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Animation Step 7: Finishing & Refining

June 16, 2007

Once you reaching the finishing stage of animation, there are some details you must attend to before you’re done.  Depending on the level of secondary action and follow-through, you may want to seek an approval of the animation before you tackle the finish.

Refine the Hook-ups
Hook ups are a constant problem in any production.  Before you hand off any shot or portion of a sequence, take the time to see it in context of the other shots.  Make sure the action and posing matches between the shots.  Sometimes this is difficult to gauge, but more often it is very easy judgment call.  When we were doing Meteor & the Mighty Monster Trucks, two things dominated the retakes:  Weight and hook-ups.

Resolve the unresolved actions of follow-though & secondary action
You may have drapery, long hair, jewelry or the like  moving around.  They do not  fit convieniently within the keys and breakdowns and require their own attention.  They are very important in conveying weigh, motion, force and impact.  Quite often in 3D they will not be handled satisfactorily by the software dynamics.

Add independent secondary action
Some secondary action is completely independent of the ‘formal’ animation.  Maybe there is a wind blowing which affects a cape, scarf or loose shirt. There might be flies circling the head of a character as there was in ‘Thief and the Cobbler.’  This is secondary action that you should save until the last moment in your process.

Possible Technical Preparations
Sometimes you will have some element in your scene that will require you to prepare some guideline, path or notation so that another artist, maybe in FX, can correctly follow up.  It’s best to create this while the scene is still fresh, rather than waiting for someone to come see you about it.

Conclusion
This concludes this feeble foray into animation methodology.  As with all methods, they are only guidelines that you should feel free to break and juggle at any time.  The key is that you understand the methodology, and when you break it you will do it for a specific purpose, for a unique scene or in favor of your own temperment.

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