Have you ever been to see a 3D animated movie and thought “wow, this film looks shite with a capital BALLS but I lack the necessary knowledge in 3D to properly tear it a new one. What can I do?”
Well wonder no more! Here are 3 nit-picks you can make about a 3D animation with evidence to back it up so you too can sound like you know what you’re talking about.
So you’re watching this awful film when some random object comes really close to the camera and the surface looks all blurry and pixelated. This is because the textures aren’t big enough. It’s like when you zoom in too far on a picture. If something’s coming close enough to the camera to be seen in detail, it needs to have some big-old textures. The director should have seen this and needs to be scorned for not fixing it.
You can say something like “if they knew they were bringing it that close, they should have used higher resolution textures. That’s just bad planning.”
I could write 20 blog posts on all the things that can go wrong with lighting but the worst thing that can be done with it is messing up shadows, specifically how sharp they are. Unless something’s being hit with a really strong direct light like, for example the Saharan sun shadows usually have pretty fuzzy edges. So when a character is sat in a dimly lit room in the dead of night and the shadows still look as sharp as a razors edge, it’s time to fire up the criticism. “Why are they using a directional light source? A nice area light would work far better.”
(quick explanation: Motion-capture is the recording of real people’s movements and using them on an animated character)
Let me make this clear. If you’re making an animation with cartoony characters, you don’t use motion capture. Motion capture is for photo real affairs. Cartoony characters, cartoony movements, simple as that but plenty of idiots seem to think that even in cartoons it will look better if everything’s mo-capped. Two of the worst offenders of this are ‘Monster House’ and ‘Mars needs Moms’. So if you’re watching a movie and a Bugs Bunny-esque character is moving like it’s just some guy running around a motion capture studio, say something along the lines of “uhgh, why did they use motion capture? They should have let the animators do their job.”
So there you go. Everything you need to look your nose down on the 3D art of others and sound like a real smarty-pants.
See you next week!