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Bruce Del Porte
A DJ from our local NPR radio affiliate asked me to do a cartoon for his page on the station web site. He does a weekly punk rock show on Friday nights called "Suddenly the Sidewalk". He wanted something surreal. Anyway, I have made some progress on the first two of three scenes and thought I get some critique if I have made any egregious animation errors. Let me know what you think.

Click to view attachment



Thanx in advance

Bruce
John Bigboote
Freeky-Deeky! I like it!

NancyGormezano
I am unable to view - I have an old player of QT (7.1.6 - for a variety of reasons) - and somehow your movie causes the QT player on xp pro to consume 100% of my cpu usage, I have to kill the process. I can normally play large QT files - eg some of mine are 300 mbytes - so is there something peculiar about your file?
Bruce Del Porte
Hmmm,
It is 9mb using sorenson 3 compressed on a XP Pro machine. I have a newer version of QT 7.5.5, I'm not sure what to fix. What codec usually works?

Maybe download it and drop it into a QT window rather than using a browser window, I'm at a loss????
NancyGormezano
QUOTE(Bruce Del Porte @ Apr 15 2011, 01:49 PM) *
Hmmm,
It is 9mb using sorenson 3 compressed on a XP Pro machine. I have a newer version of QT 7.5.5, I'm not sure what to fix. What codec usually works?

Maybe download it and drop it into a QT window rather than using a browser window, I'm at a loss????


H264, however I do seem to have the sorenson 3 codec. There is some setting that you are using in the newer player (to compress) that, I suspect is causing an overrun of sorts in the older player. I do normally download QT movs from forum first before trying to play, rather than using browser window, especially with firefox. I don't know what to say either. Except at some point I should probably upgrade my QT player (will probably mean I have to buy QT pro again, and will probably cause problems in other programs)
Bruce Del Porte
Click to view attachment

Here it is in H264

I don't think you have to pay again as long as you have a 7.X.X license. They are still in the 7s
NancyGormezano
Yes I could view it, now. The one thing that stands out to me (aside from awful sound quality), is that the dude's shadow gets lost after he turns the corner - like it continues on without him. I wonder if the aspect ratio will work on their page? It's surreal alright.

(I also wonder if the aspect ratio was the problem with the sorenson 3 compression as well with 7.1.6)
robcat2075
Looks Freaky!

The guy in gray walking toward the cam...

-he starts going back up immediately upon his heel hitting the ground. too soon. His mass will keep going down for a few more frames before he heads up again. It's slight but it's gotta happen.

-his feet are pointed straight ahead. Almost everyone points toes out especially casual people.



Devil:
-same walk issues although we don't have as much time to catch it.

- I tend to slap the foot down after the heel contact pretty fast , but for the devil's slow walk here it may be too fast .

-is his left thumb supposed to look like a penis around 03:09? If it is, you might keep the right hand farther back so the silhouette is clearer. If it's not supposed to look like a penis... it looks like a penis.

-if you did his right hand in FK instead of IK when he's doing the pointing stuff that would get you more natural motion in relation to his torso and easier to get the arcs right.

-after he turns to his right we sort of lose his right hand action against his red body in back.


Guy in Gray second shot...

-I presume the shadow walking off without him is intentional... perhaps if the camera angle was lower we could see more of the shadow and it would catch our attention better?

-the cigarette looks magnetically drawn out of his hand rather than being tossed away. that's going to need to be a bigger gesture for us to get what he's doing; I wasn't sure what it was until I watched it several times.

-When he walks, his toes look more pointed out, that looks better.

- same issue with rebounding back up too soon after the heel contact



I was able to play first file but it didn't' scrub well, I'm not sure why.
Rodney
I think you're off to a good start.
Please consider the following is only opinion based on a first viewing.
I've tweaked my wording after viewing a few more times to confirm the first experience.

I'll ask a few questions in order to help you better understand what I am seeing.
The big question that drives all of these is this:

Where do you want the focus throughout the sequence?
- I start to see the Walker but before I can really make sense of what I'm seeing I'm distracted by the psychedelic lights.
- Before I can figure out what is going on with the lights the Red Guy enters front stage.
- Before I can really figure out what is going on with him the camera cuts to the building (nice following from the pointing finger to the correct direction though.. that works really well!)

While there should be other things going on all the time to benefits subsequent viewings what is going on should first and foremost be Secondary Actions. Anything that doesn't support the primary focus/primary action can and likely should be cut out of the sequence. The goal I think is to get the Walker into that room and that is what we need to see. Everything else is secondary, tertiary, etc. There is room for refinement here.

Is there a theme or story here?
I'd dearly love to know what theme you are striving for here as that would would help focus my critique. It's not readily apparent in the animation and so I'm seeking clarity. If you could change only one thing I would suggest it be to have the Red Guy enter the scene a little later.
That would give the viewer a little more time to see the Walker. Rather practically, he seems to be the focus of the piece and I'd really like to see more of him.

What is the Red Guy made of?
Perhaps he could fade in as he enters from the left and fade out as he exits the scene?
Where does Red Guy go when the camera cuts to the Walker again? (We are left wondering. I suppose he hangs out there as it's his sidewalk)
There is an opportunity for a hook up after you cut to the guy going into the building. If the camera angle will allow perhaps you could have the camera have a slightly Over the Shoulder (OTS) shot on the Red Guy (screen left) and then have him fade from the scene as the Walker walks into the building. The Red Guy pointing to the building it isn't quite subtle enough in my estimation.
Message the fade in/fade out would send: Mission accomplished!

Personally I think you could drop the Red Guy altogether and the animation would still work well but I understand his importance in the scheme of things.
My thought here is to find a way to blend the Red Guy into the scene in such a way as to punch up the impact of his appearance and yet not detract from the focus of the sequence. Perhaps he's an established mascot so you don't have that option but I figure likely is not (at least not yet). In this sense I think you could elevate his appeal and he very well could be. Perhaps exaggeration would work best. Smaller? Cuter? More Compelling? More Appealing?
Bottom Line: When dealing with the Devil it's important to understand (and in your case demonstrate) how he deals in subtleties.

In trying to refine my response I went back and read your post again and see you said this:
QUOTE
some critique if I have made any egregious animation errors.


I do recall the walk up the sidewalk worked well and the flicking of the cigarette was nice.
I confess that I was a little too distracted by the story/theme to actually 'see' the animation. That in and of itself might be a good thing.
Story first eh! biggrin.gif

(Robert's crit was spot on and captured some more technical elements reside at a finer detailed level than I'm critiquing)
Rodney
I was rereading Robert's crit to see how that matched with my experience and I see the only place where my thoughts don't match with his is in the cigarette flipping. There is no doubt Robert is right here but I wouldn't sweat that for several reasons:

- It's too subtle a refinement when you've got bigger whales to kill.
- Flicking cigarettes isn't particularly PC any more (definitely not in the Colorado I remember) so it might be okay if people miss that. It could be an insider's experience for those who repeatedly view the animation.

You do have some nice layering in of effects that you don't see on first view; the smoke for instance.
I was aware that it was there on first viewing but not aware of how much you'd put in there.
That the character is sensed as alive and breathing (via the puff of smoke) is a nice touch.

You've obviously put a lot of work into the sequence. smile.gif
Bruce Del Porte
Thanks everyone for your input, some very good suggestions.

Answers to questions:

Yes the shadow continuing on was a gag but difficult to get to read because of the aspect ratio (400x647) dictated by the web master. I have shadow passes both ways, no biggie.

There is no real story as a narrative, mostly symbolism The artists I had in mind were S. Dali and R. Crumb. Timothy (Mothy his DJ name) lives with a certain aura of punk rocker paranoia, very leery of the eyes of even the minimal fame being a local DJ gives him. The balloons in the sky are of course eye pupils. Disaster seems to follow Tim, the A-bomb blast, and his inner demons seem to drive his direction. The first scene are really a depiction of him cursing among his influences, shoulders shrugged, trying to avoid it all. It is all in his mind! The ZZ Top beard is a new look so I had started trying to create the R. Crumb-Mr. Natural-Truckin walk. I couldn't find anywhere where Crumb had drawn all the poses of the walk and I couldn't really get it to work. The first couple of steps of the second scene were the best I could get it. Looking head on, it looked like a fish out of water flopping about. The black clothes, the Chuck Taylors, and political incorrectness of the cigarettes (and flick) are all part of the punk rock aura of rejection of whatever. Tim struggles with life but seems to have found his niche working for this radio station. In the final scene he will introduce himself and the show. His friends who constitute half his radio audience will get it, and what the rest of us think is irrelevant to him.

A lot of good suggestions here to plus up the animation, thank you all.

Some Props The Mothy model was built around Jim Talbot's Sir Nigel.
The Imp model was by Andy Gibbons
robcat2075
Here's a guy who tried a Keep on Truckin' walk

http://youtu.be/PNYpLE20P3Y


but it's still not quite like the original...

Click to view attachment


Bruce Del Porte
Too many of the poses are too off balance. Maybe with a spagetti legged rig?

Click to view attachment

This is far as I went before I went back to a regular walk.
robcat2075
In 3D I think you'd have to suggest it rather than duplicate it.

But he's still rebounding the moment his heel hits. If he slunk on thru before his back foot came off the ground maybe it could be done.

Remember the back foot is what has to push him forward enough for him to coast up and over the leg in front. If the back foot is already sliding forward on the frame after the front heel hits, it hasn't done much pushing.
Bruce Del Porte
Thanks everyone, many of the crits helped plus things up.

Click to view attachment

I'll post a link once the final piece is posted.

Bruce
Bruce Del Porte
I started blocking out the third scene and tried Rodney's suggestion on an alternate entrance for the Imp.

Click to view attachment

Bruce
Gerry
I like the new "entrance" for the imp but it seems to happen a bit abruptly. Maybe you could do it more gradually? Only other comment is, in the last scene can you have the DJ turn his head and look straight out at the viewer when he says "suddenly the sidewalk show"? I think it would give it a little "snap" there at the end. Otherwise nice, and much improved!
NancyGormezano
I would have to ditto Gerry's comments. And add, maybe when you do bring in the devil, you can overshoot the size of him some & then scale back down as well (with some repeated bouncing)

Never imagined that Sir Nigel was a hippy in his youth. Made me laugh.
Bruce Del Porte
A lot of great crits, thank you everyone. I rearranged it a little to edit out some dragging moments. I'm homing in on declaring victory so this version is close to what the final piece will look like. Any last thoughts?

Sir Nigel, like a lot of us, have a lot interesting memories of the sixties.

Click to view attachment
mouseman
QUOTE(Bruce Del Porte @ May 6 2011, 10:40 AM) *
A lot of great crits, thank you everyone. I rearranged it a little to edit out some dragging moments. I'm homing in on declaring victory so this version is close to what the final piece will look like. Any last thoughts?

Sir Nigel, like a lot of us, have a lot interesting memories of the sixties.


Yes, of course, it's Sir Nigel but young! (Perhaps before his elevation to the knighthood?)

Looking really good! The timing is really good now. Those efforts made a worthwhile difference.

There only two very small suggestions that would hopefully only take 5 minutes:

1. Nigel's upper body and head are completely still/stiff from about frame 525 until frame 613. Maybe some kind of moving hold, or a little back-and-forth movement?
2. Also, when he leans into the pose around frame 634, it might be better if he leaned away from the camera a little bit, as if he were talking to the other side of the microphone and looking roughly in the direction of the camera. The head turn shortly after that turn is also a little mechanical is its steady rate.
Bruce Del Porte
Thanks, good call.

I'm going to have to compress this in Flash. Are there any pointers for getting good quality Flash for streaming?
Rodney
I like your solution to the appearance/disappearance of the Imp Bruce.
That adds some nice variety and interest.

The only thing I'd do now (if I was WIP'n your project) would be to run the whole thing through a post production filter or two to blend everything together.
One example of the sort that I am talking about is Film Grain to give everything a slightly degraded texture so everything looks like it was 'filmed' at the same time on location.
Bruce Del Porte
QUOTE
The only thing I'd do now (if I was WIP'n your project) would be to run the whole thing through a post production filter or two to blend everything together.
One example of the sort that I am talking about is Film Grain to give everything a slightly degraded texture so everything looks like it was 'filmed' at the same time on location.


An interesting idea, I've accumulated a bunch of them over various versions of Vegas, but never really played them. The grain adding filter just seemed to add noise to an already noisy piece. Going all the way produced a very old film look.

Click to view attachment

Using a toon type filter gave a painted cartoon look

Click to view attachment

I tried a warming filter to give it all more of a "Golden Hour" glow that I think does soften it a bit.

Click to view attachment

I'll probably have to play with it some more before I'm convinced it is an improvement.
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