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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 have the animation blocked out, and we're starting to in-between the poses, but we really don't have any moving holds, which is what we'll do in this lesson. So let's go ahead and play what we have, and then let's start working on it. (Character: Ha, it worked! Prepare to meet your doom!) Now, as we've said before, this animation looks little floaty. It's not really holding any of the poses that are important to this animation. So what we want to do is take all of the key poses and extend them a little bit so that they hold long enough for the audience to actually see them and so that they read.
So the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to select everything in my character, and I'll see that I have all of these poses blocked out on the timeline. So let's work through this one pose at a time and add in moving holds as they are needed. So the first moving hold we need to do is for this very first pose. So I've got this pose here at frame 1 where he's looking offscreen, and I want to make sure that registers. If I just keep it the way it is, he is going to start moving into that 'ha' before he even says it, and I don't really want that.
So I'm going to go back to frame 1 and just copy all of the keyframes-- now remember, I have everything selected here--and then just paste. And again I'm just right-clicking on the timeline. Now he doesn't start moving up into that 'ha' until frame 4. So we have a couple of frames where we're holding this first pose. Now in order to get a little bit more realism, I like to actually have a moving hold. So what I do is I select this last frame and I figure out where are the hips going.
Now typically the hips will tend to sink a little bit, and it could actually also act as a little bit of anticipation to what comes next, which is where it comes up. So the character is moving up here, so I want to move him down to contrast that beforehand. So I'm going to move him down and maybe even just tilt him forward just a little bit. So now he moves up. Now when he says, "Ha," again I want to hold him at the top of that.
So I want that pose to read. So I'm going to select everything in that character. You can see it starts of frame 8 and then the word 'ha' and somewhere around frame 11 or 12. So let's go ahead and copy, right- click, Copy, go to frame 12, and paste, and again, I just want him to be up in that position here. Now this is a little too much. It actually to feels a little frozen, so I'm actually going to go ahead and drop his hips down just a little bit, so he is going to kind of jump up and then sync down a little bit, which will give him a little bit more of a natural motion.
Then he moves almost immediately into what I call an anticipation, which is the pose that he has before he comes up into this proud pose at 24. Now, this is a very important pose, and I want to hold this for a longer period of time. So I'm going to make sure I select everything in the character, copy this, and then paste it a little bit further down of a timeline, which should hold that pose. So let's see how this scrubs through.
If feels like this is actually coming a little too slow into this pose, and we can actually hold this pose for longer. So what I'm going to do is just Shift+Select the pose at 24 and slide it over a little bit, to either 21 or 22. Let's just go ahead and scrub through this. So, this looks pretty good. I can actually hold this a little bit longer. So I'm going to select keys at 28 and drop them back to about 30.
So that feels about right in terms of an in-between, but now I've got this really long space where I've got this important pose here where he has got his finger up. Then the next pose is where he has got his foot off the ground. Now, I really don't want that to in- between over a course of about 30 frames. I would like to actually have him come up into this pose a lot more quickly. So again, I'm going to do a hold, and I'm going to make sure I have everything selected, copy the pose at frame 36, move to about frame 60 or so, and paste.
So now he is kind of holding this. So now we've created some moving holds which should allow the animation to read better. Let's take a look at what we have now. (Character: Ha, it worked! Prepare to meet your doom! Ha!) So this looks pretty good. We have our poses reading better. So let's go ahead and add the next layer of refinement onto this animation.
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