The step I see missed time and again is that students transition out of stepped blocking and into spline too early. What was a nice blocking pass with some strong poses has now turned into a mushy pile of chaos. The poses are still there, but now the character slides and drifts from one pose to the next. Now it is possible to take the goo and mold it into something decent, however it will probably take extra time to do so with a lot of trial and error along the way.
Now, I understand the eagerness. The shot is mapped out...you have your keys....let's get it moving!!! Well slow down there skipper. Blocking IS animating. Take a look at those keys and how much room you have between them. Guess what will happen if you convert to spline now? Yes, that's right -- Maya, the goofball inbetweener, will fill in those gaps for you in the most literal and boring way possible. God bless Maya for wanting to help, but you are better off making those decisions yourself.
Once you have your key poses in blocking, take another pass adding some breakdowns. How will you transition from one pose to the next? Make decisions up front..you can tweak later if you must. The more decisions you can make while in stepped, the less mess you will have to deal with later.
Guest Blogger Ray Chase