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Animating a walk: Working with the spine

From: Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

Video: Animating a walk: Working with the spine

Now let's go ahead and start animating the upper part of the character. We are going to start with the spine and then later we're going to go ahead and work on the arms and the head. But for this one we will just focus on the spine. So let's go ahead and turn on the upper part of the character. I'm going to turn on the upper controls and these are just layers, so I am going to turn on the Controls Upper layers as well as the Upper Geometry layer. So now let's go ahead and just scrub through what we have. So I'm going to go ahead and just play.

Animating a walk: Working with the spine

Now let's go ahead and start animating the upper part of the character. We are going to start with the spine and then later we're going to go ahead and work on the arms and the head. But for this one we will just focus on the spine. So let's go ahead and turn on the upper part of the character. I'm going to turn on the upper controls and these are just layers, so I am going to turn on the Controls Upper layers as well as the Upper Geometry layer. So now let's go ahead and just scrub through what we have. So I'm going to go ahead and just play.

As you can see, that spine is totally stiff. That's really not bending or flexing at all so let's go ahead and correct that by doing a series of rotations. So I'm going to scroll to frame 1 and in frame 1 we have the passing position, so we have the right hip forward the left hip back. Remember the shoulders of the character counter rotate to match the hips. So I'm going to go ahead and select 1, 2, 3 spine controls here and the first thing I am going to do is rotate that spine so that it basically is opposite of what the hips are.

So I'm going to go ahead and rotate this in Y so that when the right leg is forward the left shoulder is forward, and in fact I'm going to rotate this about negative 9 degrees per spine to get this kind of rotation. You can see this is one of the reasons why I turned off the head, so I could see this angle here, and this is really what I'm kind of looking a,t is how does that match to the legs.

So once I have this then all I need to do is go ahead and match that. Let's go ahead and set a keyframe and then scroll forward to frame 17, which is the next extended position. Then instead of negative 9 we are just going to rotate each one of these 9, and again set a keyframe. So now you can see that his shoulders are pretty much-- now he's kind of tending to face forward more and again we can do the exact opposite at the very last frame and go to negative 9.

So just by doing that you can see when I play you get a little bit more flexibility to the spine and that actually gives him a little bit more life. So now we're going to go ahead and focus on how he looks from the side. We are going to focus on basically the x-rotation which does the forward/back motion. So what we've got here is we have got some forces happening. So as he goes forward, he is falling.

So when he falls forward, he's going to also bend forward a little bit. We can exaggerate like this, but really we want to do it just enough so that it looks natural, somewhere around? I'm figuring between 2 1/2 and 3 degrees or so. So now he bends forward and then as he comes up and falls forward we're going to arch his spine just a little bit. So I'm going to go here to about frame 11 and just arch his back just a little bit.

So now I've got that. Let's go ahead and repeat this on the opposite side. So I am going to the next passing position, which is at 21, and again I'm going to rotate him forward, somewhere between 2 and a half and three, and let's just go 2.75 and then let's go ahead and go a little bit past that extended position there and rotate him back.

So from the side you can see we're getting this sense of weight, so when he falls forward we're getting a little bit more of an arch to the spine. We kind of get the sense that he is falling forward and then when he stands up, I want him to be pretty straight. So we are going almost from a compressed to an exaggerated, extended position here. So now there is one more thing that we need to take into consideration and that's the spine bend from the front. Now when he is in the extended position here, his spine is pretty much going to be vertical.

So when we get to the passing position the hips are going to be pulled down by gravity and it's going to pull them out of center. So basically, everything is pulled to the right. So what we can do is we can actually rotate the shoulders a little bit in the opposite direction to counteract for that. So now we've got, it goes like that, and then we can do the same thing at the next passing position and just rotate them slightly in the opposite direction.

So now when we play that, we get a pretty good cycle, but notice there is a little bit of pop at the end of that and that's because I need to rotate those out. So I need to go ahead and zero out X and Z for all of those. So now once we have that, we can take a look at the spine. So let's go and take a look at the cycle here. You can see we have a lot more flexibility in the spine.

So now that we have the spine in place, we have the guides also in place to work on the arms as well as the rest of the body.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

65 video lessons · 9892 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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