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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.
Now that we have all preliminaries in place, let's go ahead and start blocking out the footsteps of the walk. All we want to do at this point is just get the spacing and timing of the feet right. Now we're going to start with the extended position. This is where the feet are furthest apart. Now you can start with any one of the four positions you want, but I find the extended position is probably the best way for the beginner to start animating a walk. So I'm going to go ahead and select one of the feet. In this case I'm selecting the right foot and I'm going to move it forward.
Now how far forward depends on the character of the walk. We can move it forward just a little bit for small tiny steps. We can move it forward quite a bit for big broad steps, but I'm just going to go somewhere in the middle. Somewhere around here, so where this foot is just ahead of the opposite foot. So I'm going to go ahead and move it forward about 16 units. Now when we do this, notice how that foot here is pointing towards the goal, but it's not really own the ground.
This is because the hips still haven't put in place. So what I need to do is take the hips and move them forward and just kind of get them pretty much right in the middle of the two feet. Now, when I do this notice how these are kind of becoming knock-kneed, and that's because I've got these two targets in the way. So let me go ahead and select these two knee direction targets and move those forward.
These two objects are what the knees point at, so if you move these in any direction you can see how the knees actually point at these objects. So we just want to make sure that those are in front of the character. Now once we have those kind of moved out of the way, we can do the final position of the hips. Now what I want to do is I want to get those hips kind of halfway between the feet. Well, I know if I moved 1 foot forward to 16 then halfway would be half of 16 or 8. So I am going to move that forward eight units and then I'm going to go ahead and move that up, but before I do that, remember that the hips are actually rotating side-to-side, so they're kind of twisting around the vertical axis.
So as that right foot moves forward, the right hip will also rotate forward so we need to incorporate that into our walk as well. So I'm going to rotate this forward about 15 degrees and now that I have those in place, the final step is to just move these hips up or down to kind of get a good first position. Now if I move it too high up, you'll notice that these knees kind of lock and we don't want that. So I'm going to go ahead and just move those so that the knees are slightly bent and we have a nice extension.
So now that we have those in place let's go ahead and make sure we've set keyframes for the hips and both of the feet. Now we have that first pose blocked out. Now we can go ahead and move the time slider forward out to frame 17, so remember this is a 16-frame cycle. So our next extended position will happen at frame 17, which is 16 ahead of 1. So let's go ahead and select that left foot and move it forward. We're going to move it forward, well, 16 to make it even, plus another 16 for 32.
Now this will go ahead and put the foot exactly in the same place, except on the opposite side. So now that we have this in place, let's go ahead and select the other foot. Make sure we have a keyframe set for that. So again we're going to move the hips forward another 16 units for a total of 24. Now if you notice, the hips are actually kind of rotated in the wrong direction. This is one of the legs are overextended. So if I want remember again that the hips rotate along the vertical axis, left-right.
So I want to make sure that I rotate these hips forward about 15 units, or actually -15 units, and get those in place. So once I do that, let's make sure I have all of my keyframes set and then we can see I've got my first footstep blocked out. Now this isn't really the full foot step. It's just getting the placement. So let's go ahead and do this one more time for the right foot to finish off the cycle. So again I'm going to go all the way to the end of my timescale, at frame 33.
And we're going to go ahead and move that right foot forward again. Now it's at 16. 16+16+16 puts it to about 48. Let's go ahead and type in 48, and again the hips are needed to move forward as well, another 16. So let's go ahead and move those forward. So 24+16 is 40 and we also need to untwist it and rotate the hips in the other direction. So again we're going to go to 15 on this side.
So once I have that in place, let's make sure we set all of our keyframes and we should have the timing and spacing of the feet blocked down. Now let's go ahead and just scrub through this. You can see now this is the basic timing of the footsteps, so let's go ahead and do a quick run-through and you can see that that works pretty well. Now obviously, we've got to kind of finish this off by animating the feet lifting and all that, but we'll do that in the next lesson.
So now that we have the timing and spacing of the feet blocked out, we can go ahead and finish off the hips and feet portion of the walk, and we're going to go ahead and do that in the next lesson.
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