Wherein there is much rambling and self-reproach.
I believe it might have been mentioned, just once or twice perhaps, that I …really don’t enjoy group work. Or really, it’s not so much group work, but more the fact that I infinitely prefer actually working on things than wrangling other people. I’m here to learn animation, not management principles.
That said, at least I had the good fortune to end up with a really good group.
So, in the interests of knocking of a few LOs with this post, and minimising the amount of time I spend bitching…
ANM220.LO12: Evaluate the effectiveness of production processes undertaken
At the beginning? We worked pretty effectively. We had a good mix of 2D and 3D people, and we spread out the initial work pretty evenly. I did end up holding up the animation process a bit in not getting out the character models as fast as I could have, which wasn’t ideal.
The real bottleneck was when it came to the actual animation stage where 95% of the animation was done by Toby and – I think? I am a terrible person and am not sure of his name! – Kynan. They ended having to do a lot of work, while the rest of us twiddled our fingers. The decision to work with rigged characters in After Effects was made pretty early on, and while it was great in terms of cutting down on the amount of time needed to animate (and resulted in a pretty great looking final product) it did mean that those of us who had never touched that kind of thing (or really heard of the DUIK system) had too steep a learning curve to really be of any use.
I’m just happy I got to chuck in some animation of my own – I’m pretty damn proud of that flip, even if you only see it for two seconds.
So, in terms of being really efficient? We could have been a lot better in how we handled it – I could have got my characters out a lot faster which would have helped, but it also would have been helpful to have all spent some time practicing in after effects to get that character working so that everyone could have pitched in in the animation component.
In terms of getting out a reasonable product in the end? I think we did a pretty good job there.
ANM220.LO14: Describe efficient workflows for handling asset data across various production stages, from concept to completion.
Some examples of our Google Drive folders. It was organised superbly (Thanks Toby!) which cut down massively on everyone’s favourite game of ‘where the hell did I upload that vital thing?’
Some of the actual assets could maybe have followed a better naming convention, especially in the concept art department (my bad!) but at least I’ve kicked the habit of uploading files named untitled 86.psd, this one is good.psd and totally done this time.psd.
(I haven’t quite kicked the habit of naming my own files that, but hey, baby steps right?)
As mentioned in the previous blog post, I also religiously stuck to a naming convention within the layer files of my own assets in the hope that it would make it way easier for Toby and Kynan to manage when they were rigging and animation.
The only thing that would be better, and this is a Google Drive thing and not a team thing, is that I really look forward to the day that Google has a Dropbox esque syncing feature, just to help with being sure that the version everyone’s working from in the folder is the most recent version of the file.
ANM220.LO15: Produce work on time and within scope by engaging appropriate project management methodologies
Heh. Yeaah, I guess you could say we worked in a very…loose Agile kind of methodology? Very loose. Almost non-existent loose.
I totally get why project management methodologies are important – and how you could never get anything done without them while working with a huge project and team, but when it’s a tiny project with a team of six or seven people…you tend to end up spending more time playing at holding a meeting than you do getting work done. We still had brief check-ins when we met up in Wednesday’s class, and worked out what we did the previous week and what needed to be done next, and Slack filled in the gaps between face to face days, but it seemed to us all pretty silly to actually hold a proper meeting.
I did do up a quick and dirty time sheet that I think worked about as well as the studio hours time sheet did – we all mostly filled in our hours at the end and hoped for the best.
ANM220.LO18: Interpret a brief and deliver a product to a client’s specification
Hm. In some ways I think we were really successful, and in other ways … not so much? I guess it comes down to how you interpreted the brief. We definitely ticked off the part that said to merge the assigned film and style together – I’m still pretty happy with my mannequin knock offs of Kevin Dart’s style – and the end product looked amazing for a five week project. I even think we did a really good job at wrestling it into a promo for a tv show vs a remake of the movie title sequence, which I was worried about.
(I also appreciate that we eventually managed to convince the Studio 1s that no, we definitely aren’t doing the 2005 remake, and NO you cannot put Jackie Chan in anywhere)
The only thing that I wish we could have done better – and I think it comes from the limited amount of time that we had to work on it, plus we gave the Studio 1s more input into the actual concept then maybe was ideal, is that we really didn’t do anything interesting with the 80 Days concept. We did originally come up with some interesting ideas – we had talked about taking it into the future, and working on a ‘Around the Galaxy in 80 Days’ that I would have loved to work on, but we very quickly decided to play it safe and keep the characters, settings and time period the same. I totally get why we did it – we didn’t have nearly enough time to work on that concept before we presented to the S1s Maybe next time.
In the end, I’m super happy with our finished product – like I said, I’m probably far too pleased with how good my assets looked in the end (hey, usually I’m too busy cringing at how bad my work is, let me have this one!) but I do wish I’d done some things differently. I definitely need to be more assertive – some of the things that I wanted to happen didn’t because I didn’t speak up, or put my foot down, which meant I didn’t really get as invested in the project as I probably should have been. That’s something I need to get a handle on before next tri – I need to make these people my minions dammit!