Casey, the background artist ~ as an artist, I know that the biggest rule to making anything is that you simply aren't going to please everybody, and that's fair. The beauty of creative media is that it's better for the diverse input it gets.
I can actually agree with you on a few things here. We had a bit of a marathon putting this episode together. I don't know how you felt about the other episodes if you've seen them, but we brought in a new animator and were trying some new things on this one. A lot of 'real life' got in the way and we were cycling the file around a lot of hands. I'd be lying if I said it didn't suffer from this.
That being said however, in a professional atmosphere, you HAVE to learn how to work fluidly with multiple artists, animators, composers, etc. If you can't deal with it, than you're just not going anywhere.
In our case, I'm glad we had this episode to learn our own strengths and weaknesses, and to be honest, I don't think it came out that badly, and I'm glad we had the experience that we could learn from.
That being said, I think it's a silly thing to criticize someone for using the line tool. I could use that logic to say that anyone's work is bad for using the paint bucket tool or hell, even flash itself. Why don't we really get down to business and hand-draw everything on paper like a REAL animator.
Plus, I'll be honest, personally I COULD draw a lot of the environments by hand, (in fact I usually do in concept art, I have notebooks overflowing with art and drawings) but it's really only a stylistic change. When I use the pencil or do things with a tablet, I tend to put more gritty details into it, I use a lot of lines to bring out the shading and such. It has a totally different feel and vibe to it. If I'd done things in that style, than I doubt it'd match very well to the characters or animation. Wonders is supposed to feel very clean and smooth, and yes, simple. We actually agreed on the style in the beginning before episode 1 was ever finished, so that we could sync up our work with one-another easier. We keep to basic shapes and stuff on purpose. Some people don't like that or see it as lazy, but again, we understand that not EVERYONE is going to just fall in love with it, and that's fine.
In the animation, I can't argue with you a whole lot. Me and Joseph animated large parts of this, and neither of us have animated something on this scale in years, so that was a bit ambitious, but we had to if we wanted the episode to get done, because Chris Boe was being bombarded with work, and Mark was busy making episode 4. Like I said before, it was a learning experience, and I believe we're planning on updating the character models in some way after ep4.
I don't know what to say about your sound effects comment, because if you take ANY frame of that sand worm scene, there's at least 2 or 3 sound effects playing weather it be wind, roaring, or explosions.
In the end, I could see us changing up how we work with one another in the future to have a more streamlined result. But we don't have an office where we can easily trade these files, it's all done online between people who never see each other and sometimes rarely hear from each other. On top of that, we want to try to get this stuff out fairly quickly so that there's not a lot of dead space between releases. It's a great experience and I like working with these guys and I'm sure we'll improve over the coming months.
I wish I could give you a better response other than "oh, well oh well, /shrug" but that's really all I can think to say. Thanks for the lengthy review though, I do enjoy reading through all of them.