Animate a character in a specific emotional state

Competition guidelines were:
Animate a character in a specific emotional state. They could be building to this state or coming down from it, but the main “point” of the shot should be to express the one emotion.

1st place – Szabolcs Siklosi
2nd place – RJ Torralba
3rd place – Charles Spencer

First, congratulations to the winners, as well as to all who entered! There were some really well executed and original shots submitted (seriously, really really good stuff), and it was so hard to choose. And the fact that all the winning shots are CG is merely coincidental. There were some great shots spread across the 2D/3D spectrum. So nice to see. Thanks everyone for your enthusiasm and your hard work!

Now, let me take a moment to explain the reasoning behind these choices. First, this was no so much a contest about how clever or how detailed each scene could be. The goal was a very specific one – create a shot that communicated the most convincing feeling of “panic”, our emotion of choice for this first contest. While there were a great number of really well animated ideas, the shots that really stood out were the ones that were not only entertaining but also the most convincing and believable. The ones that created the best feeling of empathy (whether dramatic or funny) made their way to the top of the list, and ultimately led to our winners.

Szabolcs Siklosi’s very funny and hysterically cartoony shot (our first place winner) hits so many right notes. Not only is the style really well executed and entertaining, it manages to employ really complex and physical blocking while making it seem like a very simple and clear idea – a single idea: terrified panic. The cartooned spacing, gratuitous smears and zippy paths of motion are really clean and the poses very appealing. And, most importantly, totally readable emotion from the very beginning. Very fun shot.

RJ Torralba’s shot (our second place winner) totally allows the audience to empathize with the character as easily as if we were experiencing the feeling ourselves. We can so readily put ourselves in her situation and imagine all sorts of stories about what might be causing her the intense anxiety that eventually leads to panic. The only critique is that the end of the shot only briefly nips at the edges of “panic”. I see it, I feel it, and I would have loved to have seen more. But that is also a good quality – leaving your audience with a strong feeling at the very end of a shot like this. It leaves just the right impression, and it’s wonderfully animated from end to end. Really excellent.

Charles Spencer’s shot (our third place winner) tells the audience exactly what they need to know and feel immediately. Not tons of animation, but the setting is clear, the mood is clear, and the overall attitude of the character is clear. While the only critique on this is that I would have cut out the last acting beat (where she turns her head and shivers). But the opening and middle two beats, where she clearly hears something and begins to panic, hits it right on the nose. Simple, believable, spontaneous panic. The intense graphics of the eyes make it so the audience can almost hear the simple dialog in her head. Really an almost perfect exercise in simplicity. Nicely done.

I look forward to connecting with the winners and setting them up with their prizes. The live critique that our first place winner receives as a prize will be posted here on SplineBomb for your viewing pleasure as soon as it has been done. And, we would love to do this again! Hopefully we can find a way to make it even more participatory, allowing everyone to see the entries and voice some opinions. Cuz you know, we may all sit in our dark little chambers plugging away at the minutiae of our craft, but it is ultimately a communal effort. Feedback is your best friend, so let’s make more places to find it.

Thanks again for participating, everyone! See you for the next one!


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