Tips for refining your animation

During this long journey of continuous animation learning I've learned, along with my friend Nick , a few tips that can be really helpful especially in the last stage of your animation, when you can't see what's good and what's not, when your eyes are simply tired of seeing the same thing all over again. The best way to refresh your eyes is to step away from your work and come back later. The longer you'll stay away, and the more things you'll notice that could be improved. I'm sure that many of you have already heard that. But sometimes it's just not possible to stay away for long enough to have a clearer view of your work. Here are a few methods I use that I think are really good.

1. Have a look at your silhouettes
In Maya, simply hide any light and background that you have ( you can put them in a layer and hide them ) and press at the button 7 or in the panel view options go to Lighting - Use all Lights.
You'll be able to see your character all in black against the background. I assure you, you'll also see a lot of mistakes that may have been difficult to spot otherwise.

2. Horizontally flip your animation
If the first tip isn't enough, here is another one. Playblast your animation, open it with Quicktime,and go to Window-Show movie properties; a window will appear, where you'll select Video track, and finally select Visual Settings in the tab below. If you look carefully you'll see a flip rotate button , that can basically flip or rotate your video sequence. Again. when you flip your animation horizontally, you'll suddenly see your animation with fresher eyes, as if it was a completely different piece of work.

3. Change your animation Frame rate

Ok, maybe you already knew the first 2, but there is a third super useful tip. Right inside Maya, you can change your animation frame rate, make it for example a lot faster or slower. This will help you see mistakes more easily, especially with pops, or if your in-betweens aren't working as expected.
You can change that by going to Window - Settings/preferences - Preferences, and in the new window, in the Time slider category , you can change the playback speed. I usually switch from Real time( 24fps ) to half ( 12 fps ). This makes the animation play 2 times slower.

If you want you can even mix those tips together, like having your animation in silhouette mode, flipped and in a higher framerate :)
Hope that these will help somebody :)

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