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All animators must learn to walk before they can run. In 2D Character Animation, industry expert George Maestri teaches the basic principles every animator must know to build a foundation for more complex work. These principles are relevant regardless of software used or animation style. George explains how good animation depends on a firm knowledge of the laws of motion, which inform the principles of animation. He teaches the basics of creating characters, squash and stretch, pose-to-pose animation, walking and running, track reading, and dialogue animation. He also shows how to use After Effects and Flash to apply the tools learned in the course. Exercise files accompany this course.
Now that you understand how to make great poses, let's go ahead and animate a character from one pose to the other. Now, this is called pose-to-pose animation. It's probably one of the most common ways to animate a character. You block out your poses and then you do the in-betweens. So here I have blocked out two poses. On frame 0, I have this pose and on frame 12 I have this pose. So if we actually just played it, you can see that the computer is just animating the in-between and it really doesn't look all that realistic.
The character's foot is sliding; he's not really shifting his weight. There's no overlapping and follow through and it just kind of doesn't look right. So the first thing I want to do is get his weight shifting properly. Now, if you notice here I've got this foot just kind of sliding and that really doesn't work. Because here you can see he has his weight all on that right foot. Then when he shifts to this pose, his weight is on his left foot.
So when he shifts his weight from one foot to the other, he really has to do that while one foot is solid on the ground. So for example, here, this foot really needs to be solid on the ground and then we need to shift to this other one. So the first thing, I'm going to do is just worry about shifting the weight of the character and then I'm going to worry about the feet. Now, when I animate like this, a lot of times I will turn off the legs. This is because I really want to concentrate on where the weight hits the ground, which is the feet, and the main weight of the character itself, which is at the hips.
And the legs just bridge those three main points, the hips and then the two feet. So let's get the hips and the feet and then the legs will just follow in automatically. So I'm going to animate the hips. So this character goes over the course of 12 frames, I want to drop the weight of the hips, because what he's doing is he's shifting from one foot to the other. So when he does that he's going to create an imbalance and gravity is going to take over. Again this is internal versus external forces.
He is loosening up the force of his legs and so his hips are going to drop. So I'm going to go ahead and take this character and I'm going to go ahead and move his hips down a little bit, and I'm going to rotate him over. So now he's kind of coming like this and then he's coming up. So you can see that already that gives a much better sense of weight. In fact I can probably bring him down just a little bit more here. So now he coming down and then he's coming up. So now when he comes up, one of the things I'd like to do is actually give a little bit of what's called overlap and follow through.
So I'm going to actually go out to frame 14 and copy his last pose, and then at frame 12 I'm actually going to overshoot that pose by actually bringing him up a little bit. So now, he goes over, up and then he settles down into this final pose. So now, let's go ahead and take a look at how the weight of the hips moves. You can see he drops his weight, he pushes up and overshoots.
Now when he's changing his weight here, one of the things is that all of his weight should be on his right foot. So that foot should stay in place until the weight shifts to the other foot. In other words instead of sliding his foot, I want him to take a step, because that'll give a much better sense of weight. So I'm going to take this right foot and I'm going to keep it in place to about say frame 6, which is about halfway through, and then I'm going to in-between it as normal.
So I'm holding the foot from frame 0-6 and then as he steps up, I'm going to go ahead and create a step. So I'm actually going to move this foot up. I kind of flip it up a little bit. So now he takes a step. So let's take a look at the final version of this part of the animation. As you can see, the character is firmly transferring his weight and he's also taking a step, which again gives a sense of weight.
This has much better sense of weight and volume than the previous animation. So let's go ahead and tweak this a little bit more in the next movie.
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