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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.
At this point, we've got one extreme contact position and another extreme passing position. So by making these two poses extreme, we've actually made this walk all lot more extreme. But we can do a little bit more. Another pose we can play with is a cushion position, where the character puts his weight on his foot. So we've got that. It's going to be three frames in-- remember, we have a 12-frame cycle, so half will be six frames in, a fourth is three frames. So we're going to go from frame 1, 1, 2, 3 to frame 4, and now we are going to get a much stronger cushion position, and that's where the character's weight comes down on his foot.
So the first thing we are going to do is we are going to take the hips of the character and move them down, pretty far. And just by doing that, you'll see that he kind of cushions in and then pops up. So by bringing him down further this way, he pops up further when he goes to that passing position. So let's contrast this. Let's take one more look at it. He goes down and then up. So the other side is the old way, which is really not much, and it's really not that exaggerated.
So just by moving him down, we give a lot more spring to that step. But we can push this even a little bit further. One of the things I'm noticing here is that this heel is kind of lifting off the ground, so the first thing I want to do is select that left heel and make sure it's at 0, so he's got a really nice flat foot on the ground, and then as he pops up, it lifts up. I want that really flat on the ground. And then I am just going to go ahead and take those hips and rotate them forward again, trying to get a squash.
So as he moves forward, if I get more of a squash going this way, if this head comes down further, it means it comes further up when he stretches up into that passing position. Again, I am doing squash and stretch here, so squash, stretch. But let's also play with the spine, because really want to do is we want to squash that spine as well. So I am going to select his spine. I am going to Shift+Select one, two, three spine joints, and then rotate those forward as well.
So now his spine is flexing forward, and then as he pops up, we get a lot more spring. Now we can play with this pose even more by working with his foot. Now we want to get this character as compact as possible. When this foot is out here, it doesn't make him as compact as if it's in here. So I am going to move this foot in a little bit. Now, one thing I'm noticing here is that this heel is still lifted off of that foot, so like I did with the other side, I am going to make that 0, and then rotate that foot around and make sure it's off the ground and kind of tuck it in a little bit.
So now you can see he's much more compact at this point, and then he pops up. Much better! So, on the other side, well, we don't have much on the other side. We've kind of got this and then the other side is pretty much the same. So let's go ahead and do this exact same thing on the other side. Now, I am going to do this in my side viewport, so that way I get a much cleaner duplicate. So, what I am going to do is I am going to go ahead and bring in my Screen Drawing tool, and I want to make sure that I get that position of the body pretty close, as well as the position of that foot, and let's make sure the keens are also in that same position.
Now I haven't touched the arms at all, so I am not going to worry about those. And now let's go ahead from frame 4 to the next cushion position. So it's 13+3, which will be 16. So let's go ahead and move his hips down, rotate them forward. Now, I'm going to get the spine into place, so I am going to Shift+Select each spine. So I go into Select mode to select the spine and then back into Rotate mode to rotate them, and let me readjust this a little bit.
I am going to select that heel, zero it out, so I can play with the foot, and then rotate that foot and try and put it into position here. Pretty close. So, and again, those hips to move back just a little bit. So I am going to go ahead and erase that. Let's move that off here. So now, pretty cool! Okay, so that looks pretty good.
So let's take a look at this. Let's just play this in perspective, so we can see what it looks like. Okay, so we've got a few more things that we can tweak. I am just going to go through some of these very quickly, and then we'll see the final result. One is the head. As he comes down, he still kind of needs to be looking where he's going, so I am going to push that head back a little bit, so he is kind of still looking forward, and that will give it a little bit more of a natural look. It will give his head a little bit more flexibility as well as his neck, and that will kind of make him work a lot better.
And I seem to have no gotten that, so I am going to go ahead and copy this pose and paste it at 25. So now I have a decent cycle, so let's take a look at that. Okay, so some final tweaks. We can add some drag and some secondary motion to the arms, but I am not going to go through that. Let's just go ahead and take a look at the final product. So I am going to go ahead and open the scene called Exaggerated_Walk_Final, and this is my final version.
So you can see I've put a little a bit more drag on the hands and kind of tweaked it just a little bit more. But this is the exact same walk that we did. We started with a basic 12-frame walk, and then we exaggerated every single pose. Once we did that, we have now a much stronger and more exaggerated character walk. So by really modifying the poses, you can give your walks a lot more character.
Now this doesn't have to be this exaggerated type of walk. You can do these for a sad walk. You can do it for a proud walk. You can do it for a John Wayne or a Charlie Chaplin walk. But what we're doing here is basically just going a pose at a time through the walk and adding in the character's personality and poses, and that will make your walks a lot better.
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