It's always great to see how an animator in the industry works and the different ways they can sometimes go about it. Jeff Gabor is a lead animator at Blue Sky Studios and below is his comparison reel for Epic. What's interesting to see is that his storytelling poses are what I would compare to my blocking stage, and his blocking stage is very detailed when compared to that. As I've learnt from Keith Lango, the more you do in blocking, the less you have to do in spline - and this is where the problems can sometimes occur. I think from now on I might try to block it out in even more detail, as at the minute I seem to let the computer interpret parts of my animation. It's a bad habit and if I go and add in more blocking, hopefully I can add some more personality to the characters and their performance.
Looking at his reference videos you can see how much he gets into character and that gives him the core performance. I wrote part of my extended essay on performance and it's made me realise how crucial it is to understand the character you are trying to animate. Personality, actions, reactions, decisions, they will all play a part in how an audience will perceive that character, and as an animator you need to get it right. For example, a character that is shy would not be a person who has vast amounts of confidence when walking into a crowded room. Even just observing how someone works is of a great benefit and hopefully I can take what I've learnt here and translate that into my own work.
Epic Comparison Reel from jeff gabor on Vimeo.