Class 3 - Week 10 - Tricks for Analyzing Shots

One of the keys to analyzing your shot throughout the many weeks you'll be working on them is to try as hard as you can to avoid letting your eyes become used to the shot. When that happens, it can be very difficult to see whether something is wrong, or even if what you changed looks better than before. The best help with this is to get someone else to look at your shot, preferably someone who hasn't seen it too often. With fresh eyes, they will be able to spot many things that you may have become used to. But alas, there are many times when you may not have someone else to turn to for help. In these cases, you'll need to reset your eyes and give yourself a new perspective on your shot. Here are a few of the methods we've picked throughout the terms.

Step Away

The first and most important thing you can do while reviewing your shots is to take a lot of breaks. They don't have to be long breaks but if you stay at your computer and stare at your shot for too long, you can easily develop a certain repetition blindness that makes it very hard to see if there is actually anything wrong with the shot. By taking breaks, you keep your eyes fresh and ready to go.

You can also  just step back 5 or 10 feet from your computer and check out your shot. Doing this helps give you a new perspective on your shot, which is the key to avoiding "shot blindness" and it also forces you to analyze the large movements and not get stuck on the little detail.

If you don't have the space to step away, another form of this is squinting your eyes.

Flip the Video

In the old days, animators would look at their shots using a mirror to reverse the image, which is a trick that artists have been using for a long time. But just because it's old, it doesn't mean it won't work. Luckily for us in our techy world, all you need is KeyframeMP and your ready to flip away.

Don't feel like you only have to flip it horizontally either. Try flipping it vertically, or both, to give yourself some new perspective. But in a pinch, you can always turn to a mirror for some quick help and for the old school feeling.

To flip or rotate your video in KeyframeMP,
  • Go to  "Video"
  • To flip your video, select either Flip Horizontally or Flip Vertically
  • To rotate your video, select either Rotate CW or Rotate CCW

Play at Half Speed or Fast Forward

Another way to reset your eyes and gain a new perspective on your shot is by playing it at different speeds. By playing it at either half speed or on fast forward, you not only reset your eyes, you can also sometimes notice things that you would not normally see.

To play a video at half speed or fast forward in Keyframe MP,
  • Go to "Playback > Speed"
  • You can either chose which option you want or hit "Custom" to choose a specific speed.

Play in Reverse

This one is a bit weird to use, but if you play your shot in reverse, you'll see it in a whole new way, giving you a lot of new insight on the shot as well as effectively resetting your eyes.

Add Blank Frames 

When you're watching your shot on loop, try adding one to two seconds of blank frames at the end of the shot. By doing this, you make it so your mind doesn't see the end of the shot and the beginning of the shot as one piece. It also gives your mind a small breather as the shot loops, thus getting rid of any repetition blindness. You can use the following files to add one or two seconds of blank time to your animation or simply use the transitionBlank file from AM, which you can find in the tools section.

1 Second Blank
2 Second Blank

Offset the Sound

When you are trying to analyze your lip sync, it can be very easy to get used to how your character says a certain word, so much so that you don't even notice that it's actually not correct. Two ways to help with this is to either scrub through the audio, resetting how you see the lip sync, or muting the audio altogether and trying to read the lips.

To scrub audio in Keyframe MP,
  • Go to "Audio > Audio Scrub".
  • This will allow you to hear the audio when you scrub.
  • IMPORTANT: This is only available in the paid version of KeyframeMP. 

To mute audio in Keyframe MP,

  • Click on the Volume icon in the bottom right corner of the player.

The accuracy of KeyframeMP

While on the subject of shot reviewing, when using KeyframeMP to analyze your lip sync, keep in mind that while it is a very accurate program, it is not always 100% accurate. There are times when something may seem off, either too early or too late, and you can't seem to fix. This may be caused by KeyframeMP not playing back the file properly. In these cases, you would need to use another program such as Tweak RV, Adobe Premiere, or Adobe After Effects to analyze your shot. They will give you a much more accurate result, allowing you to pinpoint the issue. But sadly, we are not made of money and these programs cost quite a bit. Luckily in AM, we don't need to be super accurate as the animation will be played back in a flash player, giving about the same results as in KeyframeMP. But in a studio or freelance project, it may be helpful to have the improved accuracy.

I hope this was helpful for you, and remember: the best way to keep an open mind with your works is to ask someone else to take a look at it. The AM community is amazing in this respect as there is always someone you can ask that will gladly help you out. Don't be afraid or too shy to ask for help. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to contact us at any time by Skype, email, or PM.