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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.
So now, let's go ahead and animate a simple run. Now, we are going to animate this very similar to how we animated the walk. We are going to start with the hips and the feet and do one pass, and then we're going to do the upper body on the second pass. Now, I'm working with my simple character rig, and before we get started, we need to do a little bit of housekeeping here. The first thing I need to do is I need to set my timeline to the proper length. Now for this run, I've decided to do 8 frames per step for a total of 16 frames for the cycle.
In other words, two steps are going to be 16 frames at 8 each. So we're starting this at frame one. So in order to allow for 16 frames, we need to go 1 plus 16 for total of 17 frames, and I am going to type that number right in here. Now I have my timeline to the proper length of 16 frames. Now, the other thing I need to do is go ahead and select both of these knee locators and make sure that I pull those forward, so that way the knees are always pointing forward.
Otherwise, the knees will kind of flop around, and we don't want that to happen. So now let's get started on this first pose. Now the first pose I am going to do is actually the passing position, which is actually kind of the opposite for how we did the walk. In the walk, we usually start with the contact position; in the run we are going to start with the passing position-- that'll make it a little bit easier. So I'm going to start by selecting the left foot, and I want to make sure that all the translations are at 0, and I am going to go ahead and hit S to set a keyframe.
Then I am going to move up to the hips. I'm going to go ahead and grab those and move those forward. Now, what I'm trying to do here is I'm trying to get a good extension to that leg. In fact, what I'm doing is I am pulling this so far forward that the heels of the character actually are lifting off the ground. I actually want that, because I want a really good extension of the legs, so I am going to pull it so it's about like this. Then I am going to do one more thing, which is rotate the body forward.
He really has to lean into the run in order to make it look realistic. So somewhere around between 16 and 17, I am actually going to put this at 16 rotation in X and just make sure that I've got a pretty good extension there. Now because I've lifted the heels up off the ground, I want to actually make that a little bit more realistic, so I am going to grab this little circle around the ankle, which is my heel lifter, and I am going to lift that heel up just so it kind of unbends that knee.
So if this was down, that knee is totally straight, which we don't want. We want the knee to be slightly bent, which is somewhere around 14 or 15 degrees. I am going to go ahead and put that at 14, make sure I set a keyframe for that, and then all I have to do is do the other foot, which is the right foot. Now, this foot is getting ready to leap. So basically, we are at the start of a leap. What that means is that this leg is going to be up and forward, but also, that foot is going to be rotated down a bit.
So I am going to go ahead and rotate that foot somewhere around there, and then I am going to use my position to position that leg as far up as I can without it being anatomically incorrect. So let's push that leg as far up as we can and make sure it still looks realistic, so something like that. So now once we have this in the proper place, I am going to go ahead and hit S again to set a keyframe. Now, before I move on to the next pose, I want to lock in all of my elements here, so I am going to go ahead and select the right heel, make sure I set a keyframe for that, the right toe, and the left toe.
So what I've got now is I've got keyframes for everything on the right and left foot, as well as the hips. I want to make sure I set a keyframe for those as well. So now once I have all of these keyframes set, I can move on to the next pose.
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