Class 2 - Week 1 - Planning Methods

This week, I'm going to go over some tips on how to plan your shots. The
method I will talk about is a combination of all the things both Beau's
mentors and mine through Classes 1 and 2 wanted to see in our work.
Every Mentor has something they want to see in your planning, so always
remember to ask your Mentor for anything that they would like to see you

You're allowed 3 pages of sketches for your planning for each new shot,
and even though only 2 are required, I recommend you use all of them.
Doing more planning and sketching will only help you out when you get
started on your animation and will save you a lot of guesswork later on
in your shot.

Here is the method Beau and I found to best organize our sketch pages,
but if you find a method that works better for you, don't hesitate to
use it! I will be using the pages from one of my Class 3 assignments as
examples for each section

Exploration Page

This page is usually the first one we would work on. What it is, is a
page full of rough sketches of all the important key poses in your shot,
as well as any pose that might give you a bit of trouble. The point is
to try and push the poses as much as you can here, so they don't have to
be too clean. Just clean enough to be able to see what it is you're

The key here is drawing the poses in different ways, finding the lines
of actions in your movements,getting used to the angle your shot will be
using, and figuring out exactly what you want to put in your notes and
timing pages beforehand.

Notes Page

Next, we would work on the notes page. This page is all about taking
down notes on what is happening physically in your animation. Using both
the reference video and the exploration pages, go over your shot frame
by frame and try to keep in mind exactly what was happening to your body
at a specific time. How were your hips angled when you started? What
direction did you shift your weight when you started walking? How did
your legs take the impact of that landing? It's notes like that that
really help you to know what is happening in your animation and will
make your work much easier as you begin blocking your poses.

We would also draw out all the key poses, cleaner than the last rough
sketches, on the notes page and give them rough timing based on the
video reference. That way we could mark out when each note was
happening, which helps to keep everything clean and tidy. And as a
bonus, finding the rough timing and taking detailed notes will help you
when you move on to your timing page.

Timing Page

Now we move on to the last, but probably most important page of your
planning. The timing page is pretty much exactly the same as the ones
you did in Class 1. You have your refined key pose sketches, inbetweens,
timing and spacing charts, and any supplemental notes you might want on
the page to explain some of your timing or poses. Make sure to keep all
of your drawings clear and easily readable, and figure out your timing
to the frame. Even though it's probably going to change once you start
working on your shot, it helps to have accurate frame numbers to start
timing your blocking with.

Something else that is very helpful to add to this page is a drawing
that shows the staging and composition of your shot. It doesn't have to
be as detailed as your key pose drawings, all it is, is a small drawing
that shows where your character starts in the shot, how he moves through
the shot, and where he ends. This will be helpful in giving you a better
idea of how far your character moves, and makes it much easier to
position your camera when you get into Maya.

This page is the one we would upload into the required sketch page slot,
as it's the page with all the key information for your shot. The other
two are there are very important as well, but are there to compliment
the timing page, and to help you start your blocking quickly and easily.

And that's about all I have for this week. Thank you for taking the time
to read my post. I hope it's been helpful, and if you have any questions
or suggestions, you're always more than welcome to leave a comment or
send us a message on AM.

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