Sunday, April 7, 2013

Animation Practice

So I thought I would get in some more animation practice as I had some spare time just before and during Easter break. I wanted to get a pushing animation done as this is one of the basics and something that needs to be practised. I made sure I created reference videos so I could analyse these and refer back to them when animating. Reference videos is something I always do now, they are so useful, trying to do it from your head, I find just doesn't work. There may be parts of the body that move without you really noticing unless you analyse that video.

From this I broke it down to key poses which I started creating within Maya. I decided to use the Malcom rig, courtesy of AnimSchool. It's a really good, comprehensive rig that I've slowly got accustomed to. There is a lot of flexibility within the rig, stretchy limbs, IK/FK switch, good amount of facial control and the ability to use abxPicker (unfortunately I had issues with trying to get this to work within my Maya so couldn't get to try it out).

I really took my time with this animation to try and get it as good as I could, whilst I had the time. I made sure I got feedback from several people whilst in the process, to see what I could improve on and if the timings were correct. As you can see below, that's my blocking stage before I went into linear. I followed the same workflow as I did in the visual effects module and can really see the benefits of it. Below the blocking is my final animation, I spent the time cleaning up the keys in the graph editor and making sure the curves were smoothed out. This extra time does help, it smooths out the animation and makes it more fluid. I lost some work near the end and had to redo a lot of it, but it was for the best really as I ended up doing it better than the last time and in a quicker time. I've learnt a lot by doing this, and got to use the IK/FK switch for the first time. By changing the arms to FK, it allowed me to have the hands stay in one position whilst the rest of the body moved. The next thing I want to improve on is rendering, I want to render my animations out nicer, for example how Animation Mentor do it. By the looks of things it might be ambient occlusion or final gathering, but I will look into this further soon.

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