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Character Animation Fundamentals in 3ds Max demonstrates the basic principles of character animation that help bring simple 3D characters to life. Starting with an overview of the character rig, author George Maestri provides guidelines for creating strong poses and explains how to animate from pose to pose in an organized fashion. The course also covers locomotion—animating realistic gestures, walks, and runs; explores the basics of facial expressions and dialogue; and culminates with an animated scene built entirely from scratch.
When you first start animating characters, one of the first things you'll need to learn is how to pose characters So let's go over a few of the finer points of what makes up a good pose for a character. Now, the first thing that you need to be aware of is what's called the line of action. Now, what that is, is if you take a pose, you'll see that each pose, if it's a good pose, it'll have a line. The character will follow a line of action, and this will lead the audience's eye to the character; it'll be pleasing to the eye, it may draw attention to something, but a good line of action is really important for a good pose.
Here's another character. You can see the line of action is downward; you can see that the character is a little bit sad. And then we can also have line of actions that help with describing actions. So for example, if this character is going to toss a ball, this isn't a really a very good line of action; it's really just straight up and down. If we extend that line, give him a really backwards reach, you will have a much stronger animation, so when he throws the ball, that line of action actually will follow his body through.
Another important thing is called Silhouetting. Again, if you have a character in a pose, typically the pose will read well if you can see it in silhouette. This is because the audience's eyes tend to draw out the outline of the character first, and then look at what's inside. Here is that exact same pose at a different angle. So all I did was I moved that camera a bit, and if you look at this, it looks confusing, even compared to the silhouette.
And if you look at this in silhouette, you don't even really know what's going on with this character, because you don't have a strong silhouette. Here are some other poses. Now, again, this pose will have a strong silhouette. You can see that things are out from the body, and that the outline of the character reads really well, as compared to something like this, which is just, again, the camera returned a little bit. This doesn't read; you don't really know what the character is doing here. Here, you do. The last thing I want to talk about is weight and balance.
Any pose you create for your character needs to have balance and weight. Now, typically when you pose a character, the character will come kind of rigid, like this, and this isn't really what I would call a balanced pose. It's very symmetrical; there's really no sense of weight to the character. He almost looks like a mannequin or something. And you can create Weight by distributing the weight through the character. So, you can see that now the weight is on one foot, the character has a bit of an arc; this is much more pleasing than something like this.
When you do something like this, you want to make sure the character's weight is balanced; that he's not going to tip over. Something like this. So if you push him too far in one direction, again, he is going to appear unbalanced. The pose is not going to be stable; it's not going to be pleasing to the eye. The audience is going to say, wait; something is wrong here. So when you create poses, you want make sure that the poses have good line of action, they silhouette well, and that they also have weight and balance. So with that in mind, let's go ahead and start actually posing characters for animation.
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