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Animating a run: The upper body

From: Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

Video: Animating a run: The upper body

So, now that we have the lower body animated, let's go ahead and work our way up the character. We're going to start with the spine. So before we do that, let's just take a look at what the character is doing at this point. So we've got the lower body animating, and it looks like that spine is really stiff, so let's go ahead and give that some flexibility. So I'm going to select my one, two, three spine controls here, and we're going to animate those pretty much all at once.

Animating a run: The upper body

So, now that we have the lower body animated, let's go ahead and work our way up the character. We're going to start with the spine. So before we do that, let's just take a look at what the character is doing at this point. So we've got the lower body animating, and it looks like that spine is really stiff, so let's go ahead and give that some flexibility. So I'm going to select my one, two, three spine controls here, and we're going to animate those pretty much all at once.

So the first thing I want to do is make sure I set a keyframe at 1 and at 9, just to kind of lock them in just a little bit. The first thing that you'll notice is that as the character is moving, the hips are rocking back and forth at frame 5 and frame 13. So when the right foot is forward, the left hand is forward. It's just the same as a walk. We want to create the shoulders moving in opposition to the hips, so I'm going to select those controls and I'm going to rotate his shoulders a little bit forward.

So now when this foot is forward, the opposite shoulders is forward, and let's do the same thing for the other side. So now we should have that, and one of the things we need to do is actually give an end keyframe, but because we're not doing translation, we don't have to worry so much about him moving out of place. I can just take the keys at frame 1, copy them, and paste them at frame 17.

So now his shoulders are moving along the vertical axis in the proper direction. But we still don't have a lot of looseness to the spine. In fact, I'm going to go ahead into my side view, so we can actually get a little more flexibility in the spine. So again I'm going to select my one, two, three spine controls. And then at frame 1, I'm going to go ahead and rotate him so he has a little bit more arched, because what I really want to do is get a nice line of action from that heel all the way up to the head.

If I want to accentuate it, I can do it like that, but I don't want to accentuate it too much, but just enough to give it a little bit of flexibility to that spine. And in fact, I can copy this and paste it to frame 9 and frame 17. So what we've got is he is leaping up here, landing, and then quashing. So when he leaps at frame 3, I want to arch his back just a little bit more, because what's happening is that he is resisting that forward motion.

So he is being pushed forward, and his head wants to stay back, which is going to bend that spine back just a little bit. In fact, we can almost bend but we'll hyperextend it, so there. And then as he falls forward, the spine is also going to flex forward. So we're going to flex the spine forward a little bit this way, so we can do that same on the opposite side as well. So bend him forward at the height of it and then squash him down and bend him in the opposite direction here.

When you actually look at it frame by frame, it seems a little bit extreme, but when you actually play it, it's pretty good. One of things we have, his head is actually kind of bobbing around a little bit too much, and we can actually kind of treat that almost as an extension of the spine. And one of things I like to do is just to make sure his head stays pointed forward, so I'm going to go ahead and set a keyframe here at frame 1. Make sure I have that same key at frame 9 and 17.

Then, as he goes up, I'm going to try and keep his eyes facing forward, and right there--this is actually the real key one-- I want to make sure that he is looking where he is going. So again, I want to kind of tilt it down just slightly here and then at frame 15, I want to make sure he is facing forward.

So now I should have this--a little bit more realistic. But his arms are still out. Well, we can get those in the next section. So what we've done here is we've animated his spine so that the shoulders mirror the hips, and we also have some front-back flexibility to the spine.

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This video is part of

Image for Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya
Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

65 video lessons · 10012 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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  1. 22m 18s
    1. Introduction
      1m 10s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 8s
    3. Character rig overview: Simple character
      6m 19s
    4. Character rig overview: Full character
      7m 30s
    5. Using other rigs
      48s
    6. Using screen drawing tools for Windows
      3m 9s
    7. Using screen drawing tools for the Mac
      2m 14s
  2. 23m 47s
    1. Creating strong poses
      3m 27s
    2. Creating custom MEL scripts to help pose characters
      4m 39s
    3. Using layers to select characters
      1m 10s
    4. Learning the basics of posing characters
      10m 7s
    5. Creating stock poses
      4m 24s
  3. 25m 11s
    1. Understanding forces and character motion
      2m 13s
    2. Understanding drag
      5m 51s
    3. Working with secondary motion
      5m 33s
    4. Bringing the character to life
      4m 21s
    5. Refining the animation
      7m 13s
  4. 39m 30s
    1. Keyframing initial poses
      4m 21s
    2. Creating the blocking pass
      7m 42s
    3. Moving holds
      5m 27s
    4. Animating weight shift
      4m 21s
    5. Animating pose to pose transitions
      7m 46s
    6. Animating a wave
      9m 53s
  5. 42m 15s
    1. Analyzing a walk
      5m 43s
    2. Setting up a character for a basic walk
      1m 22s
    3. Animating a walk: The feet
      5m 55s
    4. Animating a walk: The lower body
      8m 23s
    5. Animating a walk: Making the cycle symmetrical
      3m 10s
    6. Animating a walk: Working with the spine
      5m 59s
    7. Animating a walk: Arm motion
      7m 28s
    8. Animating a walk: The head
      4m 15s
  6. 24m 15s
    1. The importance of the passing position
      4m 52s
    2. Working with foot placement
      3m 50s
    3. Adding character to a walk: Contact position
      5m 10s
    4. Adding character to a walk: Passing position
      3m 20s
    5. Adding character to a walk: Finalizing
      7m 3s
  7. 52m 27s
    1. A run in four poses
      2m 39s
    2. Animating a run: The first pose
      4m 31s
    3. Animating a run: The second pose
      7m 17s
    4. Animating a run: Mirroring the basic poses
      10m 59s
    5. Animating a run: Hip and foot motion
      5m 12s
    6. Animating a run: The upper body
      5m 2s
    7. Animating a run: Left arm motion
      5m 31s
    8. Animating a run: Right arm motion
      4m 39s
    9. Animating a run: Cycling the animation
      6m 37s
  8. 1h 20m
    1. Animating blinks
      7m 56s
    2. Animating changes in eye direction
      5m 6s
    3. Animating a head turn
      4m 35s
    4. Working with audio
      3m 38s
    5. Overview of mouth controls
      2m 44s
    6. Animating vowels
      15m 14s
    7. Animating consonants: B, D, and G
      7m 2s
    8. Animating consonants: F, M, and S
      8m 22s
    9. Animating lip sync: Assigning phonemes
      10m 43s
    10. Animating lip sync: The head
      9m 44s
    11. Animating lip sync: The body
      5m 10s
  9. 55m 55s
    1. Creating the main poses
      4m 18s
    2. Blocking poses to dialogue
      7m 1s
    3. In-between blocking pass
      3m 27s
    4. Animating moving holds
      5m 19s
    5. Creating weight
      6m 19s
    6. Adding secondary motion
      10m 0s
    7. Animating dialogue
      8m 12s
    8. Finalizing the animation
      11m 19s
  10. 24s
    1. Goodbye
      24s

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