If you're an animator on a Pixar film or a Disney 2D feature, you generally have enough time to get your scene done right. Oh sure, there are animators that would obsess over the drag and overlap on a nose hair if they had the time, but generally the schedules are long enough to turn out the best animation in the world. That includes showing your scene to your animator buddies, getting their input, getting notes from the director who may actually act out the exact movement or change he wants.
I might have said it before but animated TV shows and most direct to video productions are produced by remote control. I've posted backgrounds, character designs and storyboard panels which indicate what we send overseas but that's nowhere near as effective as acting out a scene to the guy who's actually going to animate it. So you find a studio filled with great animators, send them your stuff and cross you fingers.
And then you call retakes.
When animated scenes return they are called "take ones." If they need adjustment, the director gives notes and the corrected scene returns as a "take two." This continues until the director is satisfied or you hit the contracted limit of retakes on any one scene. It's unfair to the overseas studios if you keep sending scenes back over and over to get that nose hair right (unless they're the major characters in your series. In which case, you need to find other employment). It's also detrimental to your production because tying animator with a retake shrinks the time he has on the next sequence of your movie. So you try to call only the stuff that will really make a difference.
I've called some retakes on the trailer material but most of those will be held off until the rest of their sequences come in. You don't want to adjust the action in a stand alone scene and then find that it doesn't hook up with the rest of the sequence.
So here's the process: footage comes in as separate scenes. The first thing that's done is to edit it. Why call a retake on the part of the scene that is going to be trimmed from the picture? Animation can be corrected or adjusted by pulling out frames. Sometimes the flow of the sequence can be improved by dropping a scene from the picture. By editing first, you reduce the number of retakes you need to call and animators can spend more time on their new scenes. Of course, you can only edit so much before your movie is shorter than it needs to be. What to do at that point will be part of a post about editing.
Retakes can be technical - the wrong background is used, "color pops" (when something is miscolored for part of a scene like a badge being colored the same as the shirt it's pinned upon for a few frames), or dialogue out of sync. This is stuff that was just overlooked. Easy calls.
Animation retakes - animation is a relationship between location and time, the location of an image on a piece of paper and the number of frames used to move it to a new spot on the page. Imagine a character throwing a ball. Too boring? Okay, imagine Hellboy slugging the jaw of a giant, drooling monster. With me now? He pulls back his huge right fist in anticipation, then connects with the jaw. Our timing director indicates on an exposure sheet that the punch should take 8 frames.
What could go wrong? If the animator draws the starting position of the fist pulled way back behind Hellboy's head it should be fine; the fist will travel the distance to the jaw in 8 frames, hopefully favoring the start and end positions so the punch gains velocity and creams that monster, sending drool flying. But what if the animator just pulled Hellboy hand back a couple of inches from the jaw? Now the fist has a shorter distance to travel in 8 frames and it may look like a love tap...and the monster will eat Hellboy's head. Ideally, the storyboard shows a start and end pose to guide the animator but usually it looks like a comic panel: the monster's head reeling back and a speed line showing the trajectory of Hellboy's punch. The timing even affects the drool - the greater the distance the drool stretches as it drips from the mouth, the more watery it will appear. If the start and end positions of dripping drool are close together, it will seem more gelatinous or gooey. So we can call for the timing but the animator has to apply common sense to his poses to get the required action. When this doesn't happen, it's a retake.
There's a lot of punching in our movie. If the start and end positions aren't "favored" the punch will have an even movement and be dull. Throw a punch in the air. Your fist moves slower at the start than in the middle of the punch, then slows down as your arm stretches to its limit. In animation, you would cluster the drawings of your fist at the beginning and the end of the action. When this isn't done, it's a retake.
Creative retakes - that's when we've made a huge mistake by either calling for the wrong stuff or realizing that a different kind of scene is needed to make the sequence work. You have to pay for these. Literally. It's not the fault of the overseas studio that the sequence would be more dynamic if Hellboy leaped off a rooftop instead of using a ladder. They did exactly as they were requested. If the scene is important enough, you talk to the keepers of the budget and plead your case. You try to avoid these.
Okay, not the most exciting stuff. Just something about animation that you might not have known about. See ya -- Tad