a day, up to 30 seconds a week. The media I work for is nowhere near feature film level, yet some skill is required to train yourself in compromising things to efficiency and speed.

However, I think if I was given one month to tackle a complex shot, I would never be able to come up with something so good as this...(not yet anyway hehe :P). Combination of creativity and discipline is definetely needed. Looking at Jeff's reel one would probably see the result of "day 1" as a product of not much work, but I believe there is just so much thought going on from the start to sort things out: composition and staging, pace, music and sound flow with length of shot, camera movement, vision consistency...and of course lets not forget about revisions.

Keith Lango posted an entry on the 11 second club forums saying that "chasing notes is probably 1/3 the time spent on animation in films". That's so true. There is always the revision stage with the director/client, and there is also the peers feedback you gotta count on.

Animator Adam Green also posted in the same topic and worked out the maths...75 frames a week!! I personally don't look at it from this point of view but rather consider it as a in a pice of artwork, you probably block out the rough shapes then start working the detail. But whichever standpoint you take to analyse this shot, one thing seems clear: its a very long (300 frames) and complex shot, and heavily relying on character animation rather than direction and cinematography. Is a big pressure considering the audience has to be entertained all that time, and audiences are used to fast pace nowadays (ie. Transformers...though a bit too fast in my opinion).

Really inspiring stuff, makes me realise I got a hell of a lot to learn and should never give up...time to animate!!

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