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Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

Animating a walk: The lower body


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Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

with George Maestri

Video: Animating a walk: The lower body

So at this point we have just the footsteps and the timing laid out. So let's just go ahead and play the walk that we have. Basically we have the feet sliding along, but the footsteps are in place so let's go ahead and turn this into a lower body walk. I am going to ahead and scroll back to one here. And let's go ahead and take a quick look at what's happening. So what I have got here is I have got a transfer of weight happening. Right now, the weight is on this foot, but we are going to transfer that weight over to the other foot here.
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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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Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya
6h 6m Intermediate May 20, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Using screen-drawing tools for Windows and Mac
  • Quickly posing characters with custom MEL scripts and layers
  • Understanding forces and their role in creating lifelike animation
  • Sequencing and timing pose-to-pose animation
  • Fine-tuning transitions
  • Animating a character's gait and run
  • Crafting realistic facial expressions
  • Syncing speech to animated dialogue
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation Character Animation
Software:
Maya
Author:
George Maestri

Animating a walk: The lower body

So at this point we have just the footsteps and the timing laid out. So let's just go ahead and play the walk that we have. Basically we have the feet sliding along, but the footsteps are in place so let's go ahead and turn this into a lower body walk. I am going to ahead and scroll back to one here. And let's go ahead and take a quick look at what's happening. So what I have got here is I have got a transfer of weight happening. Right now, the weight is on this foot, but we are going to transfer that weight over to the other foot here.

So basically the character's weight is going to be pressing down on this foot, the foot that has just planted down. So in visual sense basically what's going to happen is this foot is going to lift off the ground. Remember the foot is going to transfer its weight from the heel to the toe and then once the toe is airborne, all of the weight would be on this right foot. So let's go ahead and start animating this. Now first I want to do is I kind of want to lift the heel, so I am going to go ahead and grab this control here which is the heel control. At some point, I'm going to go ahead and rotate that up so we get that heel lift.

So in order to do that and make it look convincing, I need to go ahead and set a key for the foot itself, which is this control here. In fact, I will go ahead and delete that one here. So if you notice here, the translations are all zero. So what I want to do is set another key where everything is zero. So we are going to ahead and change everything back to zero and make sure I set a key. And what that does is it locks that foot at zero. But if you notice here we are getting a bit of a lift of that heel because the hips are moving forward.

So in order to lift that heel, I am going to select it, set a key at one and then move forward a little bit. In fact, I am going to move forward to frame 3 and then just go ahead and rotate that up. In fact, I know how high I want to rotate it. Let's go ahead and rotate it about 30. What that does is it gives us a really nice heel lift. So what happens here is the heel is lifting before anything else and that gives us a much more anatomically correct walk.

So then as this heel lifts, the weight of the character is going to be set down on this right foot. So I am going to go ahead and move forward a few more frames to frame 5 which is 4 frames into those 16 frame walk and I am going to go ahead and move this character down and a little bit forward. Now what happens is that's going to give you the feeling that he's kind of falling forward and that's really what he's doing. He is falling and then he's going to lift himself up as this foot passes underneath.

So as he falls forward, he is also going to rotate forward a little bit, so I am going to rotate him just a little bit in X, just to give him a little bit more forward momentum. And then as he steps up this body itself is going to lift. So I am going to go ahead and lift up the body and the foot itself will go ahead and move up under the body as well. So what I'm basically doing is I am getting this.

So you can see, he's falling forward and now that all the weight is on this right foot, he presses up and then at the middle section which is 8 frames in or at frame 9, this is the passing position. This is where this foot passes the other foot. So at this point, the heel lift needs to be eliminated. So I'm going to go to frame 9 and rotate that heel back to zero, but now once I have that, you'll notice that well that foot is a little bit too flat. So what I need to do is rotate that.

Now remember we've got a little bit of a dead weight here, so this is going to tend to hang forward. That's actually the more natural position. So I am going to go ahead and rotate that forward just a little bit and then move this into place. So it's pretty much halfway there. So now I've got that. So weight falls forward, character moves up, and now all we need to do is finish the step. In fact, this looks reasonably good, but I'm going to give it a little bit more flair here. So we can do that simply by rotating that foot forward.

So now, I have got that foot kind of flipping up before it sets down. So it comes in, naturally flips up, and then sets down. But if you notice here, this is coming in a little fast. So what I need to do here is also in addition to this is move this a little bit forward and down. So now we have got kind of more of a gentle set-down, so now this goes like that. Okay, now we have got one more little thing to fix on this and that's the toe.

So this toe also is going to flap just a little bit. So I am going to go back to frame 1 and just make sure I had set a keyframe for that, and then as it pulls up this first half of the walk is really just the heel lifting, so I am really not going to touch the toe at this point and then at frame 9, which is halfway in, I am going to set another keyframe, just to kind of lock it down. Now as this kind of comes up, what's going to happen is momentum is going to pull this down just a little bit and then right before it hits, it's going to flip up, so it's going to go ahead and flip up and then as it sets down its going to go back to 0.

So now let's take a look at this. So as it comes in, we are basically getting secondary or dragging motion for that toe and that gives it a much more natural look. So let's go ahead and take a look at this. So that's a really good first step. Now let's go ahead and take a look a little bit more at the body. There's merely one more thing that I want to correct on this walk. So as this comes up in the middle of this step here, at the passing position, we have got this giant leg pulling down, so I have got a force coming straight down here that's pulling those hip out of center.

So what I am going to do at this point is at the passing position I am going to rotate the hips a little bit towards the free leg and then what that does though is that kind of straightens out that leg. So I am just going to go ahead and push him down just a little bit so I get a slight bend in that planted foot. So now that I have this, I've got a really good first step. So now we have the first step.

Now the second step really is just the exact same thing on the opposite side. So we don't really have time to do that, but let's go ahead and just open a scene here and we've got a basic walk. Now we have got both legs going and it's really just the mirror image. So now once I have this basic walk, I've got a good foundation for the rest of the body. Now when you animate a walk, it's kind of good to get the hips and the feet moving first, because that's really where all the weight is going to happen and then worry about the upper body.

So as you can see this walk looks pretty good. Now if we wanted to, we could experiment with footsteps, with timing, with foot positions and really just have a lot of fun with just these three parts of the body, the hips and both of the feet. But at this point I think we are going to go ahead and move up the body and I'll finish off the walk.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya.


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Q: Where can I download the Linktivity Presenter drawing tool?
A: Linktivity Presenter is no longer available since the recording of this course. An alternative on-screen drawing tool is VB Doodle, which works with most 3d rendering software. Download VB Doodle here.
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