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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 the basic footsteps of the run blocked out, so let's go ahead and play what we've got so far. And if you notice, the character's feet are moving okay, but the character really doesn't have a lot of weight. There's not really a sense of the character jumping and falling. There's not a lot of squash and stretch. So let's go ahead and add some of that in. In order to see this a little bit more clearly, I am actually going to go into the side viewport. So I am going to highlight my side viewport, and let's take a look at what's happening with this character.
On frame 1, he is about to take a leap; frame 3, he is in the middle of that leap; frame 5, he catches his weight; and in frame 7, he places all of his body weight on that foot. Let's go to frame 3 and animate that pose. So what he has actually done is he has actually pushed himself into the air, but if you notice the motion of my hips, they are actually moving down slightly.
Well, if he's pushing himself up in the air he actually does need to go up, so I am going to grab the hips and move him up a little bit. That should give me a little bit more of a sense of weight. But when he catches himself, he also needs to move down, because what's happening is he is catching his weight. And if you notice, between frame 5 and frame 7 he is actually moving upwards a little bit, and that's really the opposite of what we want, so I'm going to go ahead and push him down a little bit, and I am also going to rotate him forward--just so he feels like he is kind of catching his weight.
So now, he jumps up, comes down. Same thing on the opposite side; he jumps up and then he is going to squash down a little bit and rotate forward. Now let's go ahead and take a look at how this looks in perspective. So now we have got a little bit more up-and-down motion. Now his spine is pretty stiff, but we'll get to that later.
Let's go ahead and do another pass, but this time on the feet. Again, I am going to go into my side viewport because this actually is a little bit easier to see what I'm doing. Watch the motion of this foot as it goes through the run. Now what's happening here is again, he's leaping, but this foot is doing a straight in-between between frame 1 and frame 5, and we really don't want that because what's going to happen is that foot is going to flip up to kind of catch the character's weight.
So it's going to be more like that, and then the character will come down-- we could probably play with it a little bit--and then he's going to land on his toe. And then as he catches his weight, that heel is still up. Well, we need to kind of drop that heel down, so right after that contact position, I am going to go ahead and rotate that heel down to zero.
So it feels like he lands on his toe and then puts his weight right on that heel. And again, I want to make sure it's 0 here, and then as he moves back, that heel is going to lift again. You can see how that heel at least contacts the ground. It gives him a good solid connection with the ground, which is what we are wanting. And let's do the same for the other foot. So I am going to go ahead over and select the left foot and then go to frame 11.
And again, what we are going to do is we are going to flip that foot up, move it forward just a little bit, so he's trying to catch his weight, and I may have to tweak it here. And then I am going to take a look at that heel, and then one frame after the contact position--in this case at frame 14--it goes to 0, stays at 0, and then it lifts up again. So that pretty much should give me a good sense of motion for that lower body, and again, we're just playing with the lower body.
So let's take a look at this. It looks pretty good. In fact, I'm going to turn off the upper geometry, as well as the control, so we can just take a look at what that looks like as just the legs and the hips, which is really all that we've animated; and that looks pretty good. So now that we have all of this in place, we can actually turn on the upper body, which is what I am doing here in the Layers palette, and we can proceed with working with the upper body, which we'll do next.
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