margaux says

I wrote a whole post about time, but there are other things that I think I learnt while working on this project.

Margaux was incredibly helpful, she is demanding but fair. I met her just after I finished animating and I really regret not having scheduled a previous meeting while animating. She gave me really good criticism and advice. Initially, it was a bit overwhelming for me, but I agree with (almost) everything that she said. Before talking to her I felt a lot of stuff was wrong with the animation but couldn’t say why. It was really useful getting all her feedback. Next time I’ll be able to focus on the things she said:

  • draw character sheets for all your characters. Have a reference in the screen when animating.
  • when working on the style of a film, always pick 3 different moments to draw style frames (and make them look consistent).
  • I have animated in a very “stiff” way, there is a lot of stop-and-start in my film. Next time I need to remember to combine actions when animating instead of a very sequential animation.
  • keep in touch more frequently!!

After our meet up I started stressing about time and I made a really bad job following up with her. I was supposed to have sent her my style frames but I got so nervous to fail to get her approval (I’d try to redo them and time was precious) that I just took command of the situation and pushed forward. It also helps that Margaux has been out of the country ever since we met – and I don’t really want to disturb either..

Anyway, I need to stop being so insecure about my work when showing it to Margaux (or anyone else, actually). I know I’m not half as good as she is and that’s fine – I am learning and failing is part of it – and also, it’s a privilege to have a mentor I really look up to and want to learn from.

about time

Time management was a struggle. I do know I finished a bit before so I should probably consider myself happy with my time management. However, I never really timed how long it took me to animate. Up until the colouring stage, I had never set up daily objectives. I only found out in the late, late stages of the project that having a daily objective massively helped me out – I would work until I finished what I had to do for that day, which gave me a more accurate view on the progress of my work.

 my production sheet midway the project

Timing how long I took to colour a frame (in each shot the times varied, so I did it for all of them) allowed me to have a clearer idea of how long it’d take me to finish each scene – making it consequently easier to schedule my days with manageable/realistic targets.

Unfortunately, because I only discovered almost at the end of the project that timing how long I took per frame works really well for me, I had to force myself to have bigger days of work (10 to 12 hours instead of 8). This was hard and it literally broke my back – I stopped going to yoga (because time) and my posture drawing in the cintiq is really bad. I am still recovering, ugh

So here’s the conclusion: next time I’ll have to figure out a better workflow – which will probably most definitely include timing my average per frame in each shot of the project. I’m just struggling on how to do that. When it comes to the production stage I think animating is the first step, and colouring the second. So it’s hard to predict animation and colouring times from the beginning if I don’t spend the first few weeks of production animating and colouring a second of each shot – I wonder if that’s how it’s supposed to be done?

the style issue

One of the things I struggled the most on this last project for The Children’s Society was style.

In fact, I think I’ve been troubled with style decisions ever since I began this master: finding a drawing style, a colouring style… It’s been a struggle and this project was no different.

Here’s a visual sum up of how I got to the final result:

and here’s the final result: