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Creating sweatbox notes and preparation

From: 2D Animation Principles

Video: Creating sweatbox notes and preparation

Another valuable tool at your disposal, especially when you're directing Now I'm showing the hookups out of 40 into Alright.

Creating sweatbox notes and preparation

Another valuable tool at your disposal, especially when you're directing a project or overseeing a project, is the sweat box note. And it's surprising how many people don't actually write these. I've worked on productions that didn't use sweat box notes and the result was painful. So what's a swap box note? And the director and the leads will sit down anybody who has a bird's-eye view of the project and write a note for each scene, and that note travels with the scene, either taped to it, if it's a physical scene, or as a note inside the file.

So it could be an FLA file in flash, or various production files for AfterEffects, Maya, Cinemathority and so forth, so when the animator, or whoever, opens the file, they see that note from the director telling them watch out for this, here's what I have in mind for the scene. So I'm going to write a sample sweat box note for one of these scenes. So here's one page of my storyboards, and I'm going to pick the bottom center scene, 5-0, 50. Once you have your storyboards down, once you more or less approve them as I have in this case, it's time to give them sequence and scene numbers.

Well, this is scene five, and I've numbered the scenes 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60. I number them, 10 apart because if you want to add a scene at any point, say between 40 and 50, you can call it 45. So it's very handy to have this level of flexibility. So let's write a sweatbox note for scene 5050. Okay, so the most important thing for that scene is the hookups, because if continuity is bad, that's going to jump out very, very quickly. So let's include that. Now I'm showing the hookups out of 40 into 60 because the character, the student, appears in both shots.

If scene 40 had been a street car racing down the road, then I would not include it as a hook up. It would not have been relevant to the hookups so, but the animator in this case needs to know if scenes 40 and 60 have already been animated and he needs to work into them. They don't need to work into him. So the next thing I would do would be to write some notes about the physical performance of the scene for the animator. So in this case, he's taking a little bite out of the menu, and he's going to do some business, so let's flesh it out a little bit. So I'll write for the animator, the student.

Let's see, we'll have him staring at his menu, he'll sniff at it, take a bite, and, I don't think he needs to chew it because he chews in the next shot, so let's leave that out, and we just have him take a little bite, a small piece, and maybe make an expression. And meanwhile, the chef and the waitress are watching him. So we'll type out that instruction. Alright. That's very simple. And the only other thing that really occurs to me would be that the After Effects artist who would be working on this, I would hope, would take the chef and the waitress and just blur them a little bit, so that background isn't at the same level of sharpness as the foreground.

I want some depth of field on this. And the only other thing that would spring to mind would be if there had been a previous scene with a very similar action. Maybe the animator who's working on this is a freelancer or maybe he's just in his cubicle working away, he might not have seen that shot. So let's warn him. Let's tell him, you know, you have something out there you might want to track down. That's pretty much it. That's a, that's a fairly decent sweatbox note. That'll save some people quite a bit of time, and as I said before, there's nothing worse that working on a scene without a sweatbox note. You animate the scene, you hand it in and then they give you the sweatbox note.

You know, it's best to give the not up front and it save a lot of time. There is one other part of the process that you might want to factor in at this stage, because we're still, pretty much, at the story board pre-production level. And that would be to give your scenes a rating in terms of how important they are. And I rate them A, B, or C. It's a common technique. An A scene is a scene that's absolutely vital you can't live without it. A C scene is a scene that you could cut, you could live without it. You want the scene, but you know what if you run out of money or you run out of time or energy, that's the scene you leave to last because that's the one you can cut.

So in this case my boards, I think are fairly efficient. There's not a lot of fat on them. When I was looking through it to give you some examples I did find a couple that I could probably live without, if I had to. And the one example would be this reaction shot on the second panel on the top right. We see the student here screaming, I get it, I get it. And then we have a reaction shot to the chef and the waitress. Well that shot could go. There's not dialog on it. It's a reaction shot. It's not critical to the narrative that could be abolished. And the other shot that we could get rid of would be this shot here, when the student is carted away by the paramedics when he starts acting a little irrationally.

We see this over the shoulder shot of the two officers, and that shot could actually be incorporated into this panel. We could thereby eliminate that sequence, and save a little bit of time. So this is a good way to prioritize your scenes. Do the A scenes first and the B scenes second and do the C scenes last. And that's it.

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This video is part of

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2D Animation Principles

35 video lessons · 7227 viewers

Dermot O' Connor

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  1. 1m 42s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 18m 9s
    1. Understanding appeal and design
      4m 3s
    2. Comparing body types
      6m 27s
    3. Understanding silhouette
      1m 52s
    4. Creating gesture drawings
      2m 50s
    5. Tying down the drawing
      2m 57s
  3. 18m 10s
    1. Comparing storyboard styles
      5m 8s
    2. Understanding shot composition
      4m 36s
    3. Demonstrating lighting
      4m 8s
    4. Understanding the 180-degree line
      4m 18s
  4. 13m 8s
    1. Understanding X-sheets (dope sheets)
      3m 25s
    2. Comparing frame rates
      4m 39s
    3. Creating sweatbox notes and preparation
      5m 4s
  5. 18m 42s
    1. Understanding arcs
      7m 38s
    2. Squash, stretch, and volume
      4m 59s
    3. Comparing timing and spacing
      6m 5s
  6. 10m 4s
    1. Using anticipation, overshoot, and settle
      4m 2s
    2. Breaking and loosening joints
      2m 43s
    3. Leading action
      3m 19s
  7. 19m 51s
    1. Understanding primary and secondary action
      4m 14s
    2. Using overlap and follow-through
      6m 0s
    3. Applying lines of action, reversals, and S-curves
      4m 34s
    4. Moving holds and idles
      5m 3s
  8. 15m 52s
    1. Understanding walk and run cycles
      5m 24s
    2. Creating eccentric walks
      6m 50s
    3. Animal locomotion
      3m 38s
  9. 14m 31s
    1. Finding dialogue accents
      2m 42s
    2. Creating dialogue through body movement
      2m 46s
    3. Creating stock mouth shapes
      5m 4s
    4. Using complementary shapes
      3m 59s
  10. 13m 8s
    1. Creating thumbnails
      4m 31s
    2. Comparing straight-ahead and pose-to-pose animation
      4m 37s
    3. Adding breakdowns for looseness
      4m 0s
  11. 2m 9s
    1. Next steps
      2m 9s

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