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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.
Once we get the left arm moving, the right arm will be even easier, so let's go ahead and do that. I am going to select the right shoulder, and what we want to do is basically mirror what we just did on the left arm. So, when the character's right foot is forward, the left shoulder and left arm is forward, and the opposite. So this pose we want to mirror with this arm on this side. So let's go ahead and start at frame 13 instead of frame 5, and let's get that very first position.
This is actually the strongest arm position, so we want to make sure that we get this right, so I typically start with that arm in front of the body. So I'm going to go ahead and start setting keyframes here. I am setting a keyframe for the right shoulder, the right elbow, the right wrist. I want to make sure that I get that hand in front of the body, and then also, I want to make sure that I curl up those fingers.
Make sure I get a keyframe on that. Pretty good. I think I want this out just a little bit. There we go. Now what I am going to do is I am going to jump between frame 5--actually, it's pretty good because actually I don't have any more keyframes. You'll see that I actually made it pretty, pretty close to what I had before. So frame 13 looks about right, so let's go and get frame 5, which is where the arm is back.
So I'm going to go ahead and select that shoulder, move it back, and straighten out that elbow just a little bit, as well as that wrist. In this case, it's a little bit of the opposite, so I've got this arm as moving forward, so this elbow and the hand will drag back.
So at frame 9, I'm going to have this a little bit straight. So, see it straightens out. Then it comes here. Again, the character is going to squash, so I want to make sure I bend this hand up to accentuate that squash, and then it's going to straighten out and move back just a bit.
So I'm coming from here, frame 5. The arm is straightening out, starting to bend, and now the arm is starting to move back a little bit. So once I have this, again, what I can do is the same thing that I've done with the other arm, is once I get frame 17, I can copy, move to frame 1, and paste again.
But again, I need to do those a frame at a time, so I need to take the elbow, copy, paste, and the same for that wrist-- frame 17, copy; frame 1, paste. So that should do pretty well. So let's take a look at this and see how well it plays. So that looks pretty good. So by extending the run in this manner, we've done a couple of things.
First of all, we saved ourselves a lot of time and energy. We didn't have to re-animate all that much in order to get a lot of time on the screen. And also, the run is consistent, which can help in certain situations. And also, this acts as a really good test of the run cycle. Sometimes the run will look good when the character is running in place, but when you actually get him running across the screen, it might not look right, so this is actually a really good test for this. Also, these sorts of techniques lend themselves to other types of cycles that you can use in many other situations with character animation and other types of animation, so go ahead and use these to your advantage in other scenes.
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