AM Bandito short film compositing technique breakdown

…but how fast is it?

I’ve used a rough and ready compositing technique for all of my films, and thought I’d share it was everyone. It’s proven quick, reliable, easy to render and as an example I was able to completely render and composite my Bandito film in 5 days.

Its important to note, that prior to this step, I never render any of my animation. I always stay in playblast, until I am COMPLETELY done. Even then, sometimes I’ll leave it as playblast. However, for my short films, its work the time and effort to do this. Hope the video is enlightening.

Technical Stills:

I’ve also attached pictures from my first Sheridan film so you can see raw layers from the comp there as well.

Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film
Sheridan Short Film

Techniques for breaking down animation work.

I’ve been learning a huge amount at ILM, and though I can’t talk about any of the specifics, I can talk about things I’ve been doing to be as successful as I can on the shots I’m given.

Here’s a quick rundown of things that have been helping me!

Mini deadlines:

Time! Wow, there’s a lot of it compared to game animation. So much so that I’ve found it reallly useful to break up my day into specific times and mini deadlines. When I get in early in the morning, I’ll write a goal for the day in my notebook. Then, I’ll breakdown that goal into time specific tasks. So, I would specify ’10:30, be finished my hand poses’ for example.

This is a great way to see if you start going off track and are spending time in right spot. Of course at the end of the day, it’s just a loose goal, but having something specific to work to can help you get lot done.

Isolate Selected, and back again:

Choosing a 45 frames chunk, work on the character as a whole, and then isolate different different body parts. Switch back to the whole character to make sure the part relates to the rest of the body. Sometimes successful parts of the animation can mask the unsucessful, but isolating different parts can help you identify that.

Incorporate changes, and make them your own:

This is mainly an attitude thing. Ever get some difficult critique? Sometimes we can get caught in a cycle of viewing the crit as negative, and foreign, and your shot starts to look like Frankenstein.

What’s helped me the most is taking that crit and turning it into your favorite part of shot. It keeps you thinking positively and often more creatively about how to incorporate someone else’s thoughts, but maintaining the ownership and pride in the animation.

Hotkeys

Do something twice? Throw it as a button on your shelf.

Do something three times? Build a hotkey for it. Do one a day (rather than a bunch at once – that can be overwhelming) and it’ll speed up your work immensely. Hotkey’s can trigger Maya’s base functions, but also scripts, or shelf commands. Some very complicated work can be distilled down to a hotkey and it’ll let you focus on the animation part of things!