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Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

Creating stock poses


From:

Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

with George Maestri

Video: Creating stock poses

When you work with the same character in many scenes, a lot of times that character will be adopting similar or the same poses across multiple scenes, so sometimes it's easier to create a library of poses that you can use as raw material to construct other poses. Now what I have done here is I have created a file called ManyPoses, and it has about 10 or 12 poses in here. I've got a real simple pose with his arms at his side, his hands on his hips, and kind of showing his palms on both hands, and then that slouchy pose, the proud pose that we did before, and then a couple of more specific poses.
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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

Creating stock poses

When you work with the same character in many scenes, a lot of times that character will be adopting similar or the same poses across multiple scenes, so sometimes it's easier to create a library of poses that you can use as raw material to construct other poses. Now what I have done here is I have created a file called ManyPoses, and it has about 10 or 12 poses in here. I've got a real simple pose with his arms at his side, his hands on his hips, and kind of showing his palms on both hands, and then that slouchy pose, the proud pose that we did before, and then a couple of more specific poses.

Now these can be any pose you want, they could be any number of different poses, but let me show you the technique that I use for mixing and matching poses to create new ones. If I select everything in the character, you'll notice that I have one major pose every two frames. When I animate a scene typically I'll start at frame 1 or somewhere in that range, but I want to be able to hang on to these poses to use in another scene.

So one of the easiest ways to do this is to just slide these frames into the negative frame numbers. So right now this animation is starting at frame 1, but if I just type in -20 into the start time of the animation, you can see how all of a sudden I've got some space here and if I click on the slider here and move it over, you'll see that I can actually keyframe into the negative frames. So what I can do is I can actually take these frames and just select them.

I am Shift+Selecting them on the Timeline, and then I can just drag them back. By doing that, these poses are now in the negative frames. Now I have my default pose here at -18. One of the things I'd like to do is get that maybe to 0. So I am going to go ahead and just copy that. Now remember, I still have everything selected. And put it at frame 0. So now I have basically the character at 0 at frame 0, but I have all these other poses.

So as I go into the animation, let's say I want to start him at a specific pose. Let's say I want to start him with this pose. So what I can do is Select All, find that keyframe, and since I have everything selected all I have to do is copy and paste that. So let's go ahead and start that at frame 1, which is going to be start of our animation. So now we start there and then I can go into any other type of pose. So let's say I want him to go into that pose there, the one at -4. So I can go ahead again and copy, and then I can just slide this wherever I want.

Let's go ahead here maybe to frame 6, go paste. So now he is going from frame-to-frame. Obviously, we'll need to in-between them. We'll get into that later. But you can see how now I'm taking my poses from my kind of stored poses here and using them as raw material. So if I want him to stand straight up or if I want him straighten out his spine, all I have to do is select those spine nodes and find a place where its spine is straight. Copy and Paste.

So now what I'm doing is I am combining poses, so I am taking the spine from a different pose and putting it on this other one. Let's say I want his hands on his hips. All I have to do is select the hand along with the fingers, and then find one of those poses where his hands are on his hips right there. There's one right there, frame 14, so I just copy that, come back out here, and now when I paste, all I am pasting is that arm and now I've got his hand on his hip.

Rather than try and unwind this pose and undo this pose and put it into another one, all I have to do is copy and paste. So this method makes posing much more modular. So if you create a nice library of stock poses and gestures, store them in the negative keyframe. You'll have a lot of raw material to pose your characters with later and posing will go a lot more quickly.

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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