When I'm polishing a shot, that means that all of my timing and movements are working and approved and I'm just adding the very finishing touches to the shot before I'm finito. So when I start my polishing pass, I am certainly not going to be making any big changes to action or timing.
The first thing I do when I'm going into polishing, is a little "good shot hygiene" as one of my former lead animators used to call it. I select each and every control, and go through the attribute curves one by one in the graph editor, and smooth out any bumps or tangent strangeness. You'd be surprised how many things you can catch by scaling in and out horizontally and vertically that you wouldn't see upon the initial examination. This generally gets rid of all kinds of tiny hiccups that have been accumulating as I've been editing my animation in previous passes.
Only after that is done for every animated control, do I continue on and just double-check all of my arcs and finesse overlapping action and perhaps even add tinier details. I will playblast often, and look for anything that catches my eye when I'm watching it on 'loop'...usually if something catches my eye, it means it's not quite smooth enough - so I'll check the eases and the overlaps to make sure nothing 'hits.'
Then, after I've polished all that up, I go through and look at the curves again on everything I've polished, to make sure they're all smooth so I won't give the director any excuses to send the shot back to me again for any more touch-ups. :)
Playblast again to check...fix anything that's still catching my eye, make sure the curves are smooth, playblast again. Wash, rinse, repeat. Until it's squeaky clean.
Handing in sloppy files is very unprofessional! One thing I've learned is to never expect that you'll fly anything by the director...they *always* notice the teeniest little bumps! And they'll call you on it...oh yes they will.
Guest Blogger Dana Boadway