As noted in my previous post, this week I’m in the hot seat over on the Cg-Char forum’s Ask The Pro. Here are some really good questions asked of me by forum member Virgil Mihailescu- along with my answers. I felt they’d make a really good blog post, so here they are.
Swing on by Cg-Char for more if you like.
What makes a great pose? It’s vibrant, alive, it feels like it’s moving even when it’s by itself, it has great kinetic energy, even if the character isn’t moving much in the scene. It communicates immediately, clearly, precisely and with such a sense of life. A great pose just jumps out at you. It breathes just in how it feels. Everything feels right, nothing feels forced or awkward.
How much time do you spend on your poses? As much as I need. If it takes me more than an hour to get something right, then I take that time. I’ve spent hours on a single pose before. And then the next day I’ll come back and tweak and improve and plus it for another hour. And why not? If I find it then it’s done, I’ll never have to touch it again. So why not take the time? And sometimes the pose just jumps out and it’s there in 5 minutes. I take as long as I need until the things that I describe above about great poses apply to what I have just made on screen.
How much detail is in your thumbnails? Not much. Just the basics, really. Body, head angle, eyes, basic facial expression, maybe fingers now and then. But my thumbs are literally fleshed out stick figures. I save the detail work for the Cg puppet, since that’s where the detail will eventually be rendered for production. In thumbnail stage it’s about capturing the larger strokes and ideas.
What parts do you spend more time on? I spend a lot of time working facial expressions and hand positions that sell the emotion. That and head angles. Again, if I find it and communicate it I am able to move on and have great confidence with the thing. Another thing I like to work on a lot is the internal weight of a character- the sense that their body parts have meat and muscle and substance- that things are settled and lying where they like to lie down, that a character feels comfortable in their own skin when they move, stand, talk, gesture. It’s hard to describe, but it’s something I take a lot of time trying to capture.
What’s the hardest for you to nail down? All of it. Heh. I tend to spend a lot time trying to get the face to feel right. So much emotion can be expressed so powerfully there that it’s super important for me to nail that and communicate the thought immediately and clearly- but without going cliche’.