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Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

Animating weight shift


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Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

with George Maestri

Video: Animating weight shift

We have the basic moving hold in place. The next step is to animate the transition, the shifting of weight from the character from one foot to the other. Let's take a look at where we are in our animation. So we've got this moving hold and then he does a transition to that wave. So we are going to work on this transition. So the first thing I want to do is let's just take a look at what the hips are doing in this transition. So I am going to go over to my Layer Editor and then I am going to hit this V, which turns off the visibility of the upper body of the head and the eyes.
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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 weight shift

We have the basic moving hold in place. The next step is to animate the transition, the shifting of weight from the character from one foot to the other. Let's take a look at where we are in our animation. So we've got this moving hold and then he does a transition to that wave. So we are going to work on this transition. So the first thing I want to do is let's just take a look at what the hips are doing in this transition. So I am going to go over to my Layer Editor and then I am going to hit this V, which turns off the visibility of the upper body of the head and the eyes.

And let's just take a look at what the hips are doing. So the first thing we need to understand is how the character is transferring weight. I am going to go ahead and zoom in a little bit here on the timeline so we can see what we're doing. Let's just take a look at these hips. At frame 20, the hips are in that standard pose and what's happening here is that the weight of the character is going down the right foot. So that right leg is supporting the character.

What happens is he shifts weight, so over the course of 10 frames to frame 30 he shifts his weight so that now the weight of the body is being transmitted to the ground through the left foot. In order to do that, we have to have this transitional pose. I am going to go ahead and turn off these upper controls, so we can see this even a little better here. So what happens is when the character shifts his weight, the hips drop. Now why is that? Well, gravity.

What's happening here is that he's taken the weight off of this foot and he hasn't put it exactly on to this foot either. So what's happening is that the hips are unsupported, so gravity is pulling those down. And when he moves up into that position, then what's happening is he's pushing up to counteract the force of gravity and now we have another reasonably stable pose. So, the point of this is that as he moves from pose to pose, he's typically shifting his weight from 1 foot to the other and as the character shifts his weight, the hips will typically drop and so this is the major point here, is as a character moves from pose to pose the hips typically drop and this is because when you go from pose to pose, you're shifting the character's weight from 1 foot to the other.

When you block out your poses, one of the things you need to understand is how the character is shifting his weight. You kind of want to have him go from 1 foot to the other as he goes from pose to pose. So that way you have a good weight transfer. Now there's also one other thing in this little animation here. And that is the right foot. If you notice here, the right foot is actually moving as he shifts his weight. So one of the things we can do with this is actually add in a little bit more animation to make it look like he's taking a step.

So we can do this by going here to this first pose here at frame 24 and doing a little bit of a move so we're going to lift his foot at the heel. So I am going to lift his foot up, and then I am going to rotate that foot just a bit. So basically what's happening is he's lifting it at the heel and then let's move halfway between 24 and 30 which will be 27, and then let's just rotate that foot up a little bit. And then at 30, it's going to naturally set down.

So let's take a look at this again. So now we've got a little bit of a step, so let's take a look at this. So this is just the hips. This is just the transfer of weight. We still have a lot of work to do on the upper body. So let's go ahead and take a look at where we're at right now. So you can see that that foot change is pretty good, but we still have some work to do with this upper body. So let's go ahead and finish this up in the next lesson.

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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