For these polish passes I concentrated on cleaning up motion and adding details. The playblast below shows a number of improvements: no knee pops, smoother arm motions with the gun, and a lot of attention to the very end, including camera shake and residual energy on the limbs. I also added screen-space smear frames using boSmear, which pushed squash/stretch and helped George feel more organic.
George’s environment began to take shape as well. I sculpted a low-poly ground plane to hint at a rough, craggy surface, taking care not to create awkward tangents with any body parts. This proved to be more of a challenge than I expected; in the future, set design will happen in tandem with blocking.
Final polish consisted of ever smaller details: arm & leg motion while George was upside down, finger overlap after the gun misfire, tweaks to the smear frames, and careful attention (finally) to constraints and prop interaction. And after several missteps, I finally worked out how the gun should hit the ground and settle. Quickly-shot reference of a falling nerf gun helped immensely (though shooting the gun at strangers was not as useful).
Below is a playblast of the final animation in silhouette form. Not all animation styles will demand such strong poses, but clarity is always an important goal.
Polish always takes a long time and animators love saying that shots are never finished, just abandoned. I would never abandon George (we’re on a first name basis) but it’s safe to say I never want to open his scene file ever again.
In the end, George became a smörgåsbord of characters floating around in my head, including Inspector Clouseau from the original Pink Panther movies and Boba Fett as portrayed in Robot Chicken: Star Wars. None of these choices were conscious; rather, Spaceman George emerged as a result of the creative process, a magical wave of energy fueled by copious amounts of caffeine and desperation.
George, buddy, it’s been fun. You might want to get that gun looked at.