Monday, June 28, 2004

Saturday was Otherspace Productions day, sort of. Both the animators—the in-betweener and the CGI artist— came over for the afternoon. The in-betweener showed me a sequence she’d completed, but pointed out that it needs to be re-drawn. The original keys are inconsistent, and fundamentally don’t look right. For example, lain’s trenchcoat doesn’t move at all in the keys, but it needs to billow around her. The animation would work from a distance, but not at the sort of distance I need for the establishing shots.

So. What to do? The key animator is currently on vacation, and I want this fixed. So, I had the in-betweener start work on re-drawing the first key herself. She borrowed my lain art books as reference and did a good job, which I think will be end up looking a lot better.

Meanwhile, the CGI artist punched up the opening scene with a road and more buildings in the background. I confess I’d been mentioning the need for lots of background buildings for awhile, to the point where she reassured me several times that there would be plenty of buildings. Just before she left, she showed me how she’d added dozens of buildings, and we laughed as I agreed that that looked good.

We all had a pretty good time. We spent a fair amount of time chatting, a fact that I felt ambivalent about for a little while. I wondered if I should be pushing them to return to their work after five or ten minutes of discussions about manga and video game consoles. But, no. I certainly have long chats at work myself, and I consider that a reasonable aspect of doing a job. Humans talk, and I’m perfectly willing to let them (and myself). I’m reminded of a scene in the Animation Runner Kuromi anime series, in which the studio president enters the main production room to see a chaotic but energetic crew working, trading paper, and resolving mini-crises. He smiles and sighs contentedly. I think that that’s a good perspective.

On the other hand, I have realized that I’m already spending a lot of money on this. Even paying these artists minimum wage for part-time work, I’ve already spent $291 on matrix experiments lain. I’d hoped to make it for under $500.

The CGI is the main expense. The CGI artist is spending a lot of time on the shot. This is not a condemnation of her; I can watch her and see that the assembly of all the elements takes a lot of time. I’m planning to call her and explain the situation and ask if there’s any way to speed up the process. In fact, I may just tell her that I’ll pay her through Saturday, then we’ll pause work on the CGI shot until I’ve paid for more of the animation.

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