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Watch as author George Maestri employs the basic principles of animation to bring to life simple 3D characters in Maya. Starting with an overview of the character rig, this course provides guidelines for arranging stock characters into strong poses and explains how to generate locomotion between poses in a modular fashion. The course includes step-by-step instructions on animating realistic gestures, walks, runs, facial expressions, and dialogue, and culminates with an animated scene built entirely from scratch.
Prerequisite courses: Maya 2011 Essential Training.
I've showed you a couple of strategies for affecting the character of a walk. Another way to affect the character of the walk is to be very specific about the poses. And so by doing that, you have a little bit more control over the whole walk. So, let's do a pose-by-pose walk as well. Now, I'm going to start with a walk that's a little bit faster than the one we've been working with. This is a 12-frame walk. In fact, let's go ahead and play this. And as you can see, it's also a little bit longer steps.
So he takes slightly longer steps and he's taking slightly faster steps, because it's only 12 frames per step rather than 16. So what we are going to do is take this walk and exaggerate it a bit, by going through the walk a pose at a time. So I'm going to start at the beginning of the walk. Let's just start at the contact position. As you can see, this character is pretty much straight up and down. Let's give him a little bit more determination about where he's walking.
So I'm going to push him forward a bit and kind of push him into that walk. Now, I am going to start doing this by going into my side view, so I have kind of an orthographic view of my character, and I am going to start with the hips. So I am going to select the hips, and then I'm going to rotate them forward, quite a bit, maybe about 12 degrees or so, and then, push that character forward. I want to get him really into that walk, almost to the point where I am kind of pulling up his heel.
So once I get that, then I can lift the heel to make it match those hips. I can even rotate those hips a little bit further forward. Now, when I rotate the hips forward, he kind of feels out of balance, so let's go ahead and straighten him out. I am going to hit the Q key just to do select. So I am going to select one, and then Shift+Select, two, three. So I have selected all three spine joints, and then I'm going to hit Rotate, so he's reasonably vertical.
Now I am going to exaggerate this a little bit more by giving him more determined arm swing as well. So I am going to go ahead and snag the left shoulder and push that back. His arms are really going to swing on this, and let me see if I can get the right shoulder. Yes, let's snag the right shoulder. Now, typically, I would have to jump out or maybe grab it in another viewport, but it seems like I got it here. And then I am going to push that arm forward as well. And again, I'm just playing with the standard walk. So now, I've got a really strong first pose.
So this is basically what I started with, and then I pushed that pose to give me a much stronger sense of action. Now, if we take a look at this, you can see that I've got a really strong line of action. I've kind of got this line going all the way down, and this makes for a much stronger visual, a much stronger silhouette. So I'm going to go to the opposite frame, to frame 13, and I want to make sure I duplicate that pose. So let's go ahead and use our little Drawing tool here. I'm going to just sketch out that torso.
I want to make sure I get the position of the hips as well, as the bend of the spine. I want to make sure I get my arms in approximately at the same position on both sides, and then I want to make sure I get that leg, and I always like to mark out the back of that heel and make sure that I get the angle about right. And I can always just mark this out as well. So now once I have that, I am going to go ahead and move this off here. Then all I have to do is match that on the other side, and you can see how much difference I've created just by pushing this one pose.
So let's go ahead and start by pushing the hips to where we want it to be. I am going to rotate those hips forward, and I'm going to rotate it so his chest is actually in front of that line, because I am going to rotate the spine back to meet that line. So I am going to go ahead and select one, Shift+Select, two, three spine joints, and then hit Rotate, and then I am going to arch that back. And again, see how easily that matches what I had before. Then I am going to go down to this heel and make sure I lift that up, and then let's go ahead and get the arms.
I am going to go ahead and move this arm up and out just a little bit, and then let me see if I can get this right shoulder. Let's go ahead into Wireframe mode. I might be able to get it in Wireframe. There it is, okay. So I have got that right shoulder, and I am going to go ahead and move that back, so that the hand is about the same position. And I've got it pretty much approximate there, so I am going to go ahead and erase my guidelines. So now, I have a pretty good starting position. So you can see here, even with just those two poses changed, I've already got a stronger walk. But we can go even further with this, so let's go ahead and add some more poses in the next lesson.
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