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One mistake that beginners often make is that they don't treat the figure in a sufficiently flexible manner, and by this, I mean that you should be comfortable breaking their joints, like breaking their limbs. It sounds really violent, but it really isn't. So let me show you a basic rig, again, and normally what people are comfortable doing is moving within certain ranges of parameters like this, feel safe enough. Then the problem is that they can also be quite stiff. So, let me just undo all that.
And I'm going to go into this symbol here where I've animated a very simple scene and this is not going to win any animation festivals, but this will show you the principle of breaking limbs. Now it's just the character going from a simple pose into a wave. Now if what's happening here, if you'll study his physical left arm or the screen right arm. Watch the angle of this arm here, these joints. As we move, they break. They go from being bending to facing the left side of the screen, to facing the right side of the screen.
What this does is it makes that limb feel very flexible. Even a simple, primitive little maquette like this, starts to look like it might have some vitality to it. Now that we've broken that limb, we keep it in this position until the second point up here, or we break it again. And then we go into a wave cycle. Now, could we break it again? Probably hard to justify if he's just waving like this, but we could certainly swing the hand back and forth, but that's not quite the same thing. Now certainly not quite as extreme, but we see these two limb breaks.
And that's more than enough at least for that arm to give it some juiciness. The left arm isn't breaking at all. And again I'm trying to figure out if there's any point in there where we could break it. Maybe here. It might look a little extreme. Possibly we get away with that. That's catching the eye too and then we get this arm swing here which is too much. The whole point is to make the audience look at the wave, not the rest of the figure. That's not too bad. So you see, even, we can do very subtle breaks, they don't all have to be forty five degree angles, but this would be more than sufficient to loosen up your character.
It doesn't mean you should apply this willy-nilly, you do it where it's appropriate, and here it's very appropriate because it helps to lead, it shows the elbow leading into the action, before breaking into the wave, and then you could animate further, a wave cycle of whatever you like. We've already helped to cure him of that stiffness that plagues many, many animators.
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