Short film: Looking for feedback

I am looking for feedback on my short film entitled Baby Magician’s First Lesson.

If you wish to give feedback, please read the information below the video. Thank you.

  1. This is a work in progress, far from the finished product. It’s an Open GL render, so certain things will appear strange, such as the doll’s (Dolly’s) gray-colored hair (it’s actually red) and the empties associated with the proxies in the scene. I set a deadline and got as far as I could with this, knowing I needed to draw the line or I’d never put it out for feedback.

  2. The blocking stage has been completed and, once I’ve gotten some feedback, I’ll be ready to move on to the Splining and Polishing stages.

  3. As a Blocking pass, this represents the major poses of the story and the planned camera angles.

  4. Some of the sound effects and voice acting have been included, but not all. More will be added later. The soundtrack is also a work in progress.

  5. Each frame is marked with a Frame number (lower left) and a Shot number (upper left). There are multiple shots and the frame numbers are relative to the shot numbers, e.g., Shot 1-Frame 100. Please bear this in mind and include both the shot number and the frame number in your comments when pertinent.

What I’m looking for:

  1. I’m looking for suggestions for improvement, but please also tell me what works and what you like about the film. This will help me as much as any suggestions for improvement that you might have. Please ask if you are uncertain about anything.

  2. Specifically, I’m interested in your response to: A) the major poses, B) facial expressions, C) camera angles, D) timing of actions and shots, E) silhouettes, and F) overall reaction to the story.

  1. I also welcome other thoughtful and reasonable suggestions and comments that are consistent with the theme of the story, the genre, and the artistic style.

Thank you for your feedback. It is very much appreciated…

THis is my first animated film, unless you include the animatic I made when I started this project back in May. I can also say it has been one of the most challenging I’ve ever worked on. I’m very interested in making films and games and I knew I needed to just start doing it. So, I dove in and figured I’d learn as I went. This past three months has been a real education and a good bit of it in a school of hard knocks. It feels good to be at this point in terms of getting it to a place where I, and other people, can actually see the characters moving around. But seeing it all in one piece, I immediately saw things I want and need to change. It’s a bitter-sweet moment. It’ll be good to hear what some other people think.

good job so far. the animation is good, but the pace could be more dynamic. it feels like it’s all one gear, if that makes any sense. some quick movements or camera pans could help break it up. also, some jazz could be good for the sound track.

I think I understand what you mean about changing gears, but not entirely sure. I’ll think about it. Thank you for taking a look and for the feedback.

One of the things I will defintely do is work on the crosscutting between Aaron and Dolly in the climax scene. The timing seems off there.

when the baby is trying to grab the doll, and kind of rolls his eyes back and does a “no” nod at 1:33 It is unclear what is going on.

then at 1:40 when he has his mouth open in shock seeing that her arms are now crossed, it isn’t as obvious as it should be. There needs to be no question as to what happened here. Her arms were down, and somehow the doll moved, and the kid knows it. Maybe show closeups, because normal viewing I wasn’t paying attention to the position of her arms, and I only thought that they might have moved.

Then at 2:01 the baby crosses his eyes and falls back. I’m sure it is because the doll is doing something, but its not clear what.

The hair on the doll goes through her body, and moves slow when she turns around. for an animation like this, I wonder if modeling and hand animating her hair might look good.

Also, the floor painting, as well as the portrait on the shelf near the baby are too distracting, and take my eye away from the action.

Overall, I like the story and camera angles. I think this is going to look really good once you’ve polished the animation, and rendered it out!

Thank you for the very specific feedback. I appreciate it and understand what you mean in each point. I will certainly take your points into account as I go back in and work on the Splining and Polishing.

The hair is a real problem. I have pulled my own hair out over it. As it turns out, Cycles Hair currently does not respond to the collision modifier. This is one very serious problem I have and am at the point of just leaving it, even though I know it won’t be as good a film without improving it. I’ve tried a lot of things and nothing has worked. I finally got word that they are working to upgrade this in Blender for the next release.

Just before 2:01, Dolly blinks her eyes, but her hair is flipping so crazily that it’s easily missed. I had to animate with the hair hidden because it slows my machine down to the point that it’s not usable. Once I made the hair visible again, I saw that this gesture was hidden in the torrent. So, I’ll have to do something like have her raise her hand or something–still thinking about it.

Thank you also for the postive comments. Those are very helpful, too.