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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.
Now, I have to admit that I've been around for while in animation, and way back in the old days, we used to have things other than flat screens. We'd have large Trinitron tubes made of glass, and I got in the habit of actually drawing on the screen. I started, actually, as a cell animator, and when I transitioned to CG, one of the things I liked to do was to take a dry erase marker, and actually draw on the screen to get poses, or lines of action, and that sort of stuff.
Now, as screens have gotten more modern, we now have screens made of plastic, and it's not a good idea to actually use markers on an LCD screen, so I have kind of adapted this technique, and I use what's called the Screen Drawing tool. Now, typically what I do is I use a program called Linktivity Presenter. Now, this is a free program, and you can actually get it here at linktivity.com/presenter. Now, as of the recording of this course, this is freely available.
I can't guarantee that this will always be available, but there are a number of programs that allow you to do this, and this is just one of those. And what it does is it allows you to actually draw over the screen. So if I wanted to sketch out a pose, I can take this Pen tool, and I can draw over the screen of my character, and I can get whatever sort of pose I want, and I'm going to be using this in the course. And then once I've drawn that pose, I can go back to the Select mode, and I can move the character, or do whatever, and that screen drawing will stay in place.
Now, I can certainly erase that here by just hitting Erase All. So typically what I do with this tool is I use this to sketch out poses, or to remember where parts of the character are at. And it's actually a little bit more useful than using a ghosting tool, because a lot of times, when we ghost, we're actually only ghosting the rig of the character, because we're not animating the entire character; we're actually animating the rig. So this can be a good supplement to ghosting, and really help you to sketch out poses, line of action, or whatever.
So if you want to, you can download Linktivity, or there are a number of other tools that I'm sure you can find that do very similar things.
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