The 11 Second Club critique

Anyone out there who’s curious about how the Animation MentoreCritiques‘ work, I just did one for the May winner over at the 11 Second Club. Brazilian Ivan Oviedo did a great, hilarious hand-drawn scene to win the closest 11 Second Club competition ever. I got a little carried away, and did about three sessions worth of eCritiques in one session, so be warned that it’s pretty long! You can go directly to the critique here.

11 Sec Club May eCritique

The 11 Second Club is a great follow-up to the 10 Second Club (which died because the site was hacked, I believe). It’s a monthly animation contest founded by Aja and Mark Bogdanoff and maintained by self-less volunteers. Every month an 11-second sound clip is uploaded, and anyone is free to animate anything they want to fit the clip. There’s a wide variety of both CG and hand-drawn animation, and lots of different styles and rigs in use. Anyone who registers can vote (but you have to watch and vote on every entry), so it’s a real “people’s choice” from animators, animation students, and fans. Here’s a screen cap of one of Ivan’s shots:

Ivan’s Cats

So appealing! I’d really love to see these characters in a full short. As I said, the May competition was the tightest competition yet, and I was really impressed by the second and third place finishers, too (Aussie Marco Palmieri and Guillaume Roux of Belgium, respectively; time for you Yank animators to step up and represent!).

Go check out the site, watch some cool animation, and think about taking a crack at it. It’s great practice, and a good chance to get some individual exposure.

Addendum: I got a nice thank-you note from Ivan:

Hi Kevin,

Many thanks for all the suggestions and constructive critics. It would be awesome to have professionals like yourself by my side to learn more every time.

I´m still searching for my place in the market of animation, trying to evolve every day and maybe someday work in big studios side by side with animators like you!

I´m really thankful. Your critics made me open my eyes for technical parts that I was using only by intuition before.

Ivan Oviedo

It’s a good feeling to connect with an animator half a world away, and share the love of this insanely difficult art form.  And I won’t be surprised at all if one day soon Ivan is working at one of the big studios.

11 Responses to “The 11 Second Club critique”

  1. Dhar Says:

    Kevin, that was one of the most intense ecritiques I have come across. I was like a sponge absorbing everything you’re saying. Wow man! A totally righteous critique and an eye opener on many levels.

    I pray that you will mentor me at AM.

    Peace man.

  2. quick animation tips from Kevin Koch e-critique « Sketchy… Says:

    […] 參考: The 11 Second Club critique […]

  3. Jenny Lerew Says:

    Dhar said everything I was about to. it’s intense, alright–great information, and the little short rated it–very well done. Good stuff!

  4. Carlos Fins Says:

    Hey Kevin, great crit. I especially loved your point about about isolating characters in a scene and making sure that they read clearly on their own, and that they were appealing/strong enough posewise.
    I think I followed you on the point you were making on the head accent when the second cat says “bodies.” So to make sure I understand, you were saying that the punch was lost a bit because the mouth was opening on the same frame that the head was going down. So your suggestion was to first get the head down and then pop open the mouth for greater effect? Just curious.. thanks for the great feedback..that was a lecture on it’s own!

  5. Kevin Says:

    Thanks everyone (hey, Jenny, thanks for the heads-up about Eric’s book!).

    Yes, Carlos, you got it right. Think about the jaw having a tendency to follow-through and continue going downwards when the head stops it’s downward movement (ala Newton’s First Law of Motion). By timing the head movement so that the vocal accent (and therefore the open mouth) hits at the moment when the jaw would naturally be following through, you get a pleasing and natural accent, and also one that allows the lipsync to read more clearly.

  6. kasap Says:

    Great crit mr koch, learnd alot espcialy with the lip sync, i saw this 11 seconds club video before and the thing i thought was missing was a total shot of the kitten en the two cats so that we could see the distance and location of the cats, maybe its a matter of taste

  7. Rob Says:

    Kevin,

    Crit was awesome, it helped me a lot especially the lip sync section. I find when you explain things it was very clear and easy to follow. Keep up the good work, you have helped me a lot.

    Rob

  8. Daniel Huertas Says:

    I found it very useful.. and like you said you were carried on.. and that was perfect! :) hehehe

    great lipsync tips… S&S as well.. and composition thoughts… I hope to have you as a mentor in one of my classes at AM.. i am starting at the end of this month Wohoo!! :)

  9. Avner Engel Says:

    Excellent critique Kevin!

    I really liked how you broke it down to two sections, story telling and technical. It made it a lot easier for me to follow what you are saying.

    The S&S and lipsync tips were spot on, I just wanted more and more :-)

    Great work, thanks a bunch!

  10. alonso Says:

    finally got around to watching it, great crit thanks for putting the time in, lots of interesting information.

    talking about lipsynch and 2d had me wondering if you personally xsheet your scenes out, I know it was standard practice in 2D, but 3d we can scrub over the frames.

    you also talked about the old masters timing out their verbal accents to land right after the down of the walk, which made me wonder what you thought about the old practice of animating to set musical beats, and if modern day animators are missing out not having that background. (John K. went on and on about it at one point: http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/search/label/timing%20to%20beats)

  11. Kevin Says:

    Alonso, I’ve only animated one production shot to a musical beat (in Over the Hedge, during the montage scene of the animals stealing the backpack with RJ). I loved it, and was amazed at how much help it was having a preset beat to serve as a rhythmic spine to the scene. John K. is absolutely correct (and this is something that many old-time animators have lamented for years) about the power of animating to a beat.

    And yes, I do my own exposure sheet on dialog shots. If it’s a quickie, I might break it down with dry erase markers right on the screen, but usually I write it out, with little symbols for the major accents, and teeny tiny thumbnails or diagrams for what action I might put in on a particular beat. I think it’s invaluable, especially when you work on the shot over a period of days.

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The animation and animation-related musings of Kevin Koch