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Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya
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The importance of the passing position


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Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

with George Maestri

Video: The importance of the passing position

In the last chapter, we animated a very basic walk; in fact, this is a walk that we animated. And as you can see, it has all the mechanics you need to create a walk, but not a whole lot of character; it's kind of just a dull, boring walk. So in this chapter, we're going to give this walk some more life. One of the first ways that we can do this is just by affecting specific poses of the walk, and what I'm going to focus on right now is the passing position. So let's start by creating a different passing position, so in this particular walk its 16 frames per cycle, so the passing position is right here around frame 9.
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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

The importance of the passing position

In the last chapter, we animated a very basic walk; in fact, this is a walk that we animated. And as you can see, it has all the mechanics you need to create a walk, but not a whole lot of character; it's kind of just a dull, boring walk. So in this chapter, we're going to give this walk some more life. One of the first ways that we can do this is just by affecting specific poses of the walk, and what I'm going to focus on right now is the passing position. So let's start by creating a different passing position, so in this particular walk its 16 frames per cycle, so the passing position is right here around frame 9.

So I'm just going to scrub forward to Frame 9, and let's just go ahead and create a new passing position. I'm just going to go ahead and move--let's start with the hips. I'm going to go ahead and move those hips forward a little bit and maybe rotate the character. So let's say I'm going rotate him really far back. So when I do that, it already gives you kind of a different feel to that walk. Now if I want to, I can take this a little bit further, and let's say I can take that foot and maybe I'm going to rotate it and move it way up, so he's kind of almost kicking up like this.

And again, it kind of gives you almost like a silly walk kind of thing, but it's actually, gives it a lot more character. So just by changing that one position-- this is all we did, was change the passing position--and by doing that, we've actually created a much different walks than what we had before. So this is the second step of that walk, which is pretty boring, but the first step has a little bit more character to it. So let's go ahead and do that same thing on the other side.

So I'm going to move these hips forward just a little bit and then rotate him back, almost like he's leaning back. And then let's go ahead and push that foot down, rotate it down, and then just move that up like this. So now I've got--in fact, I can probably rotate that a little bit more to a match it up. Let's see what we have got. So now I have a basic walk, and I can start to play with it a little bit more.

So let's go ahead and take this foot, and let's maybe rotate it out a little bit. And because he is so out of balance, let's go ahead and move him off to the side and then maybe rotate his body a little bit off as well. And as he comes over there, we're going to have to move these arms out just a little bit to give him a little bit more clearance, like that. So that gives a little bit more flair. But also let's go ahead and play with the set-down of the foot. Right now he kind of puts his foot right there.

We could actually have a lot more fun with that as well. So what we can do is we can maybe rotate that foot up right before he sets down, and maybe give him a little bit more of a sense of a slam down for that foot. I'm going to actually take that frame from 15 and move it back to 14. So now I've got this sort of action, and that works pretty well. And now that I've got this going, maybe what we can do is play a little bit with that cushion position, where he kind of moves down.

So right at this point, he's moving down a little bit in terms of his weight. Let's go ahead and exaggerate that. I am going to push him way down and rotate him forward. Okay, so all I'm doing now is affecting another position of the walk. So we have a standard position. Then he squashes down, comes up, and settles. So let's do that again. He is going to rotate really far down, move down like this. So he is going to rotate forward, he comes up, and then right before he sets down, I want to put that foot, again, pretty far up, so it slams down a little bit harder.

So now, let's play it. So really, all we did was we changed the passing position and this cushion position, and we've completely changed the character of this walk. Let's play this through one more time. So what this shows you is that just by taking this simple walk, you can push the poses a little bit further and get much more character out of your 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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