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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 let's go ahead and start the process of creating pose to pose animation. The first thing I do when creating this sort of animation is I try to line up all the major poses that I think the character will hit, and sometimes this will actually make me have to create new poses. It makes me cycle poses, that sort of thing. So let's go through some of the process here. In this case I've already created a couple of poses just to speed things along. If we take a look at this character, he has poses every two frames and this is just so I can see them a little bit easier and copy and paste them a little bit more quickly.
Now I have a pose at Frame 1, which is him standing back and just kind of crossing his arms across his chest, and then he reacts and waves. So I have two poses for the wave. When I start going through this, I need to start kind of mentally thinking the animation through and I want to get the major poses lined up or sequenced. I'm going to worry about the exact timing a little bit later. So in this case I really would like him to wave more than once.
At this point I've just got this, I have got one at 3 and one at 5. Well, I actually want more. So let's have him wave three times. So one of the things we can do is we can select everything in the character, make sure you have all the nodes selected, then just right-click over the timeline, copy, and then you can just paste poses. This is one reason why I have created these malscripts that allow me to select everything in the character and these were discussed earlier in the lessons.
I can do the same thing here at Frame 5, which is copy and paste it again, say at Frame 9. Now if I want, I can copy and paste multiple keyframes just by holding down the Shift key and dragging over the frames that I want to copy. So in this case I want to copy Frame 7 through 9, copy, and then maybe paste them at Frame 11. So now I have got the character going from here to here and then you can even almost, as we scroll through it, you can kind of actually see the wave that we have.
The one thing that I would like to do also is I think I need to add in an additional pose. If he's going to go from here to here, notice how he's shifting his weight and typically when a character shifts his weight, he drops his hips and he compresses a little bit and I want to give this animation a little bit more of a dynamic quality. So I want to create an in-between pose. A pose between this one at Frame 1 and this one at Frame 3. Well, the first thing I want to do is I need to create some room.
So I'm going to select all my keyframes and I'm going to Shift+Drag all the way down to Frame 3 and just move those back two frames. So that way I have a little bit of a space to put in another pose. I don't really have time to go through all the mechanics of actually posing this character and we've done that for another chapter. So actually I have a pose that I have already created and it's going to hiding here at Frame 46. So I'm just going to go and cut that out and then right-click again and paste that to Frame 3.
So now I've got one additional pose. So instead of going from here to here, I'm going from here to here to here. Just even by scrubbing this through a few frames you can see how that's got a lot more dynamic quality to it. So what I have done in this frame, I've dropped the hips, so I have actually dropped his weight. You can see his weight going down and then he rises back up into this position. This is basically squash and stretch. So he is squashing and then he's stretching and this gives a lot more dynamic quality to the animation.
So to sum up, what we've done is we've sequenced the poses that we want our character to take and the next step is to actually time out those poses so that they read well as a rough animation.
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