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#51 Gerry

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 11:58 AM

Rodney, thanks for such a thoughtful reply. There will indeed be more variation in most of the repeating shots, from different "dance steps" for the geckos to some nice business in the repeating kitchen scene. Mouseman made some suggestions about additional business that helped me look beyond what I had sketched and think about how these scenes can be fleshed out and brought to life. If I was storyboarding this for someone else to follow I would have been a lot more meticulous in the animatic. Since it's for my own reference I'm content to have a logical sequence and some sort of color palette, then I can jump off in different directions on the fly. for one example, I decided over the weekend that gecko imagery needs to predominate. In the kitchen scene, the drawer pulls, cabinet handles, decorations on the crockery are all gecko images. then following Mouseman's suggestion, when the guy drops the snapshot, we will see it flutter to the tiled floor in closeup. The floor tiles have a nice gecko pattern, and as the photo hits the floor we see the girl in the photograph begin to move and dance in a sort of stop-motion technique. Just some eye candy but it will set up or prefigure the dance sequence and help flesh out that first scene. The long shots of the girl dancing won't be 3D, but a series of loose sketches cross-fading. I'm looking for a more "hand-drawn" look to both the texturing and in some of the animated details especially where the figures are very small, like the long shot of people crossing the bridge. Not cel animation but drawings that fade into one another at maybe five-frame intervals. Something that keeps coming to mind is the "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" sequence from "Yellow Submarine". I should probably go look at that again.
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#52 NancyGormezano

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 12:04 PM

Here are two test render stills, one of the street for the sax solo, and one for the opening shot in the guy's house. Both are still being worked on. The final animation will all be toon-rendered btw.


These renders look terrific!

#53 HomeSlice

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 02:54 PM

Love the street corner scene! The values in the interior scene are all very similar and make the image seem muddy. I have attached two images. The first one is your render converted straight to grayscale. The second one I adjusted the tonal range and added spot lights coming down from the top left and top right corners. KitchenStill_test000_original.jpg KitchenStill_test000_modified.jpg

#54 Gerry

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 06:19 AM

Thanks Holmes, that's a good analysis! EDIT: Here's a little tweak...

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  • KitchenStill_test000.jpg

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#55 Gerry

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 12:40 PM

Here's a test I mentioned in another thread about this water effect. I gave the ground plane some roughness and reflectivity, and then just moved it sideways through the shot. I may move it a little slower, but it works great for my purposes.

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#56 NancyGormezano

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 12:45 PM

Excellent! - love the colors, love the effect. I like it moving like a fast river. It works well.

#57 robcat2075

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 01:50 PM

Here's a test I mentioned in another thread about this water effect. I gave the ground plane some roughness and reflectivity, and then just moved it sideways through the shot. I may move it a little slower, but it works great for my purposes.


I like that!

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#58 itsjustme

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 08:09 PM

Looks great, Gerry!

#59 HomeSlice

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 11:32 AM

The bridge and water are begging for some kind of gradient. You could paint a decal of the sun shimmering on the water, and a reflection of the mountains too, (and still have the nice animated bump texture you have there) if you want that sort of thing. Also, it seems like the mountains should either be more defined or have more gradients, or maybe just be silhouetted? From the image, I'm not sure what direction you are wanting to take this. Do you want a watercolor look? A vector illustration look? A 2D Looney Toons look? Or something else? If I know where you want to take it, I can tailor my comments to that.

#60 Gerry

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 05:38 AM

the suggestion of a gradient for the water is a good one Holmes. As for what effect I'm ultimately going for, I'll know it when I see it! I want this whole thing to look as hand drawn/hand painted as possible but I don't have a straightforward formula for getting there. It's mostly a lot of experimentation.
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#61 NancyGormezano

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 06:20 AM

I want this whole thing to look as hand drawn/hand painted as possible

The last clip and the still you posted above definitely have that hand drawn/painted look. I was assuming you were going for "oil type painting"

The clip with water reminds me of Edvard Munch's "The Scream". Is that intentional?

#62 Gerry

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 06:29 AM

Wow, I'm amazed you picked up on that, Nancy! I did use the palette from "The Scream", and possibly the style of the clouds when I did the sketch for this. haven't thought about it for awhile though.
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#63 NancyGormezano

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 06:45 AM

Wow, I'm amazed you picked up on that, Nancy! I did use the palette from "The Scream", and possibly the style of the clouds when I did the sketch for this. haven't thought about it for awhile though.


It wasn't the palette, it was the composition! (bridge, sky, clouds, water). I was actually surprised to find out that the palette was similar when I just looked it up. In my mind's eye, the painting was much darker, drabber, somber than it really is. I'm guessing that I had always focused my attention on the "screamer" and not the background. Interesting.

#64 Gerry

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 07:08 AM

It wasn't the palette, it was the composition! (bridge, sky, clouds, water).

Oh well, yeah, there is that.
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#65 Gerry

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 06:38 AM

Here's a quick n dirty test of the wall dance...

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#66 largento

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 06:57 AM

Neat, Gerry!

#67 Gerry

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 07:23 AM

Thanks Mark. Here's a final-quality still of the scene. It looked good last night but it seems a little dark today.

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  • GeckoWall_still0.jpg

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#68 NancyGormezano

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 08:52 AM

Here's a final-quality still of the scene. It looked good last night but it seems a little dark today.


It does look a bit dark...but where are Los Geckos, perhaps that adds contrast? The clip is cute.

#69 John Bigboote

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 10:29 AM

Thanks Mark. Here's a final-quality still of the scene. It looked good last night but it seems a little dark today.


VERY COOL! Yes, your scene would benefit from a 'kukolora'... or a hot bright light that is shaded by something out of frame... like some tree branches.

#70 Gerry

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 02:42 PM

It is is night shot, and the geckos will have some ambience turned on so they'll be "lit" for a little relief. Problem was with the toon lines on, it overwhelmed their little shapes, so I didn't put them in the still. I'm hoping that with the zoom-out and animation, it won't be as obtrusive as it is on a still. Good suggestion on the light, John Bigboote. I had a thought to add the shadow of a roof edge along the top, but I like the branch shadow too.
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#71 Gerry

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 08:44 AM

Took a step back to see just where I am on this whole project and it turns out I have the elements in place to start building about 90% of the shots. What a surprise! Several of the elements still need detail work, decals, extra modeling on some sets, etc. but really it's closer than I thought. I enlisted the aid of a friend with some experience in feature animation to help me fine-tune this from this point on and his first suggestion was to make a sked of target dates for completing elements, shots, etc. I squirmed a little at this suggestion as this project doesn't have an actual deadline, but seeing how close I am I really should go and do that. I may even complete this by the fall instead of spending another year on it, as I've had in the back of my mind all along. Ironically the parts I still need to build are a few shots that will be 2D. I've been holding back on these as I really am feeling my way in the dark with 2D, but I have to do it eventually.
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#72 Gerry

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 03:08 PM

I've been working on the Sax-Playing Gecko and did this still. Still working on it, I think he needs a hat and a black vest.

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  • SaxsoloStreetlight0.jpg

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#73 NancyGormezano

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 03:20 PM

I like! I like! yes, a vest and hat would plus it even more.

#74 mouseman

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 12:53 PM

Wonderful mood! Very evocative! I agree with Nancy's suggestion. Lighting - maybe volumetric would make it look really neat! (Although that might not fit in with the look or might be computationally too slow.)
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#75 Gerry

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 01:51 PM

Here's a quick revise, hat and vest in, and the sax fixed. I've gotten him to where I want to use him more prominently in the video.

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  • SaxsoloStreetlightv0.jpg

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#76 Shelton

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 05:58 PM

Very Cool Gerry
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#77 mtpeak2

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 03:59 PM

I like the toon render, looks cool. And he looks alot better with the hat and vest too.
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#78 Gerry

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 04:12 PM

THank you guys! i did a really quickndirty render with the sax solo inserted and the gecko bouncing along. Sorely tempted to post it but it does need way more work. Fun, though!
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#79 itsjustme

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 04:25 PM

Great stuff, Gerry!

#80 Gerry

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 01:33 PM

It's a serious challenge getting the TSM quadruped rig to function in an upright posture, but not impossible. Lots of testing and false starts so far but I'm making progress. I've got some twisting in the ankles that I may just tweak in the pose, but I don't think it will be too noticeable unless I need some ankle closeups. For some reason. I think I also need to put some face bones in, for puffing out of cheeks, pursing of lips, and I guess he's going to need eyelids, none of which was in the original plan.
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#81 HomeSlice

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 01:44 PM

I think I also need to put some face bones in, for puffing out of cheeks, pursing of lips, and I guess he's going to need eyelids, none of which was in the original plan.

Beware of SCOPE CREEP!! It has led to the demise of many worthy projects. Don't let it happen to you.

#82 Gerry

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 03:31 AM

No, but I do need more imagery than is in the animatic, e.g. Mouseman's comment earlier that the scene in the kitchen needed something. it got me to thinking about doing something with the dropped snapshot, and that shot is coming out really nice.
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#83 Gerry

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 09:28 AM

I'm getting close on the animation for the sax solo. This is looking pretty good to me, but comments are welcome!

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#84 largento

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 09:35 AM

Digging it, Gerry!

#85 NancyGormezano

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 02:41 PM

cute!

#86 mouseman

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 05:57 AM

Very nice! Very good mood and movement! There are a lot of nice touches, such as the horn "bell" size throbbing and his foot tapping exactly on beat. It's very exciting seeing this progressing! A couple of things for consideration. I might be over-thinking it, and I don't play a wind or brass instrument, so take this all with a grain of salt. One suggestion is in between phrases (like the two near the beginning and one almost exactly half way through; I don't see frame numbers burned in so I can't refer to those), have him remove his mouth (slightly open) from the mouthpiece as if he's breathing, and then come back to it shortly before the next phrase starts. Also, at the end of the clip, he has a run of notes in a downward direction. A lot of times when there is a run like this, the musician is concentrating on getting all the notes just right. For a wind instrument, he is probably playing the game of managing how much breath he uses so he'll have enough while still getting the most volume out of it, cutting it as close as possible on a long phrase like near the end. For that last section, it might work to have him rocking his upper body slightly to the beat, starting out more upright and getting a little lower, as if he's straining slightly to use the remaining breath he has to still have a strong finish.
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#87 Gerry

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 06:11 AM

Mouseman, you read my mind! I've actually already added a couple of "taking a breath" moves after the first and second phrases, and the downward "bounce" for that last run of notes is not added yet, but you've described exactly what I had in mind. My main concern is that my character animation is often stiff and under-realized. The one plus here is that after a few viewings I'm getting better at seeing these shortcomings for myself.
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#88 robcat2075

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 08:00 AM

I'm getting close on the animation for the sax solo. This is looking pretty good to me, but comments are welcome!


My first observation is that the sax seems to be too rigidly locked to his head. There's a lot of opportunity for slight overlaps and lags in the motion to help give the sax a look of having weight.

When i did my BUS STOP segment I first thought i could just constrain Shaggy's hands to his head when he is playing his imaginary oboe. But it was obvious pretty quick that that looked too rigid whenever he moved his head around, even a little.

Instead, i constrained his hands to a bone sticking out of his mouth where the oboe would have been and worked at lagging that and overlapping that to the head motion. (a separate bone for each hand would have been better)

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#89 Gerry

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 10:13 AM

Robert, that's an excellent point. I do notice that his arms are too rigid (this has been relieved a little with the "breaths" I've added that I mentioned in my last reply) but I've been adjusting and readjusting the rig to get a bit more flexibility in the head/horn/hands relationships, and I'm figuring it out as I go. As I mentioned above somewhere, since the rig is the TSM quadruped rig put into an upright position with an action, the rig has some built in complications. I may try your fix and I may have some questions about it. Currently the horn is constrained to his head, and the hands are constrained to the horn. But I should play around with the lag settings. I know in theory how that works but I've never used it. I want to get this sequence looking good but in practice this shot won't be seen like this in the video. There will be a lot of quick cuts to it, and no closeups. So I'm cheating, but just a little!
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#90 robcat2075

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 10:56 AM

I may try your fix and I may have some questions about it. Currently the horn is constrained to his head, and the hands are constrained to the horn. But I should play around with the lag settings.


I would add a bone to the head that originates where his lips are gripping the mouthpiece and then generally points in the direction of the body of the horn and constrain the horn and hands to that.


I know in theory how that works but I've never used it.


For an orient-like constraint to make use of "lag" in this situation the bone will need to NOT be a child of the head but translate-to constrained to it instead. I haven't used automatic lag for this purpose but it might be a less labor-intensive way of loosening up the structure .

I want to get this sequence looking good but in practice this shot won't be seen like this in the video. There will be a lot of quick cuts to it, and no closeups. So I'm cheating, but just a little!


I'd recommend getting your cuts done first before you polish the animation.

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#91 Gerry

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 01:43 PM

Here's a new version slightly finessed with a few of the above suggestions.

Attached Files


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#92 mouseman

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 04:02 PM

Looking really good. The only thing that stands out to me right now is that he seems to be a little off on center of gravity. He's leaning forward quite a bit during most of the animation and it's not clear how he's holding himself up. Other than that, you're getting beyond the place where I'm able to offer ideas for things to tweak, but Robcat has some interesting points.
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#93 robcat2075

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 08:15 AM

For me, most revealing lecture they showed us at AnimationMentor was the one on "Spine reversals". This is probably the main technique for keeping characters from looking stiff.

Build key poses that change the shape of the spine.

they have a brief description of the concept here

http://www.animation...ature_geek.html

He's using a broad motion of a heavy lift there. But it's very effective even on slight movements. A slight reversal of the spine curvature (from the view of the camera) makes everything change position in relation to everything else and makes it not look like a rigid shell. There has to be a reason for the change to happen, there has to be some movement that "needs" it, otherwise it looks like wandering body motion.

This was my first attempt at putting that into practice to loosen up the body where there is almost no real "action". I tended to use them in pairs where one is the anticipation for the next one.

http://www.brilliant...reright228s.mov

Spine reversals on frames:

019
100
111
252
264

there's also a stretch from 130-180 where I'm only barely changing the spine shape. That bothers me now. Another spine reversal probably isn't called for but some better overlap between the head/torso/hips would have kept the spine more flexible looking.

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#94 Gerry

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 12:36 PM

thanks robert! I'm going to start burning frame No's into the renders for starters, should've been doing that already. The reversals are a big help, the gecko's spine is still wandering at some points and I think this will help me with that.
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#95 Gerry

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 12:45 PM

One of the things I've been figuring out is that when I watch a live sax player (or video) the upper body, head, arms and horn are locked into a pretty rigid "frame" (as we call it in ballroom dancing) and there is little or no bobbing, bouncing or other expressive movement, although we imagine there is. But of course what we're doing is called "animation" for a reason! So watching actual horn players is only so much help, then imagination, body weight, animation principles and dynamics come into play and are all needed for a believable performance.
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#96 robcat2075

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 01:25 PM

This is why motion capture is usually unsatisfying. Most real life overlap is so subtle you can't see it without a calipers.



But try this where he's "playing" for the camera. There's a fair amount going on:





It's impossible to move his body and maintain a perfect placement of a horn that probably weighs several pounds. There is overlap there.

(Also note that they're swinging the camera quite a bit to make him look even more dynamic.)


"real" sax players don't actually need to dance for a camera so they can concentrate staying still and holding the sax just right.

But video sax players gotta show that music coming out. there's gotta be some visual performance,

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#97 Gerry

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 11:46 AM

I guess what he's playing is a "tenor sax" there, straight like a clarinet? There's a big difference in how they're played, compared to the "S-shape" of a bigger sax. Clarinet players can and do bounce to the music, and that's a key difference and I *think* what led me to expect the same sort of physicality with a saxophone performance.
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#98 robcat2075

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 12:48 PM

That's a soprano sax, actually. :) Bb i think.

If that small instrument is heavy enough that he can't hold it exactly 100% rigidly in the same exact space in front of his head as he moves around, a larger heavier instrument will have even more overlap.

Standing motionless as possible is a goal for a real player because he's visibly alive in other ways and the horn only fits in the mouth a certain way.

But for the animated player it's dead because he's not alive in other ways and actually can be absolutely motionless, something the real player can never do.

I'll paraphrase something Tex Henson told me: Don't make a drawing of someone playing the sax. Make a drawing about someone playing the sax!

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#99 Gerry

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 01:05 PM

I'll paraphrase something Tex Henson told me: Don't make a drawing of someone playing the sax. Make a drawing about someone playing the sax!

That's it exactly! I'm taping that to my forehead.
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#100 robcat2075

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 06:08 AM

Here's a guy on the Daily Show playing a more conventional sax and getting a fair amount of movement in.

At about 4:22:

http://www.thedailys...?xrs=share_copy

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