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Blender is a powerful open-source tool for 2D and 3D graphics, full-on animation, compositing, and post-production. It is used to create movies and special effects, even in HD. In Blender Essential Training, Roger Wickes offers new Blender users a thorough explanation of its interface, tools, and features. He also demonstrates practical techniques and shows how to access the online and openndash;content resources of this amazing tool. Specific 3D techniques covered include navigating in 3D space, using cameras and lights, and rendering. Roger demonstrates how to rig, animate, and composite a character over live action. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now, it's time to make our character walk. Walk-cycles are very complex. There are lots of things going on. I'm just going to try to show you these essentials. Many people spend years studying animation, myself included, to try to come up with realistic ways to make your characters believable. First of all you can use a reference image. You can also use motion capture. That I have spent quite a bit of time studying as well. But for reference images make sure that you have your background image coming up here and this is an outside plate that was shot of me walking up to the building.
There are 430 frames that we are going to animate. Make sure Auto Refresh is turned on and that it's a movie. This is 25% reduction; there is another movie in that same one that's the full HD version in case you want to work with that. Working in full HD just has a lot more detail. All right, so first we want to key the location of the IKs in the rest position. This is called the Reference Position and what you want to do is establish a repeatable position that the character can go back through, so that you always can kind of get your bearings and kind of reset.
So we are going to go ahead and press I and Loc, and that locks in an IPO for every Empty. Now that Empty is always at Frame 1, I can always go back to and copy these keys that are shown right here. All right, then we are also going to be moving the Armature, but we are not going to be moving the Armature object during the walk-cycle. During the walk-cycle we are going to be moving the whole body, and so that's the root. So what we want to do is create a new action called Walk, and we don't need these hand bones here.
So we can b and then left drag, click box, select all these channels and press X to erase those channels. What we do want to do is select the root bone and key its location and rotation, because your body sways and turns as it's moving through space. So now we are going Up Arrow a couple of times and we can see that I enter the frame right around, Frame 15 here, you can start to see me come into play, actually a little bit before that Frame 3.
So really are pretty much coming right away. The first foot to hit is my right foot that clicks right there at this frame. So what I want to do is I want to go ahead and move my character from the rest position into what I call the Step Out Position, which is the first major pose that your character will reach as he starts to walk. So this is kind of the first step, and that gets him into a moving kind of position. So we are going to move the IK target for the right foot out and key that location of that target, and then we are going to right-click on the root bone and move the guy out and a little bit to the right, because as you are walking now you start to put all your weight on the right foot.
So once he looks pretty good and we are going to drag him down a little bit because the weight is coming down on that right foot. And once he is in a pretty good position we are going to key that location and rotation. So now we have two keys for both the root bone as well as for the IK. Let me drag that over here, with a pretty smooth transition in between the two of them. So now if we play this motion, we can transition from the rest position and to apart where we have now made contact with the right foot.
Now let's just keep working on the right foot, we see that the right foot actually stays in place until right about this frame right here, and then starts to pick up from here. So right at this frame we want to right- click on this key and drag it over it to match on this frame. So now the IK stays in that position for this frame range. Once we have done that we see that the left foot now is starting to move. So we are going to select this right foot IK target and I'm just going to go ahead and flip to Layer 13 only and that reveals only my IKs around that layer.
So backing up, now what happens to the left foot? Well, as the right foot comes forward we have to assume the left foot now has launched off from this position. And it's starting and is moving through space and comes on the frame right here and right there at Frame 21 makes contact. So we are going to move this guy out there because we are already at Frame 21. We are going to move him out one stride length. Normally your stride length is half of your height, I'm going to guess that this is about 1, 2, 3 units or so for a six-foot person.
And we are using one Blender, using just one foot, and we key the location there. Meanwhile the skeleton has come forward, so if we Shift-click, now we are seeing the mesh and the skeleton, still being deforms. Now we'd right-click on the root bone and move this guy forward and you can see how the bones come into play. And he is going to rest a little bit. And now he is walking along. So we are going to key this location here as well, and now we have pretty much our first sliding or skating walk-cycle.
What we want to do next now is pick the feet up, we don't want to shuffle and wear out our shoes. So we are going to look at this IK and notice only the Y axis is changing. So now we have to make it into a step to where it's lifted up. So about half way through this cycle, we're just going to lift this IK up and key the location up there. If we want to get fancy we could key just the Z location and let the X, and the Y go.
That's kind of getting ahead of ourselves. And then we want to do the same then for the first opening frames for this motion, for the right foot. So the first we've framed it may look kind of silly, but we'll keep working at it. And that's what you do to key the locations of the IKs and the bones to match your reference footage. So let's come back when that's all done.
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