The mid-section is confusing; a lot of the action is missing. You are meant to make sense of what is going in a pre-viz so it’s best to put a bit more information to make sure it reads better. Make the pre-vis more functional and don’t worry too much about posing the characters.

By moving the characters slightly, for instance by using a simple spin to indicate dancing, will help with figuring out the timing and will make the story clearer. Also, simple sound effects like the rustling of the bushes will help to read the pre-vis better.

The animation will have to shrink down to about 3:30 minutes (not including credits). Possibly think of removing any repetitive scenes or cutting from the long introduction scene and add it up to the dance sequence. It’s hard to judge if the dance sequence is enough or not at the moment so it’s best to take reference from the Thai Dance Academy footage and practice so key poses.

The ground needs to be more graphically enhanced. Add more rocks for instance, leaves or even more vegetation to fill the emptiness. More props will fake the distance even more. Consider adding foreground elements like tree branches or leaves hanging from the side.

The characters (or the focal point of the shot) have to be framed into the scene. This will be achieved by placing the props around them, (or the around flower in the opening scene’s case) to lead the viewer’s eyes to them. As opposed to placing props randomly, think of the composition as a frame to make the characters stand out and direct the viewer to them. Also think of symmetry when placing objects around depending on what the center of attention is. For example, there is a scene in the Pre-vis where Kinnaree and Hemmy are both in the middle of the shot and there is a tree on the side. Maybe add an extra tree on the other side to make a frame around them.

We need to push ourselves even more into animation since the whole project was based that and we haven’t shown much of it so far.
Pre-vis update. Ignore the alpha plane glitching.

It's been a while since I last posted up any of Hemmy's progress due to some rigging and skinning issues with the Pose Deformer plug-in issues I kept coming across. I must have rigged and skinned him about 5 times so far but all the trouble was worth it when I finally saw him moving. I attempted a very rough walk cycle today and I can already see what it is that I have to change on him. I know it's probably very bad but it's my first quadruped animation. I can't wait to look into different animation methods to see what fits best our animated short. So this is what I need to consider after this first test:
-Fix some skinning issues that appear during the walk
- Limit the translates of the leg controls to avoid any weird rotations in the joints
- Replace the basic blendshapes with separate controls for the facial rig.
-Consider any squash and stretch to the face and spine for some comedy.

I spent a bit of time analysing what could work best for Hemmy's expressions when it comes to facial rigging.  For this I drew a few extreme expressions using squash and stretch. It turned out that the best feature for his expression will most likely be his big eyebrows and his ears. It's best to keep his snout/beak more solid with a possible slight, tilt in case his face deforms completely and turns into a completely different character. 
I looked into facial muscles around the eye and forehead: the obicularis oculi (muscle around the eye), the corrugator (eyebrow muscle), the frontalis (the forehead muscle) and the procerus (muscle inbetween the eyes, just above the nose). Each of the muscles will most likely have separate controls or blendshapes. 

Production: Kinnaree Rigging 1

Over the past week I have explored further technical terrain in Maya. Having experimented with the skinning pose deformers/ reader plug-in and Maya muscle system (techniques in Maya can get quite discursive) I decided to go ahead with pose deformers. It is a time efficient way to go about this particular pipeline and can create similar results to Maya muscle, especially as this project has a limited time schedule. The Maya muscle system is really fantastic and has many advantages over posing and sculpting dirtily with this third party plug-in. 

I have also started looking at Maya nDynamics, using multiple nuclei and Ncloth settings. Ncloth is packed with a myriad of presets. In this case I simply applied a silk preset to the chest geometry and applied point constraints to bind it into a position (check out Digital Tutors). These type of animated enhancements are desirable for the final render.

A few stills of Kinnaree's rigging process:

One of Alan's suggestions on our last tutorial, was to get to know our characters more before jumping into complicated rigging. As an exercise he advised to look through our animatic and roughly work out with quick sketching what sort of poses are needed for the animation.
For a start, Hemmy will have to be able to run which his back legs and skinning are restricting him from doing so, at the moment. Also, he can't sit down due to some skinning issues and his tarsle joint not being able to be placed flat down. 
The whole of next week will be getting deep into Skin Deformers in Maya to solve these issues.