Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Jamaal Bradley "Shot Walkthrough " review

I just finished watching the new webinar "Shot Walkthrough" by Jamaal Bradley and I'm very happy about it.
I think the whole video is very useful because you actually see how Jamaal works, all his tricks , how he solves problem , how he faces all the different stages of the animation process and it is absolutely great.
He is so talented that everything looks so natural!

Maybe, just to make a personal critique, in the overall editing he could had spent more time on the planning and  less on actual Maya work. It's a great thing to see him working on the software but there are long pieces of video where you see the same thing done several times.
By the way, the product is totally worth and I suggest everyone to take it!

In this shot review I'm going to show briefly what the webinar is about.
In this 3 parts webinar he shows how to animate a full body acting shot from planning to polish and he talks about:

- SHOT LAUNCH : this is where you have to know how to approach your shot. Spend as much time as you can with the director and make intelligent question so that you have clear ideas about what you're going to animate.
You have to set yourself in the good path BEFORE starting or you're not going to meet the director's and supervisor's ideas and probably you'll have to rework the shot.

- ANALYZING THE DIALOGUE: Break the line (the dialogue) down and try to find the subtext. You have to bring the audience into your character's head in order to have believable performances.
Analize the pauses. So many times pauses are much more important than spoken words. Consider the pauses in a dialogue as the "thinking beat".
Pauses are great chances to show that the characters has a soul and he is actually thinking.

- THUMBNAILS: Draw loose thumbnails. You don't need to draw masterpieces. Try to catch the essence of each pose, the gesture.

- RFERENCES: Shoot as many reference as you can. Take the best from each take, don't look only at one.
By doing this you'll be able to build your performace with all the textures and the subtleties that will make your shot great.

- BLOCKING: In this stage you have to create the performance you're going to sell to the director so everything MUST be clear and there should be no doubts about what's happening.
Here you see Jamaal working all the contacts parts (hands, feet) and create a very detailed blocking (it's a pleasure for your eyes :D )

- BLOCKING TO SPLINE: He works on small chuncks of the animation in order to nor overwhelm his mind. He makes several passes on splining work where he adds texture to the performance, subtleties, smooth out all the movements.
In the final spline passes he adds more and more finessing details on fingers, head and check all the curves.

- DIALOGUE PASS: I loved this part because you can see how much time he spends on sculpting the mouth's shapes. It's incredible how he masters the shaping of every mouth pose, how he gives the sense of weight and skin shifts in the face!!

As I said, this is just a short review for everyone who wants to know what the webinar is all about. I repeat, in the webinar there are tons and tons of great tips and you're going to learn a lot with it.
I hope this was useful!!

Keep animating!

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